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My Parents are Aliens was a British sitcom produced for CITV about an eccentric family, which was produced as eight series, first broadcast in 1999 and ending in 2006. For the majority of its run, it primarily followed the lives of three orphaned children: Mel, Josh and Lucy Barker, and their new foster parents Brian and Sophie Johnson.

As was the standard of shows of its length, it originally aired with an adbreak. However, recent repeats (around a couple of years ago) have no adbreaks, and some have short clips taken out. However on August 29th, 2011, Bank Holiday Monday, there was an adbreak. However, this merely had a short sketch (Pat & Stan) and an advert for programming on CITV.

Plot

The children soon discover that the Johnsons are in fact aliens from the fictional planet Valux, who crash-landed on Earth when Brian tampered with the controls of their spaceship. As shown by the opening credits, the house they live in is actually a morphed form of their spaceship. They also have the ability to morph into other people.

Brian and Sophie start out with a very limited and muddled knowledge of life on Earth, and the children must do their best to help them acclimatise. No one outside the family must ever learn that they are aliens, or they will be taken away for scientific testing, and the Barkers will lose another set of parents.

The humour in the programme is surreal and sometimes gently subversive. Whilst being a children's show, it occasionally makes reference to rather mature matters, high-brow culture, and complex scientific thinking; and because of this it has also gained a considerable following of older viewers outside of its intended age range.

Characters

See: Full list of characters

Parents

  • Brian Johnson (Tony Gardner) (1999–2005) is a Valuxian alien and the cause of the Johnsons' crash-landing on Earth. Often childlike, he follows crazes and fads and gets bored easily, and is easily sucked into Josh's scams. He has little or no concept of morality, often creating difficult situations for the characters and only rectifying them because he is told to. Though he can morph at will, his allergy to ice cream makes him grow moose's antlers involuntarily whenever he eats it. He is, despite his personality, an excellent scientist, a trait that Lucy appreciates.
  • Sophie Johnson (Barbara Durkin) (1999–2000); Carla Mendonça, (2001–2005) is a Valuxian alien and Brian's wife. She has slightly more common sense than Brian but is still quite clueless and easily led after enough persuasion. Unlike Brian, she is not good at morphing and can only do so when eating ice cream; after morphing into a new shape at the start of the third series, Sophie finds she is unable to return to her previous form, and decides to stay as she is (Carla Mendonça took up the role). Barbara Durkin returns as Aunt Sophie in the episode "Thanks for All the Earthworm Custard".

Series 1-7: The Barkers

  • Melanie "Mel" Barker Born 1987' (Danielle McCormack) (1999–2004, 2005): Mel is a teenager who has a not so funny sarcastic personality; the oldest of the Barker children, she has a protective and motherly nature towards her younger siblings since the death of their parents. It's obvious Mel's difficult attitude comes from the pain of losing her parents, as well as being moved to and from different foster homes. Despite her reputation as a tough person, she displays weaknesses in episodes such as "The Box", episode towards her sister Lucy. Mel's best friend is Trent Clements, the two have an obvious romantic interest in each other, though they do not start going out until much later in the series. Mel has radical and unusual sense of fashion and shows an interest in photography; this led to her moving to Canada on an exchange programme at the end of Series 6, she returned for the series 7 finale, "Thanks For All The Earthworm Custard".
  • Joshua "Josh" Barker Born 1990 (Alex Kew) (1999–2005): Josh is the middle Barker sibling and was around twelve years old when he was fostered by Valuxians, Brian and Sophie Johnson. Josh is devious and scheming, constantly inventing new and interesting scams to make money, and roping Brian into his latest schemes. His two best friends are Pete and Frankie. Although cunning, Josh is often outsmarted by his more quick-witted sisters, Mel and Lucy; he does not show much interest in school studies, hence his poor grades, although he has shown average signs of intelligence. His interests include rollerblading, skateboarding, making money and "the gorgeous Tania Thomas". He also plays guitar very well.
  • Lucille "Lucy" Barker Born 1992 (Charlotte Francis) (1999–2005): Lucy is the youngest and most intelligent Barker. At the start of the show she was eight years old. She is very talented in her school subjects, particularly in Maths and Science, though her favourite subject is Chemistry. Her above average intelligence means she often bonds with Brian, who has an excellent scientific knowledge, despite a lack of common sense, and they often play chess or conduct chemistry experiments. Her best friend is Wendy Richardson, who is equally intelligent and shares Lucy's goal to become an astronaut. Lucy and Wendy are not very popular, due to their scientific interests. She is very honest and moral and is often the one to set her foster parents straight in Earth matters and issues, she easily sees through Mel and Josh's tough acts and voices their true feelings accurately. She lacks a sense of adventure and can be somewhat uptight and controlling. Despite these traits, she is the most kind and caring character.
  • C.J. (Olisa Odele) Born 1996 (2004–2005): C.J. is a small, quiet boy who was rescued from being run over by 'SuperBrian', a.k.a. Brian Johnson wearing a cape. He turns out to be a orphan from the children's home and is adopted into the family because he finds out about Brian and Sophie being aliens and threatens to report them. C.J. generally takes on the role of Brian's 'sidekick', and is involved in many of Brian's ridiculous schemes and mad ideas.
  • Harriet "Harry" (Stephanie Fearon) (2005): Harry came in series 7, Brian and Sophie adopted her, looking for a replacement for Mel, who left for Canada on an exchange trip. She is similar to Mel in personality, she is usually moody and is a bit of a tomboy. She is also very protective of C.J. because he is the youngest, although he finds her behaviour patronising. Like Josh, she plays the guitar, and her practising sometimes irritates the others.

