How much further can they go? Channel 4 strands children on an island for 'real-life Lord of the Flies'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 4:48 PM on 23rd August 2008
Channel 4 is to screen a 'real-life Lord of the Flies' in which 20 children aged between eight and 11 live with each other to see how they cope without adults.
Opponents fear the fly-on-the-wall show, Boys and Girls Alone, will be a 'mini-Big Brother', which will provide voyeuristic entertainment.
Initially, the children live in two cottages, divided along gender lines, in a village in Cornwall.
Savage message: A 1990 film version of Lord of the Flies, which sees a group of boys end up divided in warring factions
For two weeks, the ten boys and ten girls have to buy their own shopping, cook their own meals and decide who to sleep alongside.
The show features a love affair between two of the children, as the girls and boys are put together towards the end of the series. The series, made by Love Productions, will be screened in November.
Channel 4 said production crew were in the cottages with the youngsters and that parents were able to watch their children's actions on the cottages' CCTV cameras.
In William Golding's 1954 novel The Lord of the Flies a gang of schoolboys stranded on a desert island try to govern themselves but end up turning on each other.
Conservative MP David Davies said: 'It sounds appalling given how hard adults find it to cope with reality shows like Big Brother to put children in that environment is asking for trouble. There's a danger this could leave children traumatised.'
Andrew Hibberd, of The Parenting Organisation, said: 'I am sure the series will serve no useful purpose and will simply be voyeuristic low grade entertainment.'
Channel 4 believes the show will give a valuable insight into children's behaviour.
Commissioning editor Andrew Mackenzie said it was not comparable to Big Brother and had been extremely responsible in the way it had handled the youngsters.
'The parents thought it was an incredibly positive experience for their kids to go through,' he said.
Two similar Cutting Edge documentaries screened five years ago on Channel 4 attracted controversy after the children lived on junk food, damaged the house where they were living and tortured animals.