Tulisa – My Mum & Me Review: I Need You

August 10, 2010 by  
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TULISA – MY MUM & ME: Tuesday 10th August, BBC3, 9pm ALERT ME

Tulisa Contostavlos is best known for her work with the pop group N-Dubz – a sub-par arrangement of ‘musicians’ who have a knack for writing incredibly middle of the road music. In a bid to generate some good karma for when she meets the man upstairs, Tulisa has made this fairly respectable documentary charting the largely untold story concerning British teenagers who are forced to sacrifice their childhoods in order to care for their mentally ill parents.

Tulisa candidly recounts her own experiences as a young woman looking after her mother who suffered from manic depression, a crippling disease of the mind that leaves sufferers unable to cope with daily life. The condition expresses itself in multiple and complicated ways: Tulisa’s mother experienced intense bouts of paranoia exacerbated by her delusional state of mind which would then often lead to violent and verbally abusive outbursts. Breaking under the pressure, Tulisa had, by the age of fifteen, dropped out of school, joined a gang and begun to self-harm, evident from the blood stained pages of her diary.

Tulisa interviews children across the UK as well as diving into her own past in order to explore the consequences of growing up under such challenging circumstances. Mia, an eloquent and good natured soul, lives with her mother who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder rendering her incapable of looking after herself. As a result, Mia has stepped in and taken on the role despite having to also mind after her younger brother. During her mother’s worst period Mia was simultaneously bullied, having to deal with her parents’ divorce and chronically depressed herself, disappearing into fantasy fiction as a means of coping. What, Tulisa asks, happens to the children who fall below the radar and remain unnoticed as Mia had done for several years?

Whilst the questions are undeniably important and the programme appropriately sensitive for the most part, it is a shame that Tulisa could not tame the media-hungry-whore that dwells inside every celebrity as she resorts to several shameless plugs of her band. One suspects that N-Dubz are still desperate to be seen as child friendly following Dappy’s outrageous bullying of a member of the public via text message…despite campaigning at the time for an anti-bullying charity. The segment where Tulisa guides 15 year old Hannah to a youth centre is particularly convenient in this respect.

There are 80,000 young people currently living in the UK living in a similar, if not exact same, position to Tulisa. It’s a shocking statistic that raises an important question: is there enough being done to support these children?

Kelly mac says:

I was impressed with the programme and impressed with Tulisa and as nearly all of us are going to suffer with physical ill health at one time in our life, we are of course going to be affected with mental ill health too . . hello, but she is so candid and accepting about it. Despite the fact she would have faced enormous barriers of acceptance to her circumstances at the time, with her dreams for her future and support affected, how worrying for her. I think she is ace, and as a mother of three daughters, one her age, I woudl be proud if she were mine. Live long and healthy Tula x

Minnie mouse says:

I feel sorry 4 Tulisa she is kind of a role model 2 me n i lyk N-Dubz n i probably would of left skool coz of wat i had 2 do so iv gt no problem wid dat but wid Tulisa commit suicide

sheikh says:

I feel for what she’d been through. But lets face the truth we have people in her shoes but from v.poor background she is a fortunate girl with family wealth what did studies mean to her. Yes coping with mum and divorce is tough. But it was health and mind related. Dad had no cöntrol.

Holden Caulfield says:

I can’t stand N-Dubz but Tulisa came across incredibly well in the documentary. It was rather moving to see her come to terms with the knowledge that her mother (who had also been in a group) became ill at the same age as she is now. I agree with Graham K; she seems a really genuine and likeable person.

N-Dubz are still crap though….. 🙂

Graham K says:

I watched it, sort of by mistake. I was shocked. She actually seems very normal, very grounded.

Craig Wheway says:

I think some strong class bias is being articulated in this review that lacks balance. Musicians being sub par is quite subjective, I listen to pop, pink, death metal and yes, N-Dubz are on my playlist. What music has to do with this review I do not know, popular acts often get abuse.

The N-Dubz lot are a likeable bunch, who just so happen to ‘mess’ up like the rest of us. They grew up in our working class communities which breeds the division of rich and poor in the UK. What I want to know is how Tulisa can be annoying, I am not a big N-Dubz fan, but no one here knows Tulisa and second, tv is ‘edited’ no doubt some aspects were required to make a watchable programme.

voicebox says:

ahhh…just the fact that its all about tulisa makes me not want to watch. i predict she’s too become as irritating as kerry katona