TV Highlights

The Men With Many Wives

Channel 4 - 10pm

Who's in it?

Hasan, a chap who's now on his third wife – as well as still being with his first and second – is one of the British Muslims featured in this provocative film about polygamy in the UK.

In a nutshell

Here in Britain, you can't marry more than one person at the same time. Except you kind of can, if you follow sharia law. In fact, as this programme reveals, there are thought to be around 20,000 polygamous relationships in the UK right now. So what it's like to actually be the husband or one of the wives in one of these set-ups? It's a hot potato issue usually handled with tongs, and at arm's length, but this documentary is taking an admirably bold approach.

Rather than just reeling off statistics and interviewing aloof experts, it actually enters the lives of British Muslims getting hitched over and over again. Expect to hear statements that will outrage many – especially when Hasan, one of the hubbies in the show, compares his women to his cars and other valuables. But more interesting will be the insights offered from the wives themselves – how have they taken to sharia-sanctioned polygamy?

What's the verdict?

This is the kind of show that'll spark debates in living rooms around the land. But, whatever you think of polygamy, you're bound to be moved by the tales of duty and betrayal shared by women whose voices are rarely, if ever, heard.

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07-07-2011