mon 01/06/2020

The British Tribe Next Door, Channel 4 review - risible culture-clash farrago | reviews, news & interviews

The British Tribe Next Door, Channel 4 review - risible culture-clash farrago

The British Tribe Next Door, Channel 4 review - risible culture-clash farrago

What have Namibia's Himba tribe done to deserve the Moffatts from Bishop Auckland?

The Moffatts go to Namibia (Scarlett, centre)

What’s the most ridiculous programme that Channel 4 has ever made? Sex Box? The Execution of Gary Glitter? Extreme Celebrity Detox? Whatever, The British Tribe Next Door is up there vying for supremacy.

What’s the most ridiculous programme that Channel 4 has ever made? Sex Box? The Execution of Gary Glitter? Extreme Celebrity Detox? Whatever, The British Tribe Next Door is up there vying for supremacy.

The Moffatt family, from Bishop Auckland, have travelled to Otjeme in Western Namibia for a month, to live alongside the semi-nomadic Himba tribe. This is because Scarlett “Gogglebox” Moffatt – daughter of Mark and Betty and sister of Ava-Grace – is about 12 percent of a celebrity. They won’t be living in the Himba’s distinctive huts, but instead in a perfect replica of their own two-storey house from County Durham, filled with all the Moffatts’ favourite trinkets and gadgets.

There was some sleight of hand here, because it was impossible to see how this house could have been assembled in Namibia’s semi-desert. The Himba have to walk miles to a dried-out waterhole, then shovel out buckets of sand until they find a teaspoonful of water, but the Moffatts have their water “trucked in” so they can have baths and a dishwasher. Incredibly, they also have wifi, presumably so they can watch All 4.

The Moffatts are extremely boring, but their contact with the Himba sparked some chucklesome moments. The Himba, though flabbergasted by this ludicrous antisocial experiment – I hope they’re being lavishly paid – maintained a laconic detachment. “Why would they want two floors?” queried herdsman Mboke, studying the Moffatts’ laughably incongruous dwelling. “What kind of crazy person would sleep up there?” “They’re washing things that are clean,” pointed out Ueripanga, one of the Himba women, as Betty loaded her washing machine.

The main objective was to get Scarlett to babble to camera about her body-image neuroses. Crunch time came when Kandisiko and Kaitawa (pictured above left) urged her to wear their tribal dress, which meant Scarlett would have to get her boobs out. She tried to get away with it by wearing a swimsuit, but the Himba were unimpressed, insisting that Scarlett has a beautiful body which she shouldn’t be ashamed of. “When did you see the Himba wear a T-shirt?” demanded Kandisiko. “It’s strange what you can learn from people who are so different from you,” sobbed Scarlett, though it wasn’t clear if these feelings were reciprocated.

The main objective was to get Scarlett to babble to camera about her body-image neuroses

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