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When AJ gets home from school in the afternoons she loves watching a show called Mortified. It is set in Australia and is about an eleven year old girl called Taylor Fry. She lives with her hippy Mum who likes to do healing by humming, her dad who owns an underwear store and calls himself The Underpant King and her older sister who is slim, blonde and always gets the boy. There are a couple more characters thrown in like Hector the best friend and Tiffany the neighbour, oh and a friend of the parents who reads tea leaves!


In Mortified we see life from Taylor’s point of view and how she deals with the embarrassment of her family. From trying to change her name, through to getting early entry into a space programme. It’s a great little show with a combination of fun and innocence which Australian children’s television, in my opinion, does better than any other country.

Luckily I grew up in a pretty normal family. Middle child of three girls, Mum worked part-time in retail and Dad worked for British Rail. My parents paid a mortgage, we had a car and went on holiday to Pontins or a static caravan each year.

I do remember the summer I was thirteen, I had a massive crush on a French exchange student who was staying with the family next door for a few weeks. Olivier Rappanello was his name. Tall, dark hair, brown eyes and a French accent, swoon.

Every Friday night there was a local kids disco, which for some reason my mum would not let any of us girls go to. I don’t know what she thought was going to happen. It was more Duran Duran, make up and gossip than sex, drugs and rock and roll, but still. She would not let us.

When I found out that Olivier was going to the disco, I was desperate to go too. I asked, I begged and I sulked. And in the end, I defied my Mum and went anyway.

I think I had been there less than an hour with my friends when there was a tap on my shoulder. My Dad had come into the hall, onto the dance floor, to escort me home.

I was mortified.