Showbiz / 16-11-2019

Reggie Yates on getting bed bugs in Nigeria, escaping dangerous situations and why he’ll never do I’m A Celebrity

Reggie Yates on getting bed bugs in Nigeria, escaping dangerous situations and why he’ll never do I’m A Celebrity

There is nothing much that Reggie Yates hasn’t filmed a documentary on – with his latest series on the changing times in China beginning on BBC on Sunday.

He’s confronted members of the Ku Klux Klan in America, spent time in a refugee camp, taken on the fight against drugs in Mexico and even been incarcerated in Texas, all in a bid to start conversations between viewers.

At one point, the 36-year-old – who is working on a campaign with Plusnet and Scouts to help young people get to grips with tech – was even scarred by bed bugs in Nigeria.

But, speaking to Metro.co.uk, he explained why he has never once shied away from trying to show us all another side of life.

‘In Nigeria I came back with a whole heap of scars on my head. I stayed on quite a mank mattress and as a result was left with all manner of bits and pieces,’ he told us.

‘I’ve never been one to talk down on the environment I find myself in, regardless of how difficult it is.

‘I’ve always maintained that when I put myself in a difficult situation for a documentary, I’m only there for a week or 10 days. It is life and reality for a lot of other people, so I think you have to be respectful of that, and at the same time, be thankful that you do get to leave.’

However there have been moments where he doubted himself in front of camera.

‘In the early days I used to have moments of doubt, like, “What am I actually doing this for?” but when you start to see how these films start conversations and trigger thought in a healthy way,’ he continued.

‘You realise that you need to put your ego to one side and just do something healthy in throwing yourself into something, no matter what it is, and making sure that something good comes from the end result.

‘That it’s a film that, as the credits roll, starts conversations that can actually change thought and change the way people look at an issue or themselves.’

Reggie has faced down scenarios most of us wouldn’t even dare go near, and he has put his life on the line to start conversations between people.

Shunning your traditional holiday in Majorca, he instead lived for a week on a toxic waste dump in Ghana, before exploring the slums of South Africa and exposing the dangers of drugs and knife crime in some of our biggest cities.

But has he ever encountered a situation where he was genuinely scared he wouldn’t survive?

‘Generally, no. Maybe that’s massive nativity or stupidity on my part? But as a person in front of camera, when you’re working, you have to have a sense of focus, where you’re not thinking about anything but the conversation and the camera,’ he explained. ‘Otherwise, you won’t be able to do your job.

‘If your mind runs away with you about what could happen, nothing will happen. Nothing will end up on tape. When I’m watching it back, I go “holy s**t, that was death [defying].”

‘I don’t tell my mum what I’ve done until I’m back home. That’s been the smartest way to play it so I’ll keep that going, I think.’

That’s probably best…

Although, there is one environment you can bet Reggie won’t be appearing in – the I’m A Celebrity jungle.

When asked if he would ever take part on the series, he admitted: ‘No, in a word. That’s not for me. I don’t watch the show, I probably won’t ever watch the show, it’s not the kind of programme I enjoy. It’s not something for me and I don’t see myself on it.

‘I understand the power of my platform. I’ve been very lucky to have a sustained career and to use my profile to make a lump of money doing a programme that I don’t think has much long-term personal value for me… I prefer to leverage the profile I have and the content I create, to get involved with people like Plusnet and work with incredibly inspiring young people like the Scouts and have conversations like this.

‘I think it has more value than eating a dead animal that hasn’t been cooked.’

Reggie is working with Plusnet in a bid to bring tech to Scouts, launching a digital camp at the HQ and shining a light on real issues that young Scouts care about today.

Speaking about the campaign, he added: ‘You can actually affect change with tech. And this project speaks to a lot of the things I care about.

‘What’s happening on the planet, in terms of how we feel about mental health and how much investment we currently put into it, and also what’s happening with the environment, they all matter to me.

‘I make documentaries about that kind of thing on a regular basis, and to see the kids and teenagers care about same thing. It’s just incredibly galvanising for me, which is why I got involved.

‘The fact that the scouts are moving forward and that Plusnet is helping them move forward, is huge to me.’

Young people from across the UK can also now try their hand at using their digital skills for social good by downloading their own Plusnet Hack at Home Pack: newsroom.plus.net/Scouts.



16-11-2019 11:45, source: metro, by James Foster
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