The Walton Sextuplets celebrate their 30th birthday in this new one off documentary for ITV.
In an hour long special we meet the six girls Hannah, Luci, Jennie, Ruth, Kate and Sarah as they reach this milestone birthday and take a special trip of a lifetime to New York with their parents Janet and Graham – their first holiday together for nearly ten years.
“I wouldn’t change a single thing, I wouldn’t change a second. The experience I’ve had in the last 30 years, you know, living with the six girls and bringing them up. Loved it, I honestly loved it. I would do it again in the blink of an eye… honest.” Graham Walton
The Waltons, from Wallasey, are the world’s only surviving all female sextuplets and have attracted headlines from the moment they were born. ITV has followed the girls throughout their lives and in this brand new programme made by Shiver, we get an insight into the girls’ lives as they approach 30. We also hear Janet and Graham’s extraordinary journey from trying to conceive to being told they were having sextuplets and through archive footage we see the girls over the years as babies, toddlers and teenagers. The girls are now almost the same age Janet was when she fell pregnant and in the programme, we hear the them talking about the prospect of having families of their own.
We first find the girls visiting a tattoo parlour where they all get a six heart tattoo as a permanent reminder of their unique bond and exceptional family. Before the Walton girls were born in November 1983, there had been no other surviving all female sextuplets in history. Janet had been told at a young age that she was unlikely to be able to have children but her and husband Graham were determined to start a family of their own. After numerous courses of fertility treatment, Janet finally discovered she was pregnant with six babies. Speaking about that moment, she says “It was shock. Thrilled, you know. No one had had sextuplets before in this country. So we really didn’t know what the future held.”
The film finds three of the girls – Hannah, Ruth and Luci – still living at home. Hannah works at an opticians, Ruth works in customer services and Luci is an air stewardess who is saving up to move in with her fiancée. Sarah is also engaged, she works as a receptionist at a GP surgery and lives a few minutes away from the family home. Kate works as an administrator, she has a place of her own but also not far from her parents whilst Jennie is the only sister who has moved away from Wallasey. She owns a confectionery business and lives in Leeds with her partner, Matt.
Even though the girls don’t live too far apart, the trip to New York is the first holiday they have all been on together for almost ten years and an opportunity for the girls to spend some quality time together. They are surprised at the airport by an old friend of the family, TV presenter Michael Aspel who wants to wish them all a Happy Birthday.
In New York the girls meet another group of sextuplets for the first time – the Carpios who are just five years old. The girls enjoy meeting the children and share their thoughts about having families of their own. Kate says: “We all want to settle down and get married and have children. I mean I’d love to give my mum and dad grandchildren one day.”
She adds: “I think my dad especially misses when we were younger and I think he’d love to do it all over again if I’m honest. So I think for one of us to have a baby, they’d just love it.”
Hannah says: “I don’t think I want quite as big a family, I don’t want six children, I don’t think I’d be able to cope. But I think when we all have children anyway we’re going to be part of a big family, so I think one or two children, that would be my limit.”
Finally, we see the girls on the morning of their birthday exchanging presents. For Janet and Graham, celebrating this milestone birthday is a more emotional experience than usual. When they were born the chance of them all surviving was remote, and the chance of them reaching adulthood without experiencing serious health problems was very small. As well as reaching the age of 30 in great health, the girls are now closer than ever.
It’s an emotional and heartwarming film of a truly incredible story that has captured Britons’ hearts and minds since that miracle day in 1983.
The Waltons Sextuplets At 30 airs on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 17th April.