THIS week I’ve been very much like a character from Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

No, I’m not planning an attack against Napoleon’s tactically superior forces at the Battle of Austerlitz or for that matter getting drunk with a bear.

I am of course talking about how flipping freezing cold it is at the moment.

The real reason I’m bringing up the Russian epic is not to talk about the cold or to steal the thunder of my lovely colleague Lauren’s beautifully scribed television column but to talk about watching programmes with your children.

In particular watching bodice rippers like War and Peace where occasionally there’s the chance of a little bit of, well you know, as Miranda might put it ‘...ex!’ So last week I’m watching War and Peace with my wife and my 16 year-old daughter when the announcer warns me that there possibly might be a scene of a sexual nature coming up.

Cue slightly awkward glances in my general direction from both my girls. Perhaps I should explain.

You see a few years back my daughter and I were watching Gavin and Stacey. The Beautiful Wife was out and the boys were in bed and as a treat for working hard at school and generally being lovely, I thought I would let my teenage daughter stay up and watch some ‘grown-up’ television.

Nothing too grown-up, obviously. Something funny, may be a little bit cheeky with some swear words in it. Children love it when you allow them to watch something with swears in it. Makes them feel like they’ve been let in to our world where of course we all swear like navvies!

What it most definitely should not have had was scenes of a sexual nature.

Now I know at some stage in our lives we have all watched a sex scene on the television in front of our parents and I should imagine it was as traumatic as it was when it first happened to me.

The Singing Detective in 1986, when I would have been about 14 or 15 years-old, and I’m watching a young boy running through the woods who suddenly hears something he probably shouldn’t have.

Back then I remember my parents looking at me and me looking at them, all of us in the knowledge of what was about to happen, but still unable to move as though dazzled by the headlights of an on-coming truck.

I’ve never forgiven Alison Steadman, or Patrick Malahide, for that matter.

So many years later, with Steadman and Malahide ‘in the woods’ firmly ensconced in my subconciousness, I’m sitting watching Gavin and Stacey’s wedding when suddenly there’s a scene with two guests let’s just say enjoying the festivities a little too much.

My daughter let out a little shocked ‘oh’ and I tried to cover her eyes as best I could.

Quickly switching the channel, I suggested she might not tell her mother what had just happened and much like me and my parents with the Singing Detective back in 86, we both silently agreed to never talk about it again, almost pretending it didn’t happen.

Until of course she watches a sex scene with her son/daughter and then Gavin and Stacey will no doubt come flooding back again.


What My Kids Said This Week: “Do you want to hear another Star Wars theory.”

Me: “Er, no!”