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Sunderland psychologist to feature in Danny Dyer’s Channel 4 series

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Published on 10 April 2024

Danny Dyer and Dr Rebecca Owens
Danny Dyer and Dr Rebecca Owens

Renowned British actor Danny Dyer has spoken to a University of Sunderland psychology expert as part of a new two-part Channel 4 documentary series exploring modern British masculinity.

Produced by Whitworth Media, Danny Dyer: How To Be A Man sees Danny step out of his tough guy persona to embark on an insightful journey into the evolving landscape of masculinity. At a time when some believe traditional masculinity has been labelled ‘toxic’, Danny will ask men across Britain what they think it means to be a man in our society, and what the future is for the male identity.

With his signature charisma and candour, Danny will meet individuals who believe traditional masculinity is under threat, as well as those advocating for a more progressive and inclusive version of the male identity and manhood.

The series offers a range of voices on this complex subject, including Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Sunderland, Dr Rebecca Owens

The University launched the world’s first male psychology module in 2020, which explores factors exclusively or disproportionately affecting men and boys, or factors that may affect them differently to how they affect women and girls. 

Dr Owens, who developed the module, met with Danny and a group of Sunderland students at a go-karting venue in the city to explore sex differences in competitiveness.

Later, she and Danny attended a lecture by Martin Seager, one of the leading advocates in the area of male psychology, at the Sir Tom Cowie Lecture Theatre on the University’s St Peter’s Campus.

Dr Owens said: "I feel so grateful that Danny linked in with us at the University of Sunderland to highlight the importance of considering male psychology. We had a great day – the karting experiment worked like clockwork and the students had a fabulous time, they really did us proud.

"Danny was very forthcoming and open when discussing with me his own interests in this area and motivation for doing so. Danny clearly recognises the challenges males are facing in the 21st century UK and is working hard to raise awareness of it and highlight potential opportunities for us as a society to ensure our men and boys aren’t being lost and overlooked."

The series also features interviews with men, including a politician, psychologists, a mental health expert, a fitness expert, a sex therapist, an influencer, male victims of domestic abuse and members of the Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus.

Across both films Danny will be exploring gender stereotypes, male attitudes to mental health, and exploring the changing roles of men in society. He will engage in conversations that challenge perceptions and open up a dialogue on what it means to be a modern man in Britain today.

Danny Dyer said: “As an actor, I've played countless characters, but now I am making a documentary about what the evolving place of men really is. If you were to look on social media, it might seem like people are either completely embracing or rejecting traditional gender roles, without much room for nuance. That’s why we wanted to chat to real men that are representative of the UK today, to hear their thoughts on what being a modern man is to them. To me, being a man isn’t about trying to fit a mould, it's about showing a bit of heart and respecting yourself and others so I'm hoping this documentary gets the geezers talking.”

Danny Dyer: How To Be A Man premieres on Tuesday 16 April at 10pm on Channel 4, with both episodes available for streaming on All4 immediately after the broadcast. Episode two follows on Channel 4 on Wednesday 17 April at 10pm.

For more information about studying Psychology at the University of Sunderland, visit: https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/study/psychology/undergraduate-psychology/