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Ben Fogle discusses difficulties and risks in new series of New Lives in the Wild

The TV presenter opens up about the downsides of migrating.

Ben Fogle New Lives in the Wild series 16
Published: Saturday, 1st January 2022 at 9:00 am

TV presenter Ben Fogle is returning for series 16 of his hit show, New Lives in the Wild, which sees him visiting people who have radically changed their lives by moving away from the hustle and bustle for a simpler life.

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But while migrating to a remote part of the world might seem "easier", Fogle has opened up about some of the difficulties and risks he experienced during filming for the new series.

Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, he revealed how the pandemic in particular has made migrating harder, saying: "The logistics of travelling around with COVID is very difficult."

And it's not the only issue.

He continued: "But certainly in terms of how people live, everyone has their own difficulties. Whether it's having access to water, too much rain, too much wind, too little rain, too little wind, all of those things. So I think almost everyone we went to had issues."

In episode one, Fogle visits a man named Alex, who now lives in a huge piece of land in a forest in Portugal, which is prone to forest fires.

So, did Alex's living conditions make Ben nervous?

"No, if I'm to be honest," Fogle admitted. "I think there's a risk in almost everything in life. I think if anything we've become too risk averse, and if you worry about moving somewhere because there may be forest fires or because there may be a hurricane or a typhoon, then you're never going to be able to pursue your dream.

"So no, it didn't. But I think you're very respectful of a big forest fire, which killed nearly 100 people. So I think you're acutely aware of the dangers, but forest fires are unfortunately a reality in many parts of the world now, particularly with the change in the climate."

Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild

Ben and Alex

Another danger, which Fogle says features more in the upcoming international series is healthcare.

"It's one of the big questions for many of these people. Obviously, if they live in the United Kingdom, they have access to the NHS, because contrary to popular belief, it's almost impossible to entirely cut yourself off from the monetary grid. So all these people still pay their taxes and have access to the NHS," he explained.

"Now obviously, that varies when you go international and you start going much further afield. This whole series is only in Great Britain and Europe, but we have in the past, and actually in next year's series, I've already started to go much further afield, where healthcare becomes much more of an issue. For some people, it is a risk. It's a gamble that they have taken."

This series, there's a big focus on mental health, with Ben admitting to being "worried" about Alex in episode one.

"There were a lot of people who have suffered past trauma in their life, a lot of people who'd suffered abuse as children. I think what surprised me this series was the breadth of reasons that people had embraced a new life in the wild and the diversity of issues, but the overarching unifying factor was without doubt mental wellbeing," Fogle said.

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Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild returns with a new four-part series on Tuesday 4th January at 9pm on Channel 5. To find out what’s on TV tonight, check out our TV Guide or visit our Documentaries hub for all the latest news.

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