Scarlett Moffatt: Tourette’s documentary one of the hardest things I’ve filmed

·4-min read

Scarlett Moffatt said she has a new-found respect for documentary-maker Louis Theroux as recording film about Tourette’s was “probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever filmed”.

The TV presenter’s debut documentary on Channel 4, titled Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery, will see her travel around the country to uncover potential causes of the condition.

Moffatt, 31, who first gained popularity on Channel 