Viral "BBC Dad" returns to live TV to discuss challenges of working from home, as kids once again distract him
By Sophie Lewis
/ CBS News
Remember "BBC Dad" — the professor who became an internet sensation when his energetic kids gatecrashed his interview on live television in 2017? He returned to BBC News on Thursday, and of course, his adorable children couldn't help but interrupt.
Robert Kelly, a political scientist living with his wife and two children in Busan, South Korea, returned for his latest appearance with the British broadcaster to talk about the coronavirus and how his family has been coping at home — a topic Kelly and his wife, Jung-a Kim, are basically experts on.
Kim joined Kelly on air, but unsurprisingly, their kids, Marion and James, could not manage to sit still. "It's very difficult to stay in the house for a long time," Kim said.
Over the course of the interview, James runs around the room and Marion makes hilarious faces while flailing her arms, hugging Kelly and pulling on his hair. Kelly, of course, attempts to apologize for their behavior.
"Oh no, you must never apologize, that's one thing you can never apologize for now. It's part of the scene." the interviewer jokes.
While South Korea was never under a mandatory national lockdown, the government asked people to self-isolate in their homes and avoid large gatherings. The country has lifted some of its strictest guidelines, allowing kids to get some of their energy out by going on hikes, Kelly said.
"It's been tough for us, I mean as you can see, it's very difficult," Kelly said as his children tried to distract him. "We're fighting with them all the time, they got nothing to do, they're climbing the walls. It's just really really tough. There are only so many games you can play and puzzles you can do before they just kind of, you know, run around."
As the U.S. struggles with adapting to life under quarantine, South Korea has emerged as a role model for containing the spread of COVID-19. The country has over 9,000 cases, but its rate of infections has not risen exponentially — as it has in parts of Europe and the U.S. — thanks to its strict enforcement of social distancing and mass testing.
"I think South Koreans have actually dealt with it really well," Kelly said. "I think social compliance here has been pretty high. You don't see the kind of stuff that you've seen in the United States, with like people crowding beaches and people refusing to stay off the subways and stuff like that. South Koreans have actually really responded really well, and that's why the curve has flattened now to only 100 a day. So it's actually been pretty successful."
While their parents certainly didn't appreciate their squirming, Marion and James gave the perfect encore performance for their millions of fans around the world.
The experiences of Kelly and Kim echo that of millions of parents in the U.S., who are struggling to balance it all. As schools shutter their doors indefinitely, children have been forced to adjust to learning at home and parents are learning to get used to their unruly new "coworkers."
There are a growing number of online resources that parents can utilize during challenging isolation days. Google Arts & Culture provides virtual museum tours, Scholastic is offering free day-by-day projects to keep kids' minds active at home, singers are sharing at-home concerts on social media and zoos and aquariums are doing educational live streams to teach kids about animals.
As the quarantine drags on, Kelly wants to remind employers to be kind to their workers with young children. "After two weeks penned up in the house, those kids are gonna be climbing the walls," he tweeted.
First published on March 26, 2020 / 2:37 PM
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