Is modern life bad for us? A major new six-part Channel 4 series, The Simple Life will explore this question, following 24 Brits as they come together to live by the rules of a community who chose to disregard the majority of modern values – the Amish.
The 24 contributors include a social media content creator, a Norfolk rapper, a former soldier, twin brothers from South London and a gay couple – one of whom is head of nursing operations across three NHS hospitals and the other an ex-army media – with their two adopted children. They will be joined in an idyllic countryside backdrop by an Amish family of five from Ohio, home to the largest Amish community in the world.
The community will live off-grid on a 40-acre farm complete with a lake and a wood but without their phones, any form of technology, mains electricity or gas. They will be required to raise a barn and build a pig ark for the impending arrival of their livestock in addition to harvesting over three acres of hay – all in the traditional Amish way, without mechanisation.
The community will also need to travel into the local town via horse and cart for supplies and to trade or sell results of the cottage industries they have started. The Amish family will offer the community advice on the day-to-day lifestyle as well as guidance on how to live simply – and ultimately how to find happiness with a more humble existence.
Gilly Greenslade, Commissioning Editor for Factual Entertainment at Channel 4 said, "I think many of us have been questioning whether we’ve got our priorities right, not just in light of the pandemic, but also the climate crisis, our worsening mental health crisis and our increasing reliance on technology for everything from our social lives to the weekly food shop. By shining a light on the substantially stripped back lives of the Amish community, we hope the series will offer the volunteers the chance to be part of something truly special and re-evaluate what matters in life.”
Stephen Day, Executive Producer added, “This is an extraordinary chance to cast aside technology, social media, credit cards, fashion, news – almost everything that defies modern life – and to see what that does to us and how that makes us feel.”