Small Teen Big World Review: Little Star

July 27, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

SMALL TEEN BIG WORLD: Tuesday 27th July, BBC3, 9pm ALERT ME

Jasmine Burkitt, who suffers from a rare form of dwarfism, is turning 16, planning a trip to America and hoping to meet her father for the first time. Only two of those things actually happen, but as the great poet Meatloaf once sang, “two out of three ain’t bad?.

Jasmine, known as Jazz to her friends (or rather, friend) is painted as an average teenager despite her disability. But she’s not. At the risk of sounding soppy, she’s extraordinary. Since the age of 13 she’s been a registered carer for her mother, Bev, who suffers from the same condition, as well as having respiratory problems. Jasmine is just over three feet tall. Her iPhone looks like an iPad in her petit hands and she relies on a stool to reach kitchen worktops.

Jasmine and her mother are planning a trip to New York: “There’s going to be a big ‘Little People of America’ convention,? says Jasmine – a contradiction in terms surely? Jasmine and Bev’s trip to the Big Apple inevitably results in shots of Times Square accompanied by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind, which seems to have become compulsory.

The relationship between Jasmine and Bev is the pivot upon which the documentary rests. Often they are close, providing touching moments of mother/daughter intimacy. Other times, their relationship seems confined to that of patient and nurse, or master and servant.

Bev wallows on her bed, like a pocket-sized Jabba the Hut, ordering her daughter around. She looks like a cross between Theresa May and Ann Widdecombe. Bev is never far away from a glass of wine, even wandering around her new home in Hemel Hempstead with a half bottle in her hand. She’s sips on alcopops as Jasmine and best friend Naomi practice constructing a tent ahead of V Festival. This vice is at least, presumably, cheap – I can’t imagine it would take more than a thimble full of liquor to make her tipsy.

The trip to V Festival leads to some rather unsavoury comments which enrage Bev. “How far away are you?? shouts one reveller. At least it’s more creative than “while you’re down there, give me a blowjob,? a comment Bev has heard plenty of times.

“I’m the mum and she’s the daughter,? says Jasmine. As much as Small Teen Big World is about Jasmine’s transition into adulthood, it’s also about Bev’s empty nest syndrome. She struggles with the idea of losing Jasmine, or of her finding love (or her father). Bev is totally dependent on Jasmine, and one wonders whether it is Jasmine’s height or her mother that’s her greatest disability.

alice warren says:

i love jazz, what a lovely girl but her mum steals the show for me…dawn french move over! she is soooooo funny. i would love to see her have her own show i love watching her she is great xx

kass says:


Tia says:

She really inspires me and I wish I had the guts like her she is so brave and fabulouse she is a real inspiration to me

mark says:

we have only seen a snippet of Jasmin and Bev and we have loved every minute of all the programs. Funniest moment by far was when Bev put in the false teeth!!! love the show!!

hannah pugh says:

Jazz, i think you are so brave and amazing you have inspired me greatly! You have got on with your life abide all of the situations and distractions going on around you, you are incredible! You are such a beauty. Your story touched me greatly and i would love to be your friend! I love the relationship you and your mum have and i hope you touch things up with your dad i hope for the best! Your grandparents are soo loving in caring and i love your attitude towards things you have alot of confidence in yourself and thats one thing that i lack.Thanks you so much for your show it was fantastic i wish for all the best in the future! Love Hannah Pugh 16 years old from ruislip London xxxx

Lewis says:

HI , just wanted to say how much you inspired me and made me greatful for what i do have! x

Viv Meredith says:

What an insiration! Bev and Jazz I will miss you so much and hope there will be another series following your lives. Bev is so funny!! she needs her own comedy series. I would love your family to find all the happiness you deserve and Paul…..get well soon xxx

breanna says:

hello i am breanna and i come from nottingham i am 12 years old. i have wached every episode of your lovley programme and if i missed it i would watch it on bbc i player i have been very inspired by you and your family and i think it would be great if i came over their and we could chat and go somewhere i would also love to meet your faly ad friends you are a lovley 17 year old jazz x

Debbie :) says:

Hi again, just wanted to place my facebook address if you or anyone wish to add me ;- xxxx 🙂

