The unique experience which pairs up twelve pensioners with twelve teenagers. Can the Hairy Bikers help both generations solve aggressiveness, loneliness or poor health?



Inspired by schemes from America and Japan - BBC2’s new show Old School with the Hairy Bikers is on screens for three weeks, every Tuesday at 9PM. The idea is quite good. Match youngsters from underperforming Oxford Academy with local elderly people who are feeling alone, so they can form life friendships and emotional support.

Jacob, 13 has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and his partner Clive, who also got in trouble at school, listens to his daily problems. During an incident where Jacob loses control and hits the wall, his first thoughts are to discuss it with Clive. This is exactly why this trial might work, it’s somebody who cares and will listen without passing judgement.

Meanwhile Wezley is an aspiring boxer, who gets paired with 71 year old Dave. The former local car factory worker has some words of wisdom, “You have got to have a backstop because life may smack you in the face.” Wezley took this the complete wrong way and thought Dave was trying to stop his professional boxing dreams. Luckily the duo has made up and the relationship looks to be promising.

A cute moment appears when a team discuss the difference in words of current school era, “Spark him in the face” and past times, “I am going to thump you”. With the average age gap of 50, they have to find something to talk about!

Away from the teams, the lack of thought for the old folk was quite shocking. Rick and Judy both turn up, but their partners have called in ill. The school haven’t even told them beforehand? They have let them get dressed up, get motivated and walk all that way?! Really abysmal and to be honest, I feel angry. They haven’t even taken their feelings into consideration, a real negative on the experiment.

Jennie meeting Milly was also a bit uncomfortable for both parties. Jennie was very nervous, felt stupid and didn’t know what to say. There seemed to be no support as she is able to give up on the first meeting (without even giving it a try). Milly then wonders into the distance without anybody else to pair with. Imagine if that was you? How lonely would you feel after being rejected and turned away?

This is a decent idea, but the experiment seems very rushed. For instance, they have to advertise in the town centre for more volunteers as they haven’t got enough numbers. Support doesn’t seem to be there either, the Hairy Bikers come and go as they please and the school don’t let the elderly people know what’s going on.