naked parents

The illuminating human interest strand continues with this eye-opening profile of three couples who spend their lives in the nude. These fearless parents fly in the face of conformity to bare all, sometimes to the horror of their neighbours and children. This lighthearted film explores the reasons behind their naturism and studies the effect their lifestyle has on their children.

Barbara and Ian are a quintessentially English, middle-class couple. They own and maintain the spectacular 16th-century Abbey House Gardens in the quaint village of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where they live with their two sons, Rufus and Kian. But Barbara and Ian are not quite typical parents – they are dedicated naturists. They have no qualms about serving dinner to their sons and their sons’ friends in the nude, and have become famous to locals and tourists alike for their love of naked gardening.

Ian and Barbara’s commitment to letting it all hang out in public has generated a lot of negative attention in this overwhelmingly conservative Cotswold town. So why do they pursue such an unusual lifestyle? For Ian, his eccentric beliefs stem from a lifelong opposition to conformity. But for former model Barbara, the decision to go nude was rather more complex, as she was aware that her nudity might attract a lot of attention from the male population – for all the wrong reasons.

Both Ian and Barbara are comfortable with their decision to shed their clothes, but they recognise their lifestyle can have an unsettling effect on 15- year-old Rufus and 11-year-old Kian. Rufus especially has been teased at school and around the town by gangs of boys who mock his parents for their habits. Both children talk openly and sensitively about what it is like coping with naked parents. On the one hand, they are proud of their mum and dad’s bold choice; at the same time, they sometimes wish they could live without the attention it creates.

In the middle of Oxfordshire, Les and Sharon pursue a similar life of nudity. Larger-than-life Les resembles an aging rock star. He smokes, drinks, keeps a ferret and rules the roost of his family, which includes two grown-up sons and their partners. A self-proclaimed exhibitionist, Les delights at being in the public eye, while Sharon is a more reluctant follower.

Les and Sharon’s sons, Stewart and Sean, talk freely about the teasing they have received from friends over their parents’ clothes-free lives. Stewart’s fiancée, Rachel, describes her first experience of meeting an unapologetic Les in his birthday suit in the family kitchen, without any prior warning from Stewart.

Elsewhere, the film meets David and Dianne, another ardent pair of nudists. When Dianne first moved in with David, she had no idea he was a naturalist. Size 22 Dianne has always had issues about her weight, so the notion of stripping off and putting everything on display was a difficult one to absorb. But over time, Dianne and her son gradually began to partake of David’s lifestyle.

Dianne is now eternally grateful to David for helping her accept her body as it is. Nudism has helped her find her place in a world obsessed with stick-thin, size-zero models. Now happier and more confident, she feels she has become a better mother because of her nakedness. But has Dianne put herself first over the wishes of her child? And can naked parents be responsible parents when their choice of lifestyle creates so many difficulties for their kids?

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