Debbie :) says:

Dear jasmine and Bev!!, I have watched the documentary and wish to say how confident you truly are! To achieve your dreams of studying animal care,learning to drive,finding your estranged father, traveling the world and most of all to not let your condition get in the way of it, I’ve been told many times that if everyone was the same, how truly boring the world will be!! I do truly hope you achieve all your dreams and aspirations and to seem soppy, would be dead proud to call you a good friend!! All you should do is hold your head high and be proud of who and what you are! All the best for you and your family!! Debbie xxxx 🙂

sami says:

This programme is AMAZING!! it never fails to make me smile, it manages to always make me end up in tears it is that good.i am happy they are letting us see what it is like and that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover!!! 😀

Morven McCallum says:

Hi Bev

If you get to read this, I wanted to say that several of the old gang at LBGU have been watching and cheering!

It was only in April this year that the last remnants of LBGU were made redundant…people you might remember? Ian Redding, Alastair Everett, Julia Tint, Paula Ghosh, John Phelps…Chris Christoforou (now Andrews) took early retirement a couple of years ago. We are still intouch with Colin Wright and a few others. If you do get this, it would be lovely to hear from you. I am on Facebook.

All the best. M.

jue eyre says:

hi bev and jazz , im really enjoying your series of programmes , you inspire me totally , bev you are crazy !!!! so funny id love a nite out with you , it would be hilarious. i hope you continue to be happy in your lives , to live the way you want to takes courage , but earns respect , respect to you both , regards jue xxxxx

Ali says:

Hi Bev& Jazz,

I Think your amazing,how lovely you both are,and what a wonderful supportive family you have
your relationship with each other is one of a kind
and you both seem you would make great friends and such a laugh to be around,especially you

ali says:

Just love these two little dynamos,what huge hearts,good luck to both of them.

Mrs Wayman says:

I watched this documentary last night and by the time the credits rolled i was in tears! Despite everything that life throws at them Jas and her mum have stuck by each other. They have an amazing relationship, and one to be proud of.
Not only are they mother and daughter but they are clearly the best of friends. Thanks to you both for sharing your amazing life with the world and opening our eyes to what it’s like to live with dwarfism. Your both are a true inspiration and I hope you both live very long and happy lives together!

Abbi says:

What an inspiring programme, again myself and my partner were in floods of tears and how strong Jazz is and the support she gave her mum, and amazing young woman. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

J57 says:

I really enjoyed the program but it saddened me greatly to see people calling insults. I’ve been the subject of bullying through my teenage years (I’m 20) and it isn’t fun.
Very brave girl and mother with such a good attitude towards life. I was so glad at the end when it said jasmines father was in regular contact because Jasmine seems like such a lovely girl!

Spikeycookiemonster says:

I started watching this by accident. Im not usually very sentimental about other peoples problems but I was hooked. Not because Jazz and Bev have dwarfism, nor because of Jasmines role as carer but because they came across as normal people rather than the extreme characters often shown on television. Bev is a typical mum-embarrassing, concerned for her daughter,caring, protective and slightly possessive. Jasmine, despite her maturity in caring for her mother and in coping with her dwarfism, came across as a typical teenager in that she is more grown up than her parent realises, likes to have fun, thinks about things like friends and boys and bickers with her mum. It was easy during this programme to like both for who they were and to empathise with them. Dont get me wrong, Im sure both Jazz and Bev have their faults, but it was refreshing to glimpse their lives warts and all. It was also admirable for two women who so often must attract unwanted attention to have the bravery to feature on a television programme. As a side note, it was lovely to see the friendship between Jazz and Naomi-every teenager needs a best friend and it is admirable that the two girls took Jasmines dwarfism and responsibilities in their stride rather than treating it as an obstical.
Best wishes to Jasmine, Bev, Naomi and Jazz’s grandparents

ged says:

I just watched ur programme and would just like to say, i thought you and ur mum Jazz seemed like really lovely people. I would be proud to have u as my daughter. Not only do u seem so grounded for a 16 yr old, u r so beautiful, inside and out. I wish u both every happiness for the future xxxx

den24 says:

