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Wife Swap (British TV series)

  (Redirected from Wife Swap (UK TV series))

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 and ran for 7 years before being axed. The show returned for a one off special episode on 15 June 2017.

Wife Swap
Wife Swap.png
Top: British Series 11 Intertitle
Created byRDF
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Running time60 minutes
Original networkChannel 4
Original release1 January 2003 (2003-01-01) –
December 2009, 15 June 2017 (Brexit Special)
External links
grammes/wife-swap Website

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]

It was announced that Wife Swap would return for a special Brexit episode to air on 15 June 2017 on Channel 4.[3]


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 behind 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.

International versionsEdit

Country Title Network First airdate
  Australia Wife Swap Australia LifeStyle You 9 January 2012
  Belarus Обмен Жёнами
Obmen Zhjonamy
  Belgium De Nieuwe Mama vtm ?
  Brazil Troca de Esposas RecordTV 14 February 2019
  Bulgaria Смени жената
Smeni zhenata
bTV 1 March 2017
  Chile ¿Quién cambia a quién? Intercambio de Esposas Canal 13 14 March 2006
  Czech Republic Výměna manželek TV Nova 5 September 2005
  Denmark Par på prøve TV3 6 October 2003
  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 ?
  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 ?
  Spain Me cambio de familia Cuatro ?
  Ukraine Міняю жінку
Minyayu zhinku
1+1 8 March 2010
  United States Wife Swap ABC
26 September 2004

Celebrity Wife SwapEdit

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 editionsEdit

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,[4] and then one where a British family changed lifestyles with an Australian family.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Boss SwapEdit

A spin-off, Boss Swap, was broadcast as a series in the UK.[5] 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 on Hunan Television, in which 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 these 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 a poorer agricultural village, often orphaned or with single parents. This show also has celebrity mentors making videos of support for the participants.

In the Netherlands the same format is being used in KRO's 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, Brazil and Sierra Leone. Longer episodes are called "Puberruil Xtra".

In popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ "What time is Wife Swap: Brexit Special on TV?". Radio Times. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  4. ^ "YouTube".
  5. ^ "ABC greenlights two 'Wife Swap' spinoffs: 'Husband Swap' and 'Boss Swap'". Reality TV World. 28 June 2004. Retrieved 9 June 2010.

External linksEdit