Katie Price's 'candid' BBC documentary Harvey and Me praised
A BBC documentary following reality TV star Katie Price and her disabled son Harvey has been positively received after airing on Monday.
Katie Price: Harvey and Me charts the difficulties the pair face as he enters adulthood - including crucial decisions over long-term care.
Price previously told the BBC the decision to move Harvey to a specialist college was "terrifying".
In its five-star review, The Times said the documentary showed "hidden depths".
The paper's TV critic Carol Midgley said it portrayed the "ferocity of maternal love" and presented Price in a "new, more meaningful light".
In contrast to her public persona as a former glamour model, she was "just a mother fighting for a son whose special needs are so complex", Midgley wrote.
Sense, a charity which supports families dealing with complex disabilities, said it had been contacted by "many" parents in a similar position since the broadcast.
The charity's chief executive Richard Kramer said: "The programme was incredible because as well as highlighting the issues that parents of children with complex disabilities face, it also showed its joyous and rewarding moments.
"Harvey is a star, and the incredible bond between him and Katie is clear".
Harvey, born in 2002, was diagnosed with Septo-optic dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder affecting his eyesight, as well as autism and Prader-Willi syndrome, which can cause learning difficulties and behavioural problems. He is unable to control his weight and requires 24-hour care.
The realities of life both living with and managing someone with these conditions were well explored, said The Guardian's Lucy Mangan.
"There is damaged plasterwork all over their home, and Harvey's younger siblings know to run upstairs if he kicks off,'" she said.
However, her three-star review did find fault in its scope. She said the "candid" documentary, made by long-time friend of the family Hannah Lowes, had "the inescapable feel of a pre-emptive strike against media criticism Price is likely to face for 'sending her child away'".
And while Mangan praised the delicate depiction of the bond between mother and son, she suggested Price "might have used her platform to spell out in greater detail" the challenges faced by parents of disabled children - particularly those without her resources, despite her recent bankruptcy.
The Independent's three-star review, by Ed Cumming, also noted the programme didn't "expand much beyond its immediate subjects, or push the boat out compositionally".
'Price's celebrity was irrelevant'
But the consensus was that despite these shortcomings, the documentary effectively explored the hidden realities of life as a parent of a disabled child.
Viewers witnessed Harvey's "polite and affectionate" personality, said The Telegraph's Anita Singh, and understood that Price "wanted to protect her son, but knew that sending him to a place where he could learn independence and crucial life skills would be the best thing she could do for him".
Singh's four-star review concluded: "Price's celebrity was irrelevant to the programme. She was not here as a famous person, but as a parent whose dilemma will be familiar to many."
The documentary was watched by around 2.4 million people on BBC One, according to overnight ratings. Price thanked viewers for their support and said she wanted to "continue the conversation" around "the difficulties that parents of children with complex needs face".
I wanted to say thank you so much to @bbcone, @Minnow_Films and the general public for all your support in the lead up to #HarveyandMe and the incrediblefeedback tonight. This really has been such an amazing journey for Harvey and myself, and I want to continue - 1/2— Katie Price (@KatiePrice) January 25, 2021
Former EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook commended Harvey as a "amazing young man", adding: "What a great mother Katie is."
Every time I see a trailer of @KatiePrice and Harvey for this documentary they have done with the BBC ,Harvey just melts my heart ❤️ what an amazing young man and what a great mother Katie is. I love the way he cheekily says to his mum “Exactly Baby” #ILoveHim 💋— Danniella Westbrook (@westbrookdanni) January 25, 2021
Other users shared their admiration for Price as a parent and defended Harvey against previous online abuse he has received.
Massive respect to Katie Price. Exceptionally brilliant mum. #harveyandme— India Knight (@indiaknight) January 25, 2021
Beautiful moving informative documentary @KatiePrice “Harvey and Me”BBC 1. Your dedication and love shines through!— Sue Cleaver (@Sue_Cleaver) January 25, 2021
Fabulous watching @KatiePrice and #Harvey tonight. Whatever you think of KP’s past, love her or loathe her (I love her - just for the record) she is a great mum and Harvey is a lucky guy to have her as a parent. #harveyandme— Cheryl Baker (@Cherylbaker) January 25, 2021
Katie Price: Harvey and Me is available to stream on BBC iPlayer (UK only).
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