As a 40-ish year old male Channel 4's One Born Every Minute, a documentary based in a Southampton labour ward, is perhaps an odd choice of evening viewing. But, secretly, I really enjoy it.
- It is beautifully edited. Countless hours of fixed camera footage must be a complete balls-ache to sift through. But the production team weave the storylines out slowly over the hour, letting us learn about the participants in our own good time.
- The lack of a narrator (except the few seconds at the beginning to introduce the programme). The format doesn't need one. A narrator would get in the way of our personal relationship with the participants - an unnecessary distraction.
- The film-maker's assumption that us viewers are clever enough not to need a re-cap of the events of the last part at the beginning of the next.
- The #oneborneveryminute tweets on twitter whilst the shows are being transmitted, sometimes hilarious!
- The fascination that anyone would agree to being filmed at one of the most emotional, intimate and personal moments of their lives. I'm not sure I could have been persuaded. And conversely, the voyeuristic feeling whilst watching these people.
- The looks my wife and I give each other occasionally when something happens that is familiar - "yeah, we know that feeling" and the memories that come back of the births of our daughter and son in 2000 and 2002.
- Hearing life-stories that make me remember that I am a very lucky boy indeed.
- Seeing the miracle of childbirth itself.
- The uncertainty of a complication-free delivery...
- ...and the relief when everything's OK.
- The devoted staff and in particular long-serving Kay, who is super-compassionate and amazingly calm - and you can't ask for much more than that of a labour ward sister.
Go on, give it a try. You know you want to.
photo credit: gabi_menashe