Friday, 30 July 2021

10 Family-Based TV Shows

10 Family-Based TV Shows

In my latest book, A Beginner's Guide To Family Life, each of the three main characters' family is very different. Last week, I shared ten family-based films that displayed a variety of family set-ups, and today I'm sharing ten family-based TV shows, from thought-provoking dramas to snort-out-loud comedies, both old and new.



Motherland


Motherland


An hilarious show about the lives of a group of school gate mums (and a dad) as they juggle parenthood, jobs and school commitments. You'll laugh. You'll cringe. You'll laugh some more.




Modern Family


Modern Family

There are lots of different family set-ups in this mockumentary sitcom, all revolving around Jay Pritchett and his children, Claire and Mitchell. It's ridiculously funny (and sometimes plain old ridiculous).




Last Tango in Halifax


Last Tango in Halifax

Two families are joined together when old childhood sweethearts, Alan and Celia meet up after decades apart and rekindle their relationship. Both are widowed with a daughter, who couldn't be more different from the other, and they clash from the very first meeting. But can they put aside their differences for the sake of their parents' happiness?




Gavin & Stacey


Gavin & Stacey

Two families - one from Barry Island and the other from Essex - are brought together when Gavin and Stacey meet over the phone at work and decide to meet up in real life. I've seen them a million times, and I'll probably watch them a million more.




Only Fools and Horses


Only Fools and Horses

A British sitcom classic following the mishaps of brothers Del Boy and Rodney Trotter. With unforgettable episodes with the chandeliers, Batman and Robin, and the bar scene.




The Royle Family


The Royle Family

Who'd have thought that watching a family sit on their arses watching telly could be so entertaining? It took me by surprise back in the late 90s. It was hilarious. And it still is, all these years later, even though I've seen the episodes over and over again.




The A Word


The A Word

I was really late to The A Word - I only started watching on catch up during Lockdown 1. But as soon as I did, I was hooked and binged them all. It's a fantastic series (once you get over the fact that Christopher Eccleston is playing a grandad) about a family coming to terms with their son's autism diagnosis. And the soundtrack is amazing.




Cutting It


Cutting It

There's some wacky family dynamics going on in this one, with secret children, back-stabbing left, right and centre, and a fierce loyalty despite it all.




The Fresh Prince



Another classic (God, I feel old typing that) about fifteen-year-old Will, who's sent to live with his aunt and uncle to keep him out of trouble.




Schitts Creek


Schitts Creek

The Rose family are filthy rich. They're also vain and self-absorbed. But when they lose their fortune, they're forced to move into a motel in Schitts Creek, where they find themselves part of a community. It's such a fun, heartwarming series, and I swear you'll never hear Tina Turner's 'The Best' in the same way again.




So that's my list of 10 family-based TV shows. If you'd like to read my book about the dynamics of family life, you can find out more details below:



A Beginner's Guide To Family Life

You can choose your friends, but you're pretty much stuck with your family.

Ruth has everything she never dared to hope for: a husband who adores her, a beautiful home, and a job she can just about tolerate. And now she's having a baby. But having zero experience with babies and a pregnancy that isn't quite as blooming as the magazines claim it should be, how will she cope with this stage of her life?

Quinn loves her family, but she sometimes wishes there weren't quite so many of them living under the same roof. But is she ready to fly the nest and build a whole new one with her boyfriend?

Richard's life is pretty great, until a visitor arrives on his doorstep and turns his whole world upside down.

Three friends.
Three families.
A whole lot of drama.


Monday, 26 July 2021

If You're Writing A Book, It's Totally Okay To...

If You're Writing A Book, It's Totally Okay To...



... use that witty comeback you thought up while in the shower, three hours after the spat. Why waste it? Stick it in your book.


Shower




... spend more time with the characters in your head than your actual family.


Characters in head




... borrow traits from people in real life. Maybe don't base whole characters on them though. They might notice if you're a bit too specific.


List of traits




... snack on crisps, chocolate, sweets and baked goods. Those words aren't going to fuel themselves.


Snacks




... create maps and playlists and Pinterest mood boards. Maybe even doodle what the cover might look like. Just don't forget to do some actual writing at some point.


Map




... spend hours finding the perfect outfit your character is going to wear. And then describe it as 'a floaty dress'.


Dress




... daydream about your characters even when you're not sat at your laptop. It's a good way to untangle plot problems.


Daydream




... 'Cast' your characters for when they adapt it into a film. You've got to think BIG.


Cinema tickets




... vow to never ever write another sodding word again. Because you will. Writing can be tricky. It can be frustrating. It can be bloody hard work. But we love it.


Heart

Friday, 23 July 2021

10 Family-Based Films

10 Family-Based Films

In my latest book, A Beginner's Guide To Family Life, each of the three main characters' family is very different, and these ten family-based films display a variety of family set-ups. Sometimes close family units, often dysfunctional in their own ways, all of them fun to watch.



