The Secret Life of Brothers and Sisters (includes video)


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Mabel "When I cry, she makes me happy again"

Lola "She gives me nice cuddles"

Five year old Lola and her younger sister Mabel, who is nearly three, are from Darlington. They live with their mum, Hayley, a teaching assistant, dad, Jamie, head of design technology at a secondary school and baby brother Ossie, who is 8 months old.

Lola is the eldest child in the family and is just over two years older than Mabel. They have the smallest age gap in this episode.

Lola and Mabel are very close and recently chose to share a bedroom rather than have one of their own. Lola is very caring towards Mabel and loves instructing her and leading their play. This doesn’t always go down well with Mabel who is fiercely independent. She sees herself as a big girl too.

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Maddison "He's my best friend…" Taylor "That is not true!"

Five year old Taylor and his three year old sister Maddison live in Manchester with their 12 year old half-brother Naveed, mum, Katie, and dad, Dave, who run a bouncy castle business. There is a two and a half year age gap between them.

Taylor and Maddison both love to perform and make each other and other people laugh. They can fight and argue but are also very loving towards each other. Maddison looks up to Taylor and seeks him out for reassurance if she’s feeling unsettled.


Tia "Amelia gives me big hugs"

Five year old Tia and her two year old sister Amelia-Rose live with their mum, dad, and dog Princess in Kent. Mum, Cheryl, is manager of a bookmakers and dad, Glenn, works in waste management. It is the family’s first time camping.

There is over three years between Tia and Amelia-Rose. Amelia-Rose doesn’t speak much and mum Cheryl says this is because Tia does her talking for her. Tia is very mothering towards Amelia-Rose and likes to boss her around, but Amelia-Rose is no pushover - one of her favourite words to Tia is “No!”



Hayden "I love my big brother"

Five year old Tyler and his three year old sister Hayden live with their mum, Nikita, who runs a photographic studio and dad, Jamie, who is an air-conditioning engineer, in Hertfordshire.

There is a two and a half year age gap between Tyler and Hayden. Having a younger sister has helped Tyler become more sociable and although he still enjoys playing on his own, he often joins in with Hayden’s games and lets her join in with his.



Alfie "I take care of her when she's sad, I don’t like her getting hurt,

terrible pandemonium when she does"

Six year old Alfie and his two year old sister Daisy live with their mum, Zoe, a homeopath, and dad, Kevin, a teacher, in Somerset.

There is just over four years between Alfie and Daisy which is the biggest age gap between siblings in this episode. Daisy is also the youngest child in this episode. They have a very affectionate relationship - Alfie enjoys teaching Daisy about the world around them and Daisy brings out Alfie’s nurturing side.


Alfie "I will never stop loving Emily, we're going to marry each other"

Six year old Emily lives in West London with her nineteen year old brother, Dan, and her mum, Giselle, a housekeeper. Her parents are separated and her dad Paul, a horticulturalist, brought her camping. Her brother stayed at home.

Alfie and Emily are still best friends and have met up on several occasions since last summer. They are planning to marry each other as soon as they are old enough.


Five year old Theo lives with his mum, Lisa, a company director and dad, Freddie, a project manager, in Surrey.

Theo has an adult half-brother and two adult half-sisters who live in New Zealand. He came camping with his mum and dad. Theo and his family love nature and relished the opportunity of sleeping with only canvas between them and the stars.


Professor Paul Howard-Jones (Educational Neuroscientist, University of Bristol)

Paul completed a PhD degree in Medical Physics and became a teacher and teacher-trainer in primary and secondary education, before retraining as a psychologist. His research now focuses on applying our knowledge of brain function to enhance children’s education, using techniques such as neuroimaging to understand learning processes. He is Professor of Neuroscience and Education at the University of Bristol. He frequently provides comment on issues involving education and the brain, and recently featured as one of BBC Radio Four’s “The Educators”, a series which focused on those people whose ideas are challenging the future of education.

Dr Sam Wass (Developmental Psychologist, University of East London)

Dr Sam Wass completed his PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, and his postdoctoral research in Cambridge at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. He is currently based at the University of East London, and is working in an infant neuroimaging research group at the University of Cambridge. Sam’s research examines how stress affects concentration and learning capacities during childhood. He works with children being raised in low socio-economic status backgrounds, as well as children in early stages of developing conditions such as Autism Spectrum disorders and ADHD.

Dr Alison Pike (Developmental Psychologist, University of Sussex)

Alison Pike is our sibling specialist. After completing her PHD in adolescent sibling relationships, she is now a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, and one of only a handful of people in the UK currently conducting new research into sibling relationships, the factors which affect them, and their effects on adult life. Alison has appeared as an expert in sibling relationships on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and on an episode of Bringing Up Britain with Mariella Frostrup. Dr Pike also appeared on an ITV documentary, Four of a Kind, about the development of a set of identical quadruplets.

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