Millions of people have been tuning in to Monday’s BBC2 over the last three weeks to watch Babies: Their Wonderful World, presented by ELFT Newham Community Services’ developmental paediatric doctor, Guddi Singh.
She has been stopped once in the street by someone who recognised her from TV. ‘That was a surprise, it doesn’t normally happen!’ said Guddi. Her Twitter account has also attracted attention from people who would like to know more about the issues raised by the programme.
Some of the show presented scientific investigations into how gender roles are constructed, and whether we can claim ‘nature over nurture’ for children taking on distinct gender identities. ‘It is a pleasant surprise to see that even though we presume to still be living in quite a gendered world, children are not waiting to be told’, said Guddi.
But most importantly for Guddi, her daily role as a developmental paediatrician in a challenging London borough like Newham really brings it home to her why it is important that children’s developmental experience is so important. ‘The key to helping ensure your child is given maximum opportunities to reach their full developmental potential is by talking to them, by interacting. There can be no replacement for talking to your child and spending time with them. This can be a big challenge for some parents and carers because of the pressures of work and lack of time, but this is what enriches young lives and it doesn’t have to cost anything.’
In terms of the future, Guddi says she would be happy to do more TV presenting work, especially if it can help to support and encourage more interest in the science and practical application of child development. ‘I would really like to get the cameras down here to Newham and focus on the kinds of youngsters we treat at the West Ham Lane centre and places like this. The effects deprivation has on child health would be a real eye-opener for the public.’
Babies: Their Wonderful World can still be seen on the BBC IPlayer here.