Father of the Bride


Father of the Bride


When Annie announces her engagement, her father starts to unravel as he deals not only with the cost of paying for the Big Day, but the fact he's got to come to terms with the fact she isn't his little girl any more.

Bonus: Father of the Bride Part II, which is just as hilarious as the first




Look Who's Talking


Look Who's Talking


When single mum Mollie returns home from the hospital with her newborn baby, the taxi driver who took her to the hospital arrives with the handbag she left in his car. A friendship forms as they help each other out with babysitting and family issues.

Bonus: so good they made a second film, Look Who's Talking Too




Honey, I Shrunk the Kids


Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

When a scientist invents a device to shrink objects, his children - plus the kids from next door - find themselves accidentally zapped and shrunken to microscopic proportions. Swept up into the bin and dumped on the other side of the now giant garden, can they find their way back home and back to their father and the machine to make themselves normal-sized again?

[I'm pretending the sequels never happened with this one. It's better that way]




Coco


Coco

Miguel dreams of becoming a musician, but his family has banned music because of something that happened in the past. Can Miguel unlock the family secret and follow his dreams?

Warning: you will probably sob at this film, but it's worth it




The Addams Family


The Addams Family

The Addams family aren't your average family. Celebrations are planned when long-lost Uncle Fester returns home, but his oddly normal behaviour arouses suspicion. Is he the real Uncle Fester or a fake?




Problem Child


Problem Child

Ben and Flo Healy have no idea what they're letting themselves into (because the nuns keep schtum) when they adopt seven-year-old Junior, but it isn't long before their lives are turned upside down.




Mrs Doubtfire


Mrs Doubtfire

When dad of three Daniel loses contact with his kids after his divorce, he goes to extreme lengths to continue seeing them by disguising himself as a Scottish nanny, Mrs Doubtfire. Hired by his ex-wife to take care of the children, he spends more time with them than ever, but how long can he keep up the charade until he's rumbled?




The Incredibles


The Incredibles

All families have their issues - even the ones with superpowers. And it takes a whole family of superheroes working together to save the day.





Jack and Sarah


Jack and Sarah

Single dad Jack is struggling to juggle work and caring for his baby daughter, Sarah. When he meets waitress Amy, he hires her as Sarah's nanny. But will she make his life easier or complicate it further?




Matilda


Matilda

Matilda is either ignored by her family or yelled at by them. But when she starts school and discovers she has magical powers, she finds a way to get even.




So that's my list of 10 family-based films. If you'd like to read my book about the dynamics of family life, you can find out more details below:



A Beginner's Guide To Family Life

You can choose your friends, but you're pretty much stuck with your family.

Ruth has everything she never dared to hope for: a husband who adores her, a beautiful home, and a job she can just about tolerate. And now she's having a baby. But having zero experience with babies and a pregnancy that isn't quite as blooming as the magazines claim it should be, how will she cope with this stage of her life?

Quinn loves her family, but she sometimes wishes there weren't quite so many of them living under the same roof. But is she ready to fly the nest and build a whole new one with her boyfriend?

Richard's life is pretty great, until a visitor arrives on his doorstep and turns his whole world upside down.

Three friends.
Three families.
A whole lot of drama.



Friday, 16 July 2021

A Beginner's Guide To Family Life: Five Fun Facts

 

A Beginner's Guide To Family Life by Jennifer Joyce


1

I worked on the book for a LONG time, and it took six drafts before I was happy with the POVs and storylines



2

The DIY project Ruth’s dad is working on started in the previous book, A Beginner’s Guide To Saying I Do



3

Familiar Setting:

Like the other books in the series, A Beginner’s Guide To Family Life is set in Woodgate, the same as Everything Changes But You, The Wedding Date, The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts and The 12 Christmases of You & Me



4

Familiar Characters: 

Ally and Gavin from Everything Changes But You make an appearance



5

Earlier drafts had POVs from Jared, Nell, Rosie and Theo





Find out more about the book:
A Beginner's Guide To Family Life by Jennifer Joyce


You can choose your friends, but you're pretty much stuck with your family.

Ruth has everything she never dared to hope for: a husband who adores her, a beautiful home, and a job she can just about tolerate. And now she's having a baby. But having zero experience with babies and a pregnancy that isn't quite as blooming as the magazines claim it should be, how will she cope with this stage of her life?

Quinn loves her family, but she sometimes wishes there weren't quite so many of them living under the same roof. But is she ready to fly the nest and build a whole new one with her boyfriend?

Richard's life is pretty great, until a visitor arrives on his doorstep and turns his whole world upside down.

Three friends.
Three families.
A whole lot of drama.



Monday, 12 July 2021

My 5 Writing Goals for 2021: An Update

 


At the beginning of the year, I set out 5 writing goals for 2021. We're now just over halfway through the year so I thought I'd do an update on my to-do list.