Other characters

  • Pete Walker (Patrick Niknejad) (1999–2005), One of Josh's long-suffering friends. Pete has a pessimistic outlook on life and easily spots Josh's scams, but usually ends up getting drawn in anyway. His voice broke in Season 2.
  • Frankie Perkins (Jordan Maxwell) (1999–2005), Along with Pete he's often target of Josh's scams. He has a long-held crush on Mel (when Mel asked Scott out to the disco, Frankie claims he would have attacked Scott if the table wasn't in the way, see 'First Christmas', and, in Series 7, he has a crush on Harry. Pete and Frankie have tried to desert Josh on several occasions, but always come back.
  • Wendy Richardson (Isabella Melling) (1999–2005), Lucy's only friend. In her scientifically-minded and studious nature she is very similar to Lucy, but as has been seen throughout the episodes, is perhaps not as smart and is even less in touch with popular culture than Lucy. Pompous, and somewhat arrogant, she will always lose exams/tests to Lucy by 1%. Despite originally having strong feelings for Josh, she gets together with Frankie by the end of series seven.
  • Terence "Trent" Clements (Keith Warwick) (2000–2005), Mel's long-time friend. He endures Mel's mood swings with resignation and good humour, and it is hinted that he is romantically interested in her. They finally get together in series 6. In series 7, it is revealed that his Scottish accent is fake (although Warwick is Scottish in real life). He is also known as a lothario of the series, much to Josh's resentment.
  • Mr Graham Whiteside (Dan O'Brein) (1999–2005), a very grumpy teacher with a particular dislike for Josh Barker. Sophie has a bit of an obsession with him, whilst he has an obsession with Kate Winslet.
  • Mrs Alison Hardman (Beatrice Kelly) (1999–2005), another of Josh's and Lucy's teachers who, unsurprisingly, has a dislike for Josh.
  • Poppy Manning (Kirsha Southward) (2002–2005), a girl who frequently appears as a rival to Josh, due to her similarly scheming, sneaky personality.
  • Tania Thomas Zoe Thorne (1999) then Emily Fleeshman (2001–2002, 2005) then Sasha Tilley (2005) the object of Josh's affections. In the "Valentines Day" episode she is shown to harbor a secret affection for Josh, though he mistakenly believes she has sent him hate mail and is determined to get back at her. Brian's well meaning attempts to ask her out while morphed as Josh apparently ruin any potential relationship. She gets together with Pete Walker in series 7.
  • Mikey (Chris Cornwell) (1999, 2005) appears in the first series, as good friends with Josh Barker, Pete Walker and Frankie Perkins. He is perfectly happy being Josh's third-in-command, and is most commonly used as a look-out. He makes a cameo at the end of series 7.
  • Dave Locket (Julian Triandafyllou) (1999), a cool, good-looking and popular - but very unintelligent - boy in school. Although originally Josh's idol, the two later sink into rivalry, most notably in the episode, The Home Team. He is particularly fond of his hair.
  • Andy 'the Freak' (2000-2005) appears throughout the Barker era as a repulsively geeky boy who is in love with Mel and is deluded in thinking that she returns his ardor. In an episode in Series 6 (Le Freak C'est Chic), he gets a makeover.
  • Mrs Reece (Neve Taylor) (1999-2005), The Social Worker who sends the Barkers to their new foster parents.
  • Miss Charlotte Parker (Kirsty Elkin) (2000-2002), A recurring teacher who Josh once had a crush on.

Production

The show added a laugh track from series 4 onwards. Although there were complaints that it spoiled the feel of the show, it remained for the rest of the show's run, with the exception of the Season 6 Episode "Oh Brian" (written by Tony Gardner (Brian)) which saw Brian & Sophie creating their own comedy show with audience sound effects tracks.

A fake series was produced in 2006, it was created by the same studio that produced the real show, Yorkshire Television. It was meant to be Series 8. It wasn’t very popular with fans, as the styles of Brian and Sophie, the rest of the cast, the sets, the location and even the galactic guidebook all changed. With only one series of this new style, some fans felt that theseries should have been left at the final episode of series 7, as it was the last to feature the original regular cast, and concluded ongoing plots from the first seven series.

In the exact same year afterwards, it was announced by ITV that they were to close its in-house children's production unit, Granada Kids, which produced the show (the real one). The last episode of My Parents are Aliens, Thanks for All the Earthworm Custard was aired on 23 December 2005, and the official website was permanently removed 16 months later. The show ceased production due to the demise of Granada Kids - with children's programmes no longer being run on the ITV Network, the company no longer makes children's shows in-house. The show was filmed at The Leeds Studios which was home to its production company Yorkshire Television. Since March 2009, ITV announced that the studios would be closing down due to budget problems with the company.

Episodes

See main article: Episode Guide

Video and DVD

My Parents Are Aliens had one video release, with the complete first series, in 2006, the show released a DVD with two episodes of series two and four episodes of series three. In Spain, the series had lots of volume dvds from Volume 1. Spain has also made a boxset of 7 Series with 8 discs inside. There is also My Parents Are Aliens - Your Crazy DVD Collection which includes three episodes of series two.

External links

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