Fat Men Can't Hunt
Four British men and women, all obese to some medical degree, go to an African desert to learn a hunter-gatherer diet and face their food addictions.
S01:E01 - Episode 1
The eight Brits arrive in Namibia, leaving their lazy fast food lifestyles 5000 miles behind them to live for three weeks with the Bushmen of the Kalahari. 17 stone Louise (clinically obese) has only once in four years walked the ten minutes to her corner shop. Here she must walk miles in the search for food. 20 stone Oxford post grad Martin (morbidly obese) quickly learns the merits of butchering the protein rich kudu, a kind of antelope, but not how to hold his tongue. 18 1/2 stone single mum Dionne (morbidly obese) is a binge snacker used to eating every couple of hours, day and night. As the detox from her western diet kicks in she’s quickly at loggerheads with the usually mild mannered 13 stone Melissa (clinically obese), who’s only passing acquaintance with vegetables back home is with the lettuce she feeds her pet rabbits. Before the Brits learn to hunt for themselves (when elephant and porcupine could be on the menu as well as antelope and guinea fowl) they will live on a predominantly vegetarian diet of nuts and berries. Under the watchful eye of nutritionist Alice Sykes and tribal elder !Amace the obese westerners struggle from day one to come to terms with a diet that they quite literally find hard to swallow.
S01:E02 - Episode 2
The Big Brits distaste for the hunter-gatherer menu turns to revulsion and, for some, a complete food boycott. There are plenty of calories in camp, mainly mounds of manketti nuts, a high protein and highly calorific bush nut that when meat is scarce can make up the majority of the Bushmen’s diet for weeks of a time. But the Brits won’t eat them – here in the Kalahari Desert a bunch of people who usually eat far too much are in the unaccustomed position of not eating enough. The Ju’/Hoansi bushmen are baffled by the Brits’ picky palates and when the virtual hunger strike sends moods plummeting and tempers flaring tribal elder !Amace steps in to beg his guests to eats, pointing out that the bush food is not poison. Combative Liverpudlian single mum Dionne is at loggerheads with Oxford-educated Martin until mutual self-interest bonds them in the search for a new source of food, grubbing underground for the potato-like Shah and walking miles to set traps for Guinea fowl and Steenbok, an African antelope. But as exhaustion and hunger kick in, both start to question the point of expending energy trying to catch food they don’t believe they’ll want to eat. Then elephant appears on the menu...
S01:E03 - Episode 3
The naive Brits have the stuffing knocked out of them as they confront the reality of life in the Kalahari bush. The tough lessons of hunter-gathering prove too much for some and just half way through the experiment eight are about to become five. Oxford grad Martin, an even-tempered software developer at home, in Namibia finds himself hungry, disillusioned, and verbally violent. Facing his food demons has made him mad with rage and in a hunger-fuelled diatribe lasting a whole day he attacks everything about the bushmen’s way of life, deeply offending the tribes people and dividing his fellow Brits. Comprehensively insulted by his venomous assault the Ju’/Hoansi Bushmen twice threaten to walk out. But frightened by his lack of control it is Martin who leaves, swiftly followed by two more of the male Brits. In general it’s the women who are faring best in the new environment, even when the screws are turned with a move to a new camp – richer in game, but even more remote and precarious. As the only man left standing it’s up to Mike to carry the burden of hunting for what’s left of the group.
S01:E04 - Episode 4
Two weeks into the experiment in living by a Palaeolithic diet the remaining Brits are starting to get to grips with the demands of the hunter gatherer lifestyle. The women have outlasted and outshone the men in their adaptation to the rigours of bush life, and their success in trapping now regularly puts game birds Guinea Fowl and Franklyn on the menu. But the already diminished team is dealt another blow with the emergency evacuation of 24 year old Melissa, airlifted out of Namibia with a suspected deep vein thrombosis. It is left to the remaining four to finesse the essential bush art of eating whenever and whatever is on offer - even when that's Africa's largest rodent, Porcupine. King Rat is prized not just for its meat but its decorative quills, and the dangerous and bloody underground battle required to secure it makes 21 year old Beth and 22 year old Louise at last willing to confront the brutal reality of where food comes from. In the meantime it's up to Mike, the 25 year old housing officer from Cardiff, to uphold British honour on the big game hunt. But before he can hunt his arrows must be tipped with poison harvested from the larva of the African Leaf Battle. Just three of the deadly grubs are enough to kill a giraffe, and Mike is understandably nervous. As the experiment draws to a close nutritionist Alice Sykes can reveal the now not-so-big Brits' progress in weight loss and reduction in BMI, but for most the biggest revelation by far is the huge increase in confidence the experience has given them. They bid farewell to the Ju'/Hoansi bushmen who have been their hosts and teachers and return to the UK, determined to put their previously morbidly dysfunctional relationship with food behind them for ever.