I think the program is great, as it shows some of the things other people have to cope with, there feelings, etc. And the biggots who insult them should just grow a brain cell, i meen although there a little (if any) different they still have feelings, emotions, and everything just like everybody else.. they cant help being how they are and its stupid to pick on them just because of it. 🙂

elaine says:

Watching this programme really opened my eyes and thought both Bev and Jazz were absolutely amazing,strong and lovely people. It pains me to think that thoughtless comments such as the one from the boozed up loser at v Festival are ignored. Bev was right that if it had of been a racist comment they could have been charged as it is clearly discrimination. Stuarts comments are absolutely irrelevant and plain stupid as he seems to be missing the point of the programme and still cannot help but make a sniping comment about Bevs alcohol tolerance. Perhaps he should find the boozed up loser from V Festival and try and find some humanity (I have a feeling he may be searching for a long time and we will still be hearing the same ignorant,emotionless views).

Lisa says:

I thoroughly enjoyed this programme and was very taken by both Jaz and her mum. They were both extremely inspirational and I don’t think the review by Ewan Roberts seems to paint the same picture as the one I had. He more or less perceived the mother as a needy, selfish alcoholic, who is a ‘disability’ to her daughter. I completely disagree with this – I think that many teenagers would love to have a mother as caring, funny and inspirational as her. She was just the kind of person who would light up a room as soon as she entered it. She clearly had her problems, as we witnessed her breakdown around her daughter’s 16th but nobody’s perfect! The lovely person her daughter is proves that she (and the grandparents) have done an excellent job!

Amy says:

I have seen videos of very young and grown up dwarfs. I’d never seen a show about teenagers and it really does remind you the teenage years are hard especially for someone as tiny as jasmine. She’s also a young carer most 15-16 year olds can’t look after themselves. When you see what she does for her mum you do wonder how she does it. But her mother needs her and is ill. The trip to new York was well deserved much as I think it was too far to travel with her mums illness. They are both very normal people with great personalities who just happen to be smaller than most. I hope the dad remains in contact and they’ve met already. In my opinion the parents should have agreed on visitation rights and he could have been a huge part of her life. A grandad should never replace your dad if you had one that was willing to be your dad but I don’t know what happened so not judging. I wish them the best of luck

Lannie says:

I think she is a beautiful mature girl, who loves a laugh just as much as anyone else and should in no way be seen as any different from anyone else. Dont take “pity” on this lovely girl, instead realise that she has got everything to be proud about in her life and she deserves the best. Her mother is a very lovely woman too, keep strong ladies, you’re lovely!
Oh and I couldn’t help notice that Jazz looks very much like Lacey Turner the actress who plays Stacey Slater from that god awful soap Eastenders!
Bless you both! And any other people out there who are facing difficulties in their lives. Stay strong!

Ash says:

Jazz is amazing, lovely and beautiful. I loved her! I wana rob her :’) she is such a stong little girl!!xxxxxxxxx

rosie says:

jasmine i think you are one of the most amazing young women i have ever seen, to deal with the situations you do every day in the way you do is incredibly mature and brave and i think anyone who sees this should be incredibly proud of you. i also think stuart and anyone who agrees with him is ignorant and pigheaded, if you were of a different ethnicity or were in a wheelchair you would not be told to “laugh it off” when someone was discriminatory or offensive of course it hurts having comments made about your height, just like it hurts anyone else who looks different. i know how hard it can be being strong for a parent and i am so proud of you for looking after your mum the way you do, you are one very special person and im sure she knows how lucky she is to have raised such a wonderful daughter.
p.s. the first thing that struck me about your physical appearance is that you have the most beautiful eyelashes.
best wishes

Adam says:

Both amazing, Jaz u are really something extra special.

james beckett says:

Sorry i meant Ewan not stuart

james beckett says:

“I can’t imagine it would take more than a thimble full of liquor to make her tipsy” How old are you Stuart? Even a cocky 15 year old boy with a heart would not make such a immature comment. This review is more about the appearance and size of the two people in this programme than it is about the quality of content. Stuart, all you are doing is reaffirming Bev and Jasmine’s fears about the ignorant and disrespectful onlookers.
I am struggling to see the point in this review other than to belittle Bev and Jazz. The cynicism of the reviewer is way out of proportion so much so that he has decided to mock the convention “Little People of America”. Might it be possible Stuart, that the name is an oxymoron? Its seem that you have come to the conclusion that you are the only person with any brains. The arrogance it must take to write a review of such venom is astounding.

