Mother defends BBC reality show
A mother-of-three who allowed her three children and the family dog to take part in the BBC's reality television show said last night she would happily do it again.
A mother who allowed her three children and the family dog to take part in The Baby Borrowers said last night that she would happily do it again.
Louise Burton, 33, left her daughter and two sons in the care of a teenage couple for three days in October, an experience the children now refer to as their "little holiday".
Henry, 11, nine-year-old Lily and Alfred, seven, stayed - along with Maggie the dog - at a cul-de-sac in the Sprowston area of Norwich, watched by dozens of cameras and a BBC production team.
Ms Burton defended her decision to let them take part and said she was so comfortable with the arrangements that she left her children in Norwich and went home to Ravensmere East, Beccles, to sleep despite the offer of accommodation nearby.
"I certainly would not have let my children go into somebody else's care if I wasn't completely happy with the arrangements," she said, adding that her experience did not match the concerns of children's charities and council staff.
"If I had any questions, they gave me answers," she said. "I came home to sleep. I felt sure that they had got everything covered.
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"There was nothing at all to make me feel uneasy about it. They had covered the problem areas.
"I spoke to other mums and dads, and while I was there everyone else was quite happy. There were nurses on site 24 hours a day. If there was a problem or any danger the production team would be in there."
"I just felt it was an opportunity for my children to join something and also for the teenagers to take part, to learn it is not an easy career move to make. They don't come with manuals."
Neither Ms Burton nor her children, who all went through a psychological assessment beforehand, received any kind of payment for taking part. They did not even claim travel expenses.
"It was a close of houses, and the other families were in the others," she said.
"We had a house we could go in any time whatsoever and watch on the monitors, and they had cameras in every room apart from the bathroom and toilet for privacy reasons.
"There were chaperones for going out, and I was happy with them as well."
The only time Ms Burton did become involved was early on, after she had watched her children sitting quietly in their temporary home.
"After the first night of seeing them all sitting on the sofa not fighting or arguing, I was asked to go and talk to the teenagers about interacting with the children rather than just letting them sit there," she explained.
"But that was the only time I got involved.
"The children thought it was a real challenge, and now they feel quite 'celebrity' about it."
Ms Burton was approached in Norwich by researchers who had originally intended just to ask Henry, a pupil at Worlingham Middle School, to take part.
But, having met the other children - pupils at Barnby and North Cove Primary School - the production team invited his younger brother and sister to join in, along with pet Maggie.