Old People’s Home for Teenagers

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The ABC’s much loved Old People’s Home is back and this time with teenagers…

World premiere of Old People’s Home for Teenagers Tuesday 30 August, 8.30pm, ABC TV and ABC iview

Series 1 and 2 of the of Emmy and AACTA award-winning Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds proved categorically that intergenerational care could improve the health and happiness of older Australians. Now, in a global first, older adults are brought together with teenagers for a compelling new intergenerational experiment.

In Old People’s Home for Teenagers, (5x1hr) narrated by Annabel Crabb, we see if the power of an intergenerational program can also transform the lives of our most vulnerable young Australians – teenagers.

Loneliness and isolation pose significant health risks. Most Australians will experience loneliness at some point in their lives, with older people and teenagers particularly at risk. Half the population of older people living at home identify as lonely, but teenagers are also at risk of social isolation. Teenagers, who can often be perceived as just being ‘moody’, represent over a quarter of our population but are arguably our most undervalued generation.

Old Peoples Home for Teenagers is the first intergenerational program of its kind, and over five weeks we’ll see if spending time with the older adults gives our teens resilience, confidence and creates a rite of passage into adulthood. Will they change their views on the older generation and help to dispel ageism throughout Australia? Will the teenagers bring back a sense of purpose to the lives of the older people and improve their overall mental and physical health?

Old People’s Home for Teenagers screens in the family friendly prime-time of 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview from Tuesday 30 August.

Production Credits:

Old People’s Home for Teenagers is an Endemol Shine Australia Pty Ltd production in association with ABC. Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds is a format created by CPL Productions and distributed worldwide by Red Arrow Studios International. Post Produced in Sydney NSW with the assistance of the NSW Government.

Executive Producers: Debbie Cuell and Tony De La Pena, Series Producer: Brooke Hulsman. CEO Endemol Shine Australia: Peter Newman, ABC Factual Manager: Julie Hanna, and ABC Head of Factual & Culture: Richard Huddleston.

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Promo

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Old People’s Home for Teenagers

Starts Tuesday 30 August, 8.30pm

Season 1 of Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds proved that intergenerational care could improve the health and happiness of older Australians and Season 2 continued to prove that intergenerational programs can positively transform the lives of 1.6 million lonely older Australians.

In a global first, older adults are brought together with teenagers for a compelling and new intergenerational experiment. With this brand-new format, Old People’s Home for Teenagers, we see if the power of an intergenerational program could also transform the lives of our most vulnerable young Australians – teenagers.

There is a loneliness epidemic in Australian society and it’s affecting older people and teenagers the most. Older citizens are trapped in an ageist society, contributing to their sense of social exclusion and loneliness. Ageism is now considered a human rights issue and the World Health Organisation has found that one of the best ways to eradicate ageism is through intergenerational programs.

Old Peoples Home for Teenagers is the first intergenerational program of its kind. Half the population of older people living at home identify as lonely, but teenagers also suffer loneliness. However, with teenagers, their behaviour can often be perceived as being ‘moody.’ Adolescents represent over a quarter of our population but are our most undervalued generation.

Can spending time with the older adults give our teens resilience, confidence and create a rite of passage into adulthood? Will they change their views on the older generation and help to dispel ageism throughout Australia? Will the teenagers bring back a sense of purpose to the lives of the older people and improve their overall mental and physical health?

The experiment begins with a baseline measurement of the older people’s mental and physical state. The teenagers will also be measured with a wellness survey, resilience, hope and mood scale as well as an ageism assessment. All participants will be all reassessed at the end of the experiment to see how the experience has changed them, with the hopes that they have improved their well-being, confidence, and mental state. In Old People’s Home for Teenagers , the participants in the elderly age bracket, range from 74 to 93 years old and the teenagers sit between 14 and 16 years old. We hope that this experiment will find a way to keep the elderly living independently, becoming more connected to their local communities and have a deeper self-worth and in turn, encourage our teenagers to be more resilient, confident and form genuine friendships within their own age bracket and beyond.

Cast

Our Older Adults

Aranka
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Aranka is the oldest of the participants. A 93-year-old widow, Aranka escaped on foot with her husband and six-year-old son from her birthplace of Hungary, as Russia invaded the country in 1956. Running through the woods whilst being shot at, they had no plan as to where they would end up or no idea what would happen next. Ultimately, they fled to Italy and from there, migrated to Australia in 1957. Knowing no English and having no money, Aranka worked as a nurse’s aide and then in her husband’s mechanic business. Once her husband died, she went back to nursing, retiring at the age of 75. Her only son, who passed from pancreatic cancer in 2016, didn’t have any children of his own, so Aranka has never been a ‘grandmother’ – she hopes to receive the privilege of being called ‘grandma’ by one of the teenagers and will relish in the opportunity to be a lifelong friend to at least one! At 4 foot 9, she’s the group’s pocket rocket and one of the more mobile in the group.