At the beginning of the year, my list looked like this:

1. Draft Two of Book 13 | 2. Draft Two of Book 12 | 3. Publish A Beginner's Guide To Salad Paperback | 4. Plan Book 14 | Take Part in Nanowrimo 2021


So, how I have got on so far?


I've managed to cross off numbers 1-3 on the list, and while I'm working on number 4 at the moment, it did need a little tweak. Because what was supposed to be Book 14 is now Book 15, due to the fact I unexpectedly published the Beginner's Guide Book 3 at the beginning on the month.


I'd been working on A Beginner's Guide To Family Life on and off for a few years, but I could never get it right. But I caught the bug again while working on the paperback of A Beginner's Guide To Salad and decided to give Draft 6 a go - and it gelled this time. I loved working on the book and couldn't wait for other people to read it, so I got it edited and published it.


Before publishing the third book in the series, I wanted to publish the paperback of A Beginner's Guide To Saying I Do, so while I was wondering if I could actually complete all the tasks on my list back in January, I actually completed two additional tasks!



I've got two more goals on my list: 

Plan Book 15

Take part in Nanowrimo 2021


I'm planning Book 15 now, and this is the book I'll be working on during Nano, so I'm on track to cross off all my goals by the end of the year.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Kids' and Teen TV of the 90s

Kids' and Teen TV of the 90s

Writing A Beginner's Guide To Family Life has made me think about my own life growing up as part of a larger-than-average family. 


I'm the youngest of five children and I honestly don't know how my mum did it; the petty fights, the more serious fights, bath times, bedtimes and the sheer volume of washing. It must have been chaos, but when I look back I see that time through the rose-tinted lenses of nostalgia.


One of these nostalgia hits is the TV we watched (on one television, in the living room). There are so many more channels these days, several dedicated just for kids, but we still had some iconic TV shows that I look back on fondly.


Were you a CBBC or a CITV kid?


I mainly watched BBC One in that precious time between getting home from school and having tea in front of Neighbours, with Andy Crane, Philip Schofield and Andi Peters in the broom cupboard with Gordon the Gopher and Ed the Duck, but I did occasionally turn over to ITV. And then later, there were more channels to watch, like Nickelodeon and Trouble.


And we can't forget the Saturday morning TV shows: Going Live! and Live & Kicking and then the best Saturday morning kids' TV show of all time: SMTV Live (Ant & Dec, plus Wonky Donkey. Perfection).


Here are some of my favourite TV shows from that time:


Byker Grove



Ant and Dec as PJ and Duncan. Geoff in charge of a thriving youth club. Controversial storylines galore.  Byker Grove ran from 1989 until 2006 and has a firm place in my fond childhood memories (luckily I'd grown up and had stopped watching long before the finale, which sounds really, really rubbish).



The Animals of Farthing Wood


The Animals of Farthing Wood

The animated version of The Animals of Farthing Wood aired around the same time that my teacher at school was reading the book (by Colin Dann) to us, so he'd record the episodes and we'd watch them at the pace we were reading at. The magazines, Farthing Wood Friends, was also released at this time and he bought the issues and kept them in the classroom for us to read during our free time. (Yes, he was the best teacher ever. Thank you, Mr Perrin for introducing me to Farthing Wood)



Art Attack


Art Attack


This was definitely one to turn over to ITV for as Neil Buchanan crafted all sorts of cool-looking stuff from household rubbish, PVA glue and acrylic paint. I don't think I ever attempted to recreate any of his creations but it was fun to watch.



Fun House


Fun House


Another CITV treasure. Presented by Pat Sharp, with gunge, go-karts and an amazing-looking fun house that the contestants raced through to grab prize tokens. It really was a whole lot of fun.



Round the Twist


Round the Twist


Set in a lighthouse in Australia, Round the Twist centred around the Twist family and their weird and wonderful adventures. It also has a theme tune that, once in your head, will be difficult to shift.



Sister, Sister


Sister, Sister

Twins Tia and Tamera were adopted at birth by separate families and had no idea they had a twin at all until a chance encounter at the mall. It's now on Netflix so do go and have a watch if you're in the mood for a major nostalgia hit.



Sabrina the Teenage Witch


Sabrina the Teenage Witch


This was definitely a firm favourite of mine back when I was a teen. It was fun, full of magic, and there was Salem Saberhagen, the talking cat (who is actually a witch who attempted to take over the world and was sentenced to live as a cat for 100 years as punishment).



Hollyoaks


Hollyoaks


I was 12 when the first episode of Hollyoaks aired, centring around the lives of a group of teenage friends. I still think Rob Hawthorn is the greatest TV villain and I'm still gutted that Stan died all those years ago.



Heartbreak High

Heartbreak High


The Australian teen-based drama followed the lives of a group of kids from Hartley High and ran from 1994 to 1999. And it's on Netflix, so you should definitely watch it.



What were your favourite kids' and teen TV of the 90s? Let us know in the comments below :)