Herts couple to feature in ITV’s A Very British Lockdown coronavirus diaries documentary

PUBLISHED: 18:08 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:47 22 April 2020

James Stannard and Laura Dilworth from Hertfordshire whose baby boy Teddy was born during the COVID-19 crisis appear in A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline on ITV. Picture: Endermol/Shine

James Stannard and Laura Dilworth from Hertfordshire whose baby boy Teddy was born during the COVID-19 crisis appear in A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline on ITV. Picture: Endermol/Shine

Endermol/Shine

A couple living in Hatfield who celebrated the birth of their “beautiful miracle baby” during lockdown will appear on an ITV programme this evening.

Laura Dilworth, 37, and partner James Stannard, 38, are one of the families featured in A Very British Lockdown: Diaries From The Frontline.

This new documentary goes behind closed doors with ordinary people across Britain to explore their spirit and determination in the face of the Government’s lockdown, imposed due to the spread of coronavirus.

The episode airs at 8pm on ITV tonight (Tuesday, April 21).

Producers asked a cross section of society to film their own lockdown diaries on camera phones.

Then expectant Hertfordshire parents Laura and James, a self-employed builder from St Albans, are among those sharing their inspiring and touching stories at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

TV presenter, events host and voiceover artist Laura was about 38 to 39 weeks pregnant when filming started last month.

“I was even filming bits for the diaries when I was actually in labour,” she said.

Previously told she was unable to conceive naturally, Laura gave birth to “miracle baby” Teddy James Orlando at Lister Hospital in Stevenage on Tuesday, April 2 at 1.28pm, weighing 7lb 7oz.

But the hospital birth wasn’t how she envisaged it.

“I went in but it was a very different situation to the one that I’d planned,” said Laura.

“Since people found out on my presenting page that I was about to give birth, I’ve been inundated with questions from pregnant women because everyone is so worried about what is happening.

“All the rules are changing day by day.”

Louise and Ian, a married couple from Wakefield. Louise has had a double lung transplant and is classed as vulnerable to COVID-19, so Ian is protecting her by living in a campervan parked on the drive. You can see more in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineLouise and Ian, a married couple from Wakefield. Louise has had a double lung transplant and is classed as vulnerable to COVID-19, so Ian is protecting her by living in a campervan parked on the drive. You can see more in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

After being induced, Laura describes son Teddy as “our little ray of light born to brighten up these dark times”.

However, due to hospital restrictions amid the pandemic, boyfriend James nearly missed the birth of the couple’s first child together.

“Certainly when I went in [to hospital] it was a really scary situation,” said Laura, who presented last year’s Christmas lights switch-on in Stevenage.

“James only just made it because they are not letting dads or birthing partners to come in until you are in what’s called active labour. Mine was very short. I was induced.

Zoe and Ben Sullivan and their 11 children, based in North Scotland, appear in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineZoe and Ben Sullivan and their 11 children, based in North Scotland, appear in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

“All the women that are going to be induced, a lot of the dads are apparently missing their labour.

“A woman who was on my ward, the dad didn’t make it on time, so he missed her giving birth.

“Luckily, we are fairly close to the hospital and James made it.”

Following Teddy’s birth, Laura had to return to hospital after developing an infection in her womb.

Dr Emeka, an Essex-based doctor working in hospital on the frontline coronavirus wards. His story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineDr Emeka, an Essex-based doctor working in hospital on the frontline coronavirus wards. His story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

Of her hospital experience during lockdown, she added: “It’s just very strange and isolating.

“You can’t see anyone’s faces at the moment in the wards because they are covered up with masks and whatever other protective equipment they have got.

“You are also not in a bed near anybody because all the beds are socially isolated as well – they have got to be a good two metres apart.”

The new mum added: “Everything was very surreal, very stressful and giving birth for the first time, it was very bizarre.

Sitting alone on top of a London Bus, North London-based care worker Tilly Martin became a key worker in the crisis running a homeless outreach charity. Her story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineSitting alone on top of a London Bus, North London-based care worker Tilly Martin became a key worker in the crisis running a homeless outreach charity. Her story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

“If I knew what I know now, I’d be very nervous going in and giving birth at these times.”

Back home now, the couple are self-isolating in a one-bedroom flat in Aviation Avenue on the Hatfield Business Park.

“During this lockdown, Teddy’s definitely keeping us entertained and busy the whole time,” said Laura.

“That it the one good thing about the lockdown.”

Jessica, a nursery school owner and manager from Thirsk, home-schooling her two children with her husband Darren in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineJessica, a nursery school owner and manager from Thirsk, home-schooling her two children with her husband Darren in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

Due to the extraordinary times we are living in, their new son has only ‘met’ other family members via FaceTime or through a car window.

“It’s hard because obviously he can’t meet any of his relatives,” said Laura.

“Again, that’s part of the programme where we drive round in a car and they can look through the window.”

She added: “It’s obviously really difficult for grandparents.

Bernard and Karen are owners of a small chain of convenience stores in Dawlish. They set up a home delivery service to help locals who are self-isolating

. Their story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/ShineBernard and Karen are owners of a small chain of convenience stores in Dawlish. They set up a home delivery service to help locals who are self-isolating . Their story is included in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline. Picture: Endermol/Shine

“This is meant to be a really happy, joyous time and we’re trying to come up with ways he can meet the family.”

The couple are also wary of going outside too much with Teddy due to inquisitive people breaking social distancing rules to look at their new baby in his pram.

Filmed on their own camera phones, everyone from shopkeepers to home-schooling parents, care workers to cleaners, teachers to nurses, expectant mums to the elderly tell their own lockdown tales of keeping calm and carrying on – or trying to – in A Very British Lockdown: Diaries From The Frontline.

On how they got onto the ITV show, Laura explained: “I saw an Instagram post and it said, ‘have you been affected by the coronavirus?’

James Stannard and Laura Dilworth from Hertfordshire whose baby boy Teddy was born during the COVID-19 crisis appear in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline on ITV. Picture: Endermol/ShineJames Stannard and Laura Dilworth from Hertfordshire whose baby boy Teddy was born during the COVID-19 crisis appear in ITV's A Very British Lockdown: Diaries from the Frontline on ITV. Picture: Endermol/Shine

“It was quite specific about if you are a supermarket worker, if you are NHS frontline, or if you are pregnant and due to give birth quite soon, to get in touch.

“I got in touch with them and didn’t think much more about it.

“The idea was commissioned and got turned around pretty quickly.

“They couldn’t send camera crews out or anything like that, so they got people filming on their own mobile devices and tablets, and just filming their stories.”

Among the other people featuring in A Very British Lockdown: Diaries From The Frontline are Bernard and Karen, middle-aged Devon grocers who have lost their crucial tourist trade but are staying open to serve their vulnerable customers.

The staff of Duffryn Ffrwd Manor Care Home in Cardiff, who decided to self-isolate alongside their residents to safeguard them during the pandemic, are also featured.

Due to the risk of infection, the producers of the show have not physically met most of the cast members, but have remotely helped them to film their own stories, directing them in real-time via a phone app.

The video clips were then uploaded to a mobile rig, and sent to London where they were edited together to make the programme.

“It was really cool from that point of view,” said Laura.

“It’s like a new era of reality TV, but all our stories are just us talking about our situation and experiences of what we were going through.

“It has kept us super busy throughout, even though we are stuck in most of the time.”

With the aim of showcasing people’s resilience, spirit and sense of humour, the programme is the story of a nation in lockdown – told by ordinary people across Britain.

You can watch A Very British Lockdown: Diaries From The Frontline on ITV at 8pm on Tuesday, April 21.


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