In this brand-new show, 24 ordinary Brits leave behind their jobs and their homes for an extraordinary summer, cut off from the modern world, on a remote farmstead in Devon. Together, they live by the principles of a community which rejects modern values and technology – the Amish – eating what they sow and harvest themselves and going to sleep by candlelight when the sun goes down. Over six months, they are tracked by scientists, who measure the physical and mental changes that result from stepping out of the stresses and complexity of modern life – living simply, communally and frugally without phones, the 24-hour news cycle or social media. In the first episode, our 21st-century volunteers are touched by the beauty of Devon’s landscape, the darkness of the night and the satisfaction of honest physical toil. But this new simpler life is also one in which they can’t eat what they are used to and have to make do from an Amish-style larder that is lined with tins of spam and lentils. Head of nursing Andrew and publicist Joseph try to police the very limited budget, so stocks and reserves don’t diminish too quickly. But former footballers’ PA Penny makes it clear there’s only so much pasta she and her two daughters can eat, while ex-soldier Toby finds himself enjoying catching fish much more than spending time with others in the community. As the first two weeks of living a simpler Amish life come to an end, it’s clear that the new frugal way of living is seriously stretching the patience of the new community. And when the door opens on an empty room in the farmhouse, does it mean it’s already too much for one of them?
The Simpler Life