OUT OF COM­FORT ZONE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Front Page -

TODD Sampson’s tele­vi­sion meta­mor­pho­sis has been in­ter­est­ing. From ad guru on to ac­com­plished doc­u­men­tar­ian with RedesignMy­Brain, Lifeon­theLine and now BodyHack. Peo­ple’s psy­chol­ogy has thread through them all but over time Sampson (pic­tured) has gone deeper – from stunts such as getting shot un­der wa­ter to now, in the third sea­son of BodyHack, tackling more com­plex sub­jects such as emer­gency medicine in the hotly-dis­puted Gaza. Tonight is an­other com­pelling ad­di­tion to Sampson’s canon – a trip to Ethiopia. He starts by telling of our need to be­long – but it can come with sac­ri­fice, pain and blood. Tribes are held to­gether by of­ten-bru­tal rit­u­als. Sampson soon dis­cov­ers that is es­pe­cially true for women. Suri women pierce their lower lip and stretch it over time with clay plates. Some of the younger women have re­fused to con­tinue the tra­di­tion. Men show off their phys­i­cal prow­ess, hop­ing to woo a fe­male with vi­o­lent stick fight­ing. Then Sampson vis­its the Ha­mar where tat­too-like cuts made with ra­zor-blades are body dec­o­ra­tion. Bull jump­ing is an­other test. Drinking bovine blood pro­vides nu­tri­ents. Things get emo­tional when the father of two daugh­ters wit­nesses the rit­ual whip­ping of women in­clud­ing a 12-yearold girl. That is when Sampson, keen to step in to stop pro­ceed­ings has to re­mind him­self not to judge.

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