There’s a fizz in the air and change is afoot with the SBS Original series While The Men Are Away premiering on Wednesday 27th September.

An irreverent, wry and witty reimagining of 1940s Australia, While The Men Away stars Italian actor Michela De Rossi (Many Saints of Newark and lead in Netflix’s upcoming Italian epic Briganti), who leads an exceptional cast of rising Australian stars including Max McKenna (Jagged Little Pill, US Tour of Dear Evan Hanson), Phoebe Grainer (Tiddas, Black Cockatoo), Jana Zvedeniuk (Bump), Matt Testro (Jack Irish, The Gloaming), Shaka Cook (Hamilton), Benedict Hardie (Nautilus, The Invisible Man). The series also stars household names Gemma Ward (The Great Gatsby, Black Balloon), Sacha Horler (The Dressmaker, The Letdown) and Tara Morice (Dance Academy, Strictly Ballroom).

In the eight-part dramedy series, Australia’s at war, so a lot of the men are away for a bit. And to be honest this is pretty exciting for anyone who isn’t a man! While The Men Are Away follows Frankie (De Rossi), who’s left in charge of her suffering apple farm after her husband is sent to war (or was he?). She enlists Gwen (McKenna) and Esther (Zvedeniuk), the freshly enlisted naïve city recruits of the Women’s Land Army, to join herself, local Indigenous farmhand Kathleen (Grainer) and certified coward Robert (Testro).

Often (but not always) wildly historically inaccurate, While The Men Are Away is about people who don’t normally hold the reins of power suddenly having them shoved in their hands and told to giddy the hell up. It’s about five individuals who find each other, and for a glorious moment in time, sample a life tinged with promise, hope and acceptance. And once they taste it, it’s impossible to go back.

While the Men Are Away is an absolutely delightful revisionist history with a twist of truth. It is warm-hearted and clever and full of characters you will fall in love with. And being a half-hour drama, it is the kind of series you will want to devour in a day or two.

Tackling aspects of our history that have so often been left off the page, with the brilliant Kim Wilson and our writing team, superb direction by Elissa Down and Monica Zanetti, and a stunning ensemble cast, led by Italian star, Michela De Rossi, has been a true pleasure.

We know audiences will connect with these (not so historical) characters, and be inspired to make a good fist of it, as the Women’s Land Army always did!” #SBSAustralia #WhileTheMenAreAway



LOTL speaks to acclaimed writer Kim Wilson (Deadloch, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), who wrote and developed the series with, Burke and Zanetti, alongside Magda Wozniak, Enoch Mailangi, Sam Icklow and Jada Alberts.


All 8 episodes of While The Men Are Away will be available to stream free on SBS On Demand from Wednesday 27 September, with double episodes premiering on SBS each Wednesday at 8.30 pm.