Fathers wanted for important BBC TV documentary about fathers’ changing roles

5 January 2010

Did you become a father at any time since the beginning of the 1970s? Are you willing to appear on a very high quality BBC4 TV documentary about every-day-fathering?

The award winning documentary film making company Testimony Films is making an important contemporary history series exploring the roles played by fathers and father-figures in bringing up children. Testimony Films is passionate about people’s life stories, and looks for new ways of telling them that will bring fresh perspectives to the past and the present; explode myths; and inspire change.

The period to be covered (1970 onwards) is an exciting one from the point of view of fathers’ roles and experiences. It covers the sexual revolution; the collapse of traditional industries and trade unions; changing gender roles and the emergence of gay rights; boom-and-bust economies; increasing separation and divorce; substantial immigration and multi-culturalism; “the Troubles” in Ireland; devolution in Scotland and Wales; and so on. All these social changes will have been played out within families in devastating or inspiring ways.

What kinds of dads?

What kinds of fathers are Testimony Films seeking? Fathers who have faced challenges…

Perhaps you have struggled to be a different kind of father from your own father? Maybe you became a father when you were very young? Perhaps your child was given up for adoption? Perhaps your parents were immigrants; or your children’s mother is from a different cultural group? Perhaps you’ve had children with more than one partner? Or you’ve lost your job, or your family, or both? Maybe you’ve raised children alone, or taken on more of the caring role than their mother, or become a stepfather – stepping into a ready-made family, and trying to find your place? Perhaps you’ve struggled with serious illness or breakdown or disability or addiction – your own, your partner’s, your child’s? Perhaps you’ve not been the father you hoped you’d be. Perhaps you’ve succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. Maybe it’s the birth of your child you want to talk about; maybe their death.

The film-makers are especially keen to hear from dads of the 1970s and 80s whose children are now grown up, where the relationships have played out over a longish period of time – especially where outcomes are not as might have been expected. Some of your partners may also want to share their experiences.

What do you do now?

If you’re a dad, think about whether you could take part – or whether you know another father who might. Any fathers who are interested should contact URGENTLY and IN CONFIDENCE (and mentioning that they heard about the programme through the Fatherhood Institute) either Pete Vance or Lizi Cosslett, or both on 0117 925 8589. Or write to them at Testimony Films, 12 Great George Street, Bristol BS1 5RH.

N.B. Filming will take place very soon – during January and February this year. The film-makers are flexible about location; any expenses will be covered and dads who take part will be paid a fee of £100 for their participation.