babykins says:

She was so gorgeous and lovely! You’re beautiful, jazz, inside and out 🙂

shona rattray-cruickshank says:

Just watched your film and felt that I just wanted to say that this is the most moving TV that Ive watched.The fantastic relationship between mother and daughter was the most uplifting thing,regardless of anything else.How refreshing to see such a fabulous family,with such obvious love,best wishes to all involved.

des says:

i have to say I agree with stuart

turkishboy says:

ı love the made me almost crying..ı think i cried nevermind..but sometimes made me laugh..jazz you re a lovely person..the way you talk you like an adult not 16 years old talking…life experience-big thinking..ı hope ı can have a chance to meeting you..all the best in your life..I hope you can live the best life which is you deserve..

Gemma says:

Stuart – perhaps you are devoid of human emotion and aren’t affected by people saying hurtful comments about you. How can you say she didn’t try to be strong for them both? When Jasmine felt nervous at the festival she was reassuring her trying to make her feel more comfortable and forget about people saying those comments, and I’m sure she always supported her with dealing with it. It think it is just human to feel the way Bev and Jasmine felt when they heard those comments – no matter how many times they hear it it still hurts, thats just NORMAL.

I thought it was a lovely show, had me in tears especially at the end, was so pleased to see the father said yes to seeing Jasmine. Wish the best for them both! x

Rachel says:

what a brilliant mum and daughter. can’t believe how many times i was in floods of tears. made me realise how lucky i am to have what i have. x

stuart says:


Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I thought it was quite cringe worthy. I much prefer to see people with problems attempt to deal with them, and accept their way of life and come out the other end stronger.
So what if people make comments about your size. This is going to happen, Why should you care what people say who don’t even know you. At an age you’re at now I kind of thought you would have found a good way to deal with comments, ie commenting back with an opinion and sometimes even laughing about what people say. It does seem to me that as a Mother you have been very used to people feeling sorry for you and therefore this adds to your situation and seem to play up to it and over dramatise situations. The problem with this is in feeling sorry for yourself you are shaping your daughters personality and she too will rely on pity as a form of attention. You should be strong for your daughter and allow her to shape her own personality, teach her ways to be strong, and teach her that relying on others for sympathy is not a happy road to travel. Be stronger and don’t care what other people think. Life is supposed to be fun and I’m sure there’s many situations in your every day life you could just sit back and laugh at instead of turning to self pitty.


jill parry says:

Just want to say you are both wonderful, amazing women, I wish you both all the best in life, these words seem so small, but I mean it with all my heart,you deserve the best, I hope you get it, you are both an inspiration.. an amazing mother and daughter, Love and Best Wishes to you both ( And if I see you about (cause I love that part of the world,) I hope you dont mind if I say Hi!!? Jill XxX

Barbara Ellis says:

It’s a long time since I’ve laughed and cried with a T.V. program – but this wasn’t just a tv programme, it’s the story of two amazing and courageous people. When I grew up it was just my mom and I, so understand and can emphathise with much of the role reversal that happens. Jazz, go for your dreams, girl; and Bev, Jazz wouldn’t be the person she is without your guidance and love.

Love and courage make amazing things happen.

Best wishes to you both


Annie says:

Hi jasmine and mum

I think you are both fantastic people and like your mum I am quite emotional so I found myself crying during your programme tonight. I am sure that anyone who knows you loves you. I for one would be honoured to have you as friends.

Love and best wishes to you both from Annie in Devon

Lelya de Jong says:

Just watched the programme. Really great to see something about real people we can relate to. Congratulations to all involved!

David Newman says:

Just watched the programme

Really great – thanks for sharing your lives with us all – you both seem really genuine and lovely people…. beautiful outside and in. Its great you have such close and loving families and friends – you deserve them.

Many best wishes to you both.

David & Family

nikki says:

How brilliant is jasmine my heart just went out to her, such a strong little girl having to copy with everything that she does. I love her to death xx hope she copes with everything that life brings at her.