OUT OF COMFORT ZONE
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.