Wife Swap (UK TV series)

Wife Swap

Top: British Series 11 Intertitle
Created by RDF
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 60 minutes
Original network Channel 4
Original release 1 January 2003 (2003-01-01) – 19 December 2009 (2009-12-19)
External links

Wife Swap is a British reality television programme produced by independent television production company RDF Media and created by Stephen Lambert for Channel 4, first broadcast in 2003.

In the programme, two families, usually from different social classes and lifestyles, swap wives/mothers and sometimes husbands for two weeks. In fact, the programme will usually deliberately swap wives with dramatically different lifestyles, such as a messy wife swapping with a fastidiously neat one. Despite using a phrase from the swinging lifestyle, couples participating in the show do not share a bed with the "swapped" spouse while "swapping" homes.

In November 2009, Channel 4 announced that they had cancelled Wife Swap, and no new episodes of the show would be made for the channel.[1] The final episode was broadcast in December 2009.[2]


During the first week, the new wife must adhere to exactly the same rules and lifestyle of the wife she is replacing. Each wife leaves a house manual which explains her role in the family and the duties she holds. This almost always determines what rules the wives will apply at the "rules change ceremony".

During the second week, the new wives are allowed to establish their own rules, and their new families must adhere to these new household rules. It usually takes a while for the families to adjust to this policy, meanwhile the wives disburse a sum of money to the family they have become involved with, to do what the wives see fit to spend it on.

At the end of the two weeks, the two couples all meet together for the first time, and the wives, along with their husbands, discuss how they felt about the two weeks. This often descends into personal insults and has degenerated into violence at least twice. More often than not, however, both families reach toward a middle ground and express that they have learned from the experience. Sometimes, the table meeting is a very heartfelt and emotional time for the two families who sometimes have complete and mutual respect for each other. A few weeks later the cameras return to record what changes have occurred since the wife swap.


Other countries and versions

Country Title Network First airdate
 Australia Wife Swap Australia LifeStyle You 9 January 2012
 Belgium De Nieuwe Mama
 Brazil Troca de Família Record 28 September 2006
 Chile ¿Quién cambia a quién? Intercambio de Esposas Canal 13 14 March 2006
 Czech Výměna manželek TV Nova
 Denmark Par på prøve
 Spain Me cambio de familia Cuatro
 France On a échangé nos mamans M6 13 January 2004
 Germany Frauentausch RTL II 14 July 2003
 India Maa Exchange Sony January 2011
 Italy Cambio moglie Cielo 2009
 Israel אמא מחליפה
Ima Mahlifah
Channel 2 Reshet 2005
 Netherlands Jouw vrouw, mijn vrouw RTL4 Unknown
 Poland Zamiana żon TV4 2007
 Romania Schimb de mame Prima TV 2006
 Serbia Menjam ženu RTV Pink

Happy TV

July 2006.
 Slovakia Zámena manželiek TV Markiza
 Ukraine Міняю жінку
Minyayu zhinku
1+1 8 March 2010
 United States Wife Swap ABC 26 September 2004

Celebrity Wife Swap

There have been some celebrity versions of Wife Swap produced:

In the Netherlands "Jouw vrouw, mijn vrouw VIPs" is running since 2013 on RTL4 television. In 2015 a third season is being broadcast.

Notable episodes and special editions

Wife Swap has aired several unique episodes in its history.


In 2005, Channel 4 broadcast two international versions of Wife Swap, one where a British family changed lifestyles with a German family,[3] and then one where a British family changed lifestyles with an Australian family.

In 2008, Channel 4 broadcast a version where two British families who happened to be living in Spain at the time swapped with one another.

Boss Swap

A spin-off, Boss Swap, was broadcast as a series in the UK.[4] A pilot for a US series was shown on ABC but was not commissioned. Husband Swap and Vacation Swap pilots were also broadcast in America, but were not picked up for series production. In the Netherlands and Belgium Vacation Swap episodes, are produced as "Jouw vakantie, mijn vakantie".

At least once a husband and a live-in boyfriend swapped while the women stayed with their families.


There is an ongoing series in Hunan Television. The people being swapped are mostly the eldest children (or in rare cases, youngest or all children) of between 9–16 years old. One of which comes from an affluent family, but with behavioural and legal issues, in which they must surrender all technological gadgets and money (except for the allowances left by the opposite family, or any money they earned or collected). The other is from the poorer agricultural villages often orphaned or with single parents. This show also have celebrity mentors making videos of support for the participants.

In the Netherlands the same format is being used as "KRO Puberruil", broadcast on NPO3. The children are 15–18 years old. most of the time Dutch children are swapped, but there are also episodes named "Puberruil buitenland" where Dutch children are swapped with children in countries like India, Brasil and Sierra Leone. Longer episodes are called "Puberruil Xtra".

Fraudulent activity

In her 2003 appearance on the programme, Lizzy Bardsley was shown to be living entirely on state benefits, which she continued to do without declaring payments she subsequently received for media work. Prosecuted and found guilty in 2005, she was sentenced to 80 hours community service and ordered to repay £4,879 in overpaid benefits.[5] In February 2007, she was convicted of child cruelty charges, receiving an eight-month suspended sentence and a two-year supervision order.[6]

See also


  1. Mayer Nissim (12 November 2009). "Channel 4 axes 'Wife Swap', 'How Clean'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 June 2010.
  2. "Wife Swap - The Carters and the Dales". Channel 4. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW9yN5e0uys
  4. "ABC greenlights two 'Wife Swap' spinoffs: 'Husband Swap' and 'Boss Swap'". Reality TV World. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 2010-06-09.
  5. "Reality TV star cheated benefits". BBC News. 27 September 2005.
  6. "Wife Swap Lizzy escapes jail term". BBC News. 22 February 2007.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.