Scarlett and the rest of the Moffatt family will spend four weeks with the Himba tribe in a remote Namibian tribal village.
Gogglebox star Scarlett became a hit on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity.
“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.” – Scarlett Moffatt
In The British Tribe Next Door Channel 4 take the former Gogglebox stars on a four-episode adventure. 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 Moffatts are to be subsumed into a small village of semi-nomadic Himba cattle-herders, who live largely traditional lives. 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.
Striking differences quickly emerge. The average Himba family have little more than a dozen possessions each, compared to the nearly 22,000 items in the Moffatts’ home. Exploring the terraced house for the first time, the members of the tribe have strong reactions to everything from biscuits to the microwave; the bedrooms to the stairs that led up to them; and even the hallway mirror: ‘I like what I see,’ says one young Himba mum, who has never seen her own reflection before.
“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.” – Chief Tijone of the Himba tribe
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 whilst 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.
The four episodes 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.
“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.” – Alf Lawrie, Head of Factual Entertainment at Channel 4