Bob

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Bob is an 84-year-old ‘musical hippy’, who describes his love of music as an ‘escape from reality’. Learning his passion for music from his grandmother, his aim was to be a full-time rock musician, but that didn’t eventuate. He joined the air force at age 18 and then moved on to computers and worked for IBM for most of his life. He hosts elderly computer lessons, which keeps his mind young, as do his four grandchildren. He’s doing the show as he’s got a young spirit that matches well with younger people rather than older people and knows they can teach him a thing or two!

Cecilia

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Cecilia is the youngest of participants, not in age (she is 74) but in spirit. As an immigrant who completed Year 10 at school, she was a long-term hotel admin worker who loved her job and was the hardest worker in the room. After her husband died, three years ago of dementia, Cecilia finds it difficult to fill her day. She does however, go for long walks every day, even though she has many aches and pains, she wants to ensure she keeps active – physically and mentally. Cecilia is a bright, happy, and big-hearted lady, who is doing the show to find companionship and long-lasting friendship.

Jim

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Born in Ireland, Jim and his family moved to Australia in 1976 and was a very successful computer technician, with a strong interest in computers. Retiring at age 61, it was a blessing and a curse. A downward spiral of identity and depression occurred, and after seeing a psychiatrist he found out that he was suffering from grief; his sense of professional loss was hard to handle as he had lost his colleagues, a routine, his way of life and now had nothing to do. Having moved in with his daughter and their family, he focused on looking after his wife who had an accident a few years ago requiting constant care. His grandchild is vegan and so he moved into being a part-time vegan and enjoyed nothing more than watching them cook and experiment with food and flavours. Jim passed away whilst filming, but his family have said that the weeks filming with the teens were some of the happiest times of his life and was smiling and laughing more than ever.

Ken

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Three weeks after his 50th wedding anniversary, the love of Ken’s life passed away. He misses his wife every single day, claiming loneliness is his weakest link. An ex-sailor, who was raised by his grandparents, 93-year-old Ken is loveable, kind and has the biggest heart in the room. Living on his own, Rocky, his 17 ½ -year-old dog companion is his best friend after losing his wife, 11 years ago. He is looking to make a friend he can guide though life’s tough and good times. Someone he can mentor and give himself a new sense of purpose he is longing for.

Maggy

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Maggy is an 81-year-old former actor, magazine editor and artist who is still actively painting and a passionate supporter of the arts. She is a very proud mother and grandmother. Maggy lost her husband suddenly 12 months ago after a fall on a walk. This devastated Maggy and left a huge void in her life. Maggy’s late husband used to watch Old People’s Home for Four-Year-Olds and she decided to do the show to honour his legacy and learn how to live and laugh once again.

Maureen

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Maureen is a loveable jokester. At 82 years young she’s the life of the party and the one to always brighten up any room. Known as the ‘mother hen’ of the group, Maureen has two adopted children and one natural born son. Her husband passed away 30 years ago, and she’s missed him every day since. Mobility is an issue for Maureen as she uses a walker. She’s also had two hip replacements and is a bowel cancer survivor. She hopes that the show can increase her mobility and improve her confidence in social settings, especially with teenagers.

Maureen (Mo)

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Mo is 89 years old and thinks that teenagers overall are a touch lost and could use discipline and a lot more guidance than they have now. A widow of 10 years, Mo has had four children and as a stay-at-home mother ran the household. At age 56, she got her first job much to her husband’s dismay. She went to the local gift shop and became a shop assistant, a job she loved and thrived in doing customer service. A traditionalist at heart, she is willing to learn from the teenagers but is also keen to share her more traditional views with the more progressive of the group.

Philip

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Philip is one of the groups most reluctant participants. At 75 years old, he feels like he is busy enough, so will take the experiment day by day. Philip doesn’t seem to have many meaningful connections in his life. He’s never married and therefore has no children or grandchildren. Diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer in 2014, he was given six months to live, that’s now eight years ago. He volunteers at the Cancer Council as part of the “telephone squad” who call people who have just been diagnosed to give them hope. Philip is cautious about participating in the program and isn’t sure what he will get out of it.

