Scarlett Moffatt and her family will move to Africa in a new reality show for Channel 4.
Titled The British Tribe Next Door, Scarlett and the rest of the Moffatt family will spend four weeks with the Himba tribe in a remote Namibian tribal village.
But unlike most adventurers, they won’t be saying goodbye to the comforts of their County Durham home, because they’re taking it with them, complete with all mod cons, running water, electricity, and all their possessions around them – from hair straighteners to metal detectors, iPhones to frozen ready-meals, and of course, the all-important family television.
The community the Moffatts will be joining is a small village of semi-nomadic Himba cattle-herders, who live largely traditional lives.
In the spirit of Meet The Natives – the celebrated 2007 Channel 4 anthropological series – the Himba have agreed to host the Moffatts, because they welcome the opportunity to assess and judge at first hand the sedentary, high tech and consumerist Western lifestyles they have heard about but never seen close-up …
Channel 4 reveals: “Each member of the family has a very different experience during their month-long stay. Scarlett’s dad, Mark, finds that being a cattle herder – the most important job for a Himba man – is harder than it looks when he loses several cows, triggering a nervous three day search across the desert in blistering heat and granny Christine bonds with the tribal elders, not least by introducing them to knitting.
“Through this reverse anthropological exchange, the Moffatts face questions and judgments from their hosts, and are forced to reconsider their own assumptions and way of life. Beauty and body image, the wealth gap, social media, sex and infidelity, consumption and waste, and the roles of men and women – all come under the Himba microscope as the cultural exchange deepens.”
Across four episodes, the new series will also explore the challenges posed to the Himba way of life by the modern world, from the lure of nearby towns on their young, to the effects of global warming on their harvests.
The British Tribe Next Door will air from Tuesday, October 22 on Channel 4.
Scarlett Moffatt said: “This is one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I feel privileged and humbled that the Himba tribe invited us to join them and we have all learnt an enormous amount.”
Alf Lawrie, Head of Factual Entertainment at Channel 4 added: “For the first time in human history, British suburbia and Himba tribal life will co-exist side-by-side. This series contrasts two worlds on a spectacular scale – but at its heart, is about the extraordinary relationships it creates.
“Scarlett and the Himba are the perfect foils, both hospitable, curious, friendly … and sharing wicked senses of humour.”
Chief Tijone of the Himba tribe, commented: “I was born in our village and I’ve never travelled far so I don’t know the Western life. Of course, there are benefits and there are disadvantages. When the visitors come, they can explain everything to us, and we will learn from each other’s cultures.”