The villagers of Harby in Nottinghamshire are about to experience an
altogether different way of life when their village takes part in an
ambitious observational documentary series by the BBC looking at how
an English village community copes when the women are taken away for
The Week The Women Went
(working title) is a week long experiment, commissioned by BBC THREE,
to enable the men of Harby to take a fresh look at the roles they play
at home and in the community and for viewers to see how a community
of men rise to the challenge of filling all the roles in village life.
Research suggests that while women have taken more and more of a place
in the world of work, men are still in the back seat as far as domestic
life is concerned.
Most mothers (even if they are working mothers) in Britain today feel
part of a community, but it is not uncommon for men to have no connection
with their neighbours or community.
Most mothers are a dab hand at juggling the home and the kids, but
many fathers have never spent 24 hours on their own with their children.
This project will give the men of Harby the chance to contribute to
home and village life in a way that they have never done before.
Series producer Kelly Webb-Lamb, who produced the highly acclaimed
series Back To The Floor and I'll Show Them Who's Boss, says of the
project: "The series aims to go beyond dated clichés like will
he burn the beans? Can he change nappies? We want to see what men do
"Of course there's an element of fun here and it will be a fascinating
experiment, but if we didn't feel the community as a whole would learn
something of value from their experience and look at their lives differently
afterwards, we wouldn't be doing it."
Webb-Lamb has spent the last five months trawling hundreds of villages
to find the perfect location for the experiment: "We got out, spoke
to people about the idea. If they thought it might work and seemed interested,
we spent more time going door to door to build up a proper picture of
the village and the level of support for the project."
Harby, a small village of around 300 inhabitants, was chosen because
it was a good example of a typical English village in the 21st century
and because of the enthusiasm shown by the community for the project.
The village, which includes a high proportion of families, has been
very supportive of the project from the start.
Many of the men in the village are hoping to take a week's holiday
for the project so they can wholeheartedly throw themselves into it.
In Britain today men and women work longer hours and spend less time
at home than ever before, yet many families feel they would all benefit
from a better work/life balance.
This project provides an opportunity for the men and women to experience
a different way of life, and for the men to see whether they can find
new, different or better ways of doing things with all the women gone.
For the women it's an opportunity to spend time with relatives or friends,
or enjoy a much needed break from their busy home lives.
The television series forms part of a season of parenting programmes
on BBC THREE to be broadcast in 2005.