Part 1: The Good Father
Series which tells the story of the revolution in modern fatherhood in Britain during the last hundred years. Using intimate testimony, rare archive footage and the latest historical research it reveals the important, and often misunderstood, role played by fathers.
The opening part explodes the popular myth of the tyrannical Victorian-style father, whose children were seen and not heard. The majority of men did not harshly punish their children: they were good and devoted dads who took their job as provider and protector of their family seriously.
Those who tragically lost their lives in the First World War are still fondly remembered by sons and daughters today. Some dads even took part in the fathercraft movement that began in 1920 and which encouraged dads to change nappies and to form close relationships with their children from the beginning.
Part 2: Fathers at War
The Second World War took a generation of fathers away from home to serve in the war effort. They returned home strangers to their own families, some of them disabled and broken men. But in time many did adjust, and the deprivations of war made the simple pleasures of family life and fatherhood all the sweeter. With the growing affluence of the 50s and 60s, some dads felt they were in paradise. Yet fathers soon found themselves fighting a new war – with their teenage sons and daughters, who wanted more freedom from parental control. Now, 50 years on, some of those teenagers desperately wish they had enjoyed a closer relationship with their fathers, but for most it is too late.
Part 3: The New Father
The final episode reveals how the experience of being a father was transformed between the 1960s and the present day and looks at the lives of a fascinating cross-section of fathers from all walks of life over the past fifty years.
The modern hands-on father has a more intimate relationship with his children than the past, but the sexual revolution and feminism has also made fathers more insecure than ever before. Modern divorce laws have excluded fathers from family life and from the access they want to their children. The anguish felt by many dads was expressed in the Fathers 4 Justice protest movement.