John (OAM RFD)

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John was born in England and joined the army straight after graduating high school. After serving in Cyprus, he immigrated to Australia following his parents to this wonderful country. He married the love of his life, Irene, more than 64 years ago, but now lives separately from her as she requires full time care. He never misses a day visiting her at her nursing home. John has a daughter and two grandchildren, and he tragically lost their only son in a car accident. In 2019, he was awarded an Order of Australia for his service to the RSL and Army where he worked for more than 32 years. John is a meticulous and disciplined man who will show the teenagers the importance of being on time and on schedule!

Our Teenagers

Anna
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Anna is musically gifted, artistic, and kind 14-year-old. Anna doesn’t really like school as she is frequently left out of social situations and often finds herself sitting alone. She takes refuge in being an absolute animal lover. She has Guinea pigs of her own (Ginger, Patch and Sookie) sadly Patch has passed away since filming. Anna loves spending time with Monti her Miniature Schnauzer and rescue dogs Zanzibar and Schultz. Over the next six weeks, Anna is hoping to find friendship and a sense of belonging.

Caity

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Caity has a tight knit group of friends at school who all met in Year 7 and have been best friends since. As a 15-year-old in today’s society, Caity feels the common pressures of being a teenager – the stress of schoolwork overload, lack of confidence and determining a sense of self. She’s passionate about politics, the environment, and women’s rights and hopes to discover her voice to be able to campaign and make a difference to not only her life but many likeminded people around her as well.

Charlie

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Charlie’s nature is charismatic and engaging however there is a warmth to Charlie that comes out when he takes a moment to slow down! He is full of life and has a great sense of himself and style. As a 14-year-old he likes school much more now that he can choose his subjects. Although he is confident, he still is affected by a lot of issues teenagers face today, such as body issues and acceptance. He wants to learn to socialise more with people his own age and develop ways to meet friends outside of school. He hopes to find an older participant who is not attached to his family that he can open up to – but first he needs to feel safe and confident enough to do that.

Isadora (Dora)

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15-year-old Isadora says she really doesn’t have a ‘place’ at school and that’s where she feels most alone. Struggling to read people’s emotions and hold down friendships, she says she doesn’t really have many friends at high school and that brings her social anxiety to the foreground. An upbeat and energetic young woman, Dora has an amazing ability (unbeknownst to her) to bring people together. Dora is a keen creative who loves nothing more than drawing, painting, and making art. She will give anything a go and most of all she’s unbelievably kind – to all. Dora is hoping to find someone who understands her, and that she can relate to.

Fred

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15-year-old Fred often struggles to connect with similar aged students on a social level. He is often misunderstood and has found greater acceptance with younger and older generations. Having been diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD, Fred would like to shine a light on the fact that children who are on the spectrum are just gifted in different ways. He is keen to learn better social skills to realise his dreams but also hopes that greater awareness and focus on people’s individuality is not only respected but welcomed.

Kay

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16-year-old Kay moved from South Africa with her adopted mother six years ago. Her mum married Brian and with that, Kay’s family grew to include a father, two brothers, a grandmother and grandfather. Kay is shy and steers away from the limelight. Having moved to a different part of Sydney, Kay doesn’t get to see her grandmother as much, so she’s missing that mentorship. She would love to find an older someone to share ideas on how to persist throughout difficult situations of life…and help give her some more confidence in life.

Lily

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Lily’s parents moved to Australia when she was seven, while she remained in China with her grandparents for two years. When Lily moved to Australia at age nine, she knew absolutely no English. Given she was raised by her grandparents for two years, Lily has a great respect and admiration for the older generation. As an only child, she feels pressure of getting it right to ensure her parents are proud. She is extremely insightful and thought provoking about life. Lily spends most of her days playing music, watching anime and YouTube documentaries and being online. She hopes she can form real human connections in the program and be more social.

Louis

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Louis is a 14-year-old thoughtful and articulate young man who wants to not only make friends with his peers but the older generation. His father passed away in 2019 from cancer and he hopes to find guidance from an older participant as he misses having a father figure in his life. He hopes to find a connection that will let him benefit from having someone who understands what it means to be a young man and can help guide him in the right direction.

Miles

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Miles is an avid gamer who dreams of being a professional gamer one day! His plan B is a career as a vet because of his love of animals. He is a self-confessed procrastinator, often known to say, ‘just one more game’ and ten hours have passed. He occasionally likes school with his favourite subjects being maths, science, and mythology. Miles doesn’t really know what he could teach the older generation, but knows he is an excellent listener. He hopes they will pass on some wisdom about how to be more motivated in his day-to-day life, something he has a difficult time with.

Ziggy

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Ziggy is an empathetic 15-year-old who is a great communicator with a warm and open personality. He is insightful into what teenagers go through these days and already can see the effects of social media, not only on himself but on his peers – he sees that teenagers are often dismissed easily with issues that are important to them but not seen as real to some adults. Ziggy is looking for a role model and is seeking a connection with someone

Our Experts

Fiona Goode

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Teacher / Facilitator

Fiona has been a qualified teacher for 22 years and has two children of her own. Initially from Melbourne, she now resides on the Northern Beachers in Sydney.

Having completed a diploma in Children’s Services and a Bachelor of Teaching, she has always seen becoming a teacher as a natural progression in her life.

She loves knowing that she can make a positive difference in the lives of the younger generation, through education.

Fiona comes to Old People’s Home for Teenagers having been the onscreen teacher in both Season 1 and 2 of Old People’s Home for 4 Year Old’s, where her daughter was part of Season 1 and was still in contact with her ninety-six-year-old best friend Bevan, up until this year (2022), when he sadly passed.

Fiona hopes that the future of intergenerational learning sees a continual growth and expansion and believes that there is still so much benefit to be gained from these programs in the wider community. She loves the pure simplicity of bringing two generations together and maintains that the future is bright, when seeing the two generations come together and thrive.

Quote: “Having genuine and trusting connections with a companion at any age really is the recipe to a long lasting and more fulfilled life.”

Ali Faraj Adolescent Expert

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Ali is one of Australia’s most respected young Muslim leaders. As Head of Community with AFL club the Greater Western Sydney Giants, Ali plays a central role in uniting one of the most diverse regions in the world, Western Sydney.

Ali has devoted his life towards improving the opportunities afforded to both Muslim and non-Muslim youths alike.

He has spent the past decade engaging schools and teenagers in Western Sydney through a range of community outreach programs focused on social cohesion, education, employment, and leadership development.

Ali was an academic tutor at Western Sydney University guiding and mentoring future teachers and was named ‘Case Worker of the Year’ by the Migration Council Australia in 2015.

Ali, who was born and raised in a Lebanese family in Western Sydney, is a devoted husband and father of four. He is a qualified teacher and has been engaged by various Government and community working groups to help with social cohesion among young people right across NSW.

Quote: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time on OPHFT, to facilitate two different generations coming together and watch the growth from both groups was inspiring. Every person in life has story to tell and the show allowed older adults to inspire youth by sharing their stories of joy, sadness, resilience, challenges, and happiness.”

Van Marinos Exercise Scientist

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With over 15 years’ experience in Health & Fitness, Van is an Exercise Scientist and Founder of Community Moves Health & Fitness which caters specifically to over 50s looking to improve their health through regular, safe, and structured exercise.

The program has been designed to address many of the common areas of physical dysfunction seen in the general population as we age. Helping people maintain their quality of life, physical function, and social connectedness.

Van started the business because of his parents. He noticed how hard it was for them to get the physical activity they needed and how little support there was for older people to gain fitness in the community. So, Van created his own safe, welcoming gym for people over 50. His parents are regulars and his clients have become an extended family.

Seeing how much the social connection meant to his members Van created a social committee for his gym, where they get together once a month for various activities such as barefoot bowls and dress up parties. He believes this has been as beneficial to his members as his gym classes.

And the results speak for themselves. They recently conducted an internal survey and found that of all the members that started at Community Moves with pre-existing injuries or chronic pain, 85% had noticed significant improvements in their conditions. Within this experiment, Van is hoping to show that with just a little bit of movement from the Older Adults, there is a large benefit in their health status, both physically and mentally.

Quote: “This was by far one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I’ve been involved in. Both older adults and teenagers represent the least physically active groups in society which is a massive contributor to poorer health outcomes. Seeing the two groups work together through some of the physical challenges we threw at them, and then seeing the difference it made to their physical and mental health at the end of the experiment, provides a potential roadmap for future health initiatives with both cohorts. Proud to be a part of it.”

Professor Sue Kurrle Aged Health Care Expert

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Prof Sue Kurrle trained as a geriatrician after graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and a PhD from the University of Sydney, Sue has shown her intense passion and interest into the health of older people in Australia.

In 2006 she was given the David Wallace Award by the Australian Association of Gerontology, for her outstanding contribution to knowledge in gerontology and geriatric medicine.

She currently works as a geriatrician in Northern Sydney and the South Coast of NSW and is the Curran Professor in Health Care of Older People at Sydney Medical School and is described as an engaging and enthusiastic live wire by those that know her.

Sue has a particular interest in the correlation between physical activity and healthy ageing, and her combination of academic

knowledge and personal experience makes her perfect for this experiment. She previously has led the NHMRC Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre looking at research into care for people with dementia and exercising and remaining active was an important part of this work.

She is currently leading research into exercise for prevention and treatment of frailty. The passion that she has in the well-being of older people has helped bring to attention to the wider community the issue of elder abuse in the 1990s. More recently she was working with the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety as a clinical advisor and is also a member of the Advisory Council to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Quote: “This series has shown that intergenerational programs can be life changing, and we see the evidence in front of us with the wonderful improvements in both our older people and our teenagers.”

Dr Stephanie Ward BMed FRACP MPH Geriatrician

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Dr Stephanie Ward is a medical doctor who has specialised in the care of older adults (what is called a “geriatrician”). She is a specialist at Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, where she provides medical care to older people in a variety of settings, including in the “Cognitive Disorders Clinic,” assessing people who may have dementia or other memory or thinking changes associated with ageing.

Stephanie is also actively researching how to prevent or help manage dementia through her role as Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing at the University of New South Wales.

She is especially passionate about ways to improve the quality of medical care that older adults receive, an interest that began when she completed a Master of Public Health at Harvard University as the Robert Gordon Menzies Scholar.

She has been able to combine these interests in her role as Clinical Lead of the Australian Dementia Network Registry, an incredibly important national initiative funded by the NHMRC designed to monitor and improve care for persons diagnosed with dementia.

She has become extremely excited about the enormous potential of intergenerational contact to improve well-being for older adults. In addition to encouraging intergenerational visits at the nursing homes she visits, at local schools, and in her community, she is part of a research team led by Neuroscience Australia evaluating the role of real-life intergenerational preschools to prevent frailty.

Quote: “We’ve all seen the magic, joy and fun that can result from combining older adults with pre-schoolers, but what has struck me with the experiment this time around is the depth and strength of the connections that have developed between the teenagers and older adults. With this experiment we have been privileged to witness an amazing demonstration of reciprocal learning in action, and how, by spending time together, the two generations shine a light on talents and strengths that each perhaps didn’t recognise in themselves.”

Dr. Carol Newall Clinical Psychologist

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Dr Carol Newall completed PhD in Psychology and Master of Clinical Psychology at the University of New South Wales. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Emotional Health (Macquarie University), working in the field of childhood anxiety disorders.

She spent several years as an academic working in the field of child development and education before starting her own consultancy business. She has a private practice in the North Shore of Sydney.

She is a workplace facilitator and podcast moderator for The Black Dog Institute. Dr Newall has also been featured in the Sydney Morning Herald , The Conversation, and ABC News for her research and clinical expertise.

Quote: "This season is a great opportunity to showcase the unique developmental period of adolescence. You’ll find among this year’s cast, brave, thoughtful, and inspirational young people reaching out to make transformative connections with our seniors."

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During last night’s episode, it was revealed that one of the participants James Tully had died during the production of the show.

That afternoon Jim wasn’t feeling well and was taken to hospital. Sadly, he passed away the following day. In respect to Jim, the experiment was paused. When the participants return a few days later a memorial service is held in his honour. Fred felt numb, while Miles was shocked and sad as he had the closest connection with Jim. A message from Jim’s daughter was read out by Teacher Fiona: ‘please know how deeply grateful we are knowing that his last few weeks were amazing for him. He was so animated, engaged, and excited. He loved every minute, and this provided him the self-purpose and confidence he’s been lacking for years.’ ‘He was transforming, and we are so grateful that he was able to experience joy again before he went. He left on a high.’ Together, the participants wrote sympathy and celebration cards for Jim’s family and Miles said Jim taught him that ‘you should do the most you can in the little time you have.

Born in Ireland, Jim and his family moved to Australia in 1976 and was a very successful computer technician, with a strong interest in computers. Retiring at age 61, it was a blessing and a curse. A downward spiral of identity and depression occurred, and after seeing a psychiatrist he found out that he was suffering from grief; his sense of professional loss was hard to handle as he had lost his colleagues, a routine, his way of life and now had nothing to do. Having moved in with his daughter and their family, he focused on looking after his wife who had an accident a few years ago requiting constant care. His grandchild is vegan and so he moved into being a part-time vegan and enjoyed nothing more than watching them cook and experiment with food and flavours. Jim passed away whilst filming, but his family have said that the weeks filming with the teens were some of the happiest times of his life and was smiling and laughing more than ever.

In next week’s episode his place is taken by John, who was seen when meals were delivered to him in during the map reading exercise.

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The series finale on Tuesday was reviewed on Gogglebox this week, and there was not one dry eye in the households.

An extra - these types of videos are always funny

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