Marriage in the 1950s and 60s | From wedding vows to happily ever after?

Panorama | Divorce

Will changing the divorce law make Britain more 'divorce minded'?

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 11 March 1963

DURATION | 16 minutes 47 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1963

Synopsis

This report looks into the current proposal for changes to the law that would prevent the need for a 'matrimonial offence' to have been committed and grant a divorce if a couple have been separated for seven years. A private detective who earns his living from 'surprising' adulterous partners so that a matrimonial offence can be proved explains the workings of the current system. Reporter John Morgan then meets people who are trapped by the current laws and Church leaders on both sides of the argument for divorce reform.

Did you know?

Leo Abse put forward the Matrimonial Causes Bill later in 1963; it was passed and the Act became law in 1964. Abse also put through the Private Member's Bill that led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Contributors

Reporter

More like this...

Evelyn Gibbs.

Woman's Hour | 1000th Edition

RECORDED 1950
5 MINUTES

Which qualities helped to make an 'ideal' 1950s wife?

A bride.

Any Questions?

BROADCAST 1955
3 MINUTES

A white wedding and a honeymoon or a house deposit?

A woman 'spinster'.

Any Questions?

BROADCAST 1955
3 MINUTES

When does spinsterhood start?

A couple entering Gretna Green in the 1950s.

Tonight | Gretna Green

BROADCAST 1957
2 MINUTES

Teenage runaways head for Gretna Green.

A 1950s housewife.

Panorama | Family Budgets

BROADCAST 1957
10 MINUTES

How do women spend their housekeeping?

A housewife smiles as she does the cooking.

Eye to Eye | Now We Are Married

BROADCAST 1958
29 MINUTES

A 'day in the life' of three married couples.

A young woman in the 1960s.

Mosaic of Youth

BROADCAST 1959
1 MINUTE

Teenagers' views on sex and marriage.

Panorama Logo from 1962.

Panorama | Divorce

BROADCAST 1963
17 MINUTES

Will changing the divorce law make Britain more 'divorce minded'?

Suburbia in the 1960s.

Marriage Today | A Social Institution

BROADCAST 1964
40 MINUTES

The social changes affecting marriage in post-war UK life.

A bride and groom cut their wedding cake.

Marriage Today | Intimate Union

BROADCAST 1964
40 MINUTES

The good, the bad and the purpose of marriage in the 1960s.

An engagement and wedding ring.

Marriage Today | An Excellent Mystery?

BROADCAST 1964
41 MINUTES

Is marriage out of date or does it still have relevance in modern society?

Eleanor Bron.

Enquiry | A Woman's Place

BROADCAST 1965
33 MINUTES

The movers and shakers of 1965 on women and marriage.

A ring on an open page of the bible.

Man Alive | Living in Sin

BROADCAST 1966
29 MINUTES

Why are modern couples rejecting traditional values?

A young boy holding his new sibling.

Man Alive | Marriage Under Stress: 1: Children

BROADCAST 1967
29 MINUTES

How children have altered the lives of young married couples.

A wedding cake figurine of a bride.

Man Alive | Marriage Under Stress: 2: Breaking Point

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

Some of the reasons for the breakdown of marriage are explored.

Divorce papers.

Man Alive | Marriage Under Stress: 3: Put Asunder

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

Life after divorce in the 1960s.

A bride in the 1960s.

Man Alive | For Richer, for Poorer

BROADCAST 1967
30 MINUTES

An invitation to the wedding of Norma and Barry - and Diana and Tim.

A 1950s housewife.

Washes Whiter | She's Not a Moron - She's Your Wife

BROADCAST 1990
50 MINUTES

Why are white shirts and shiny floors the sign of a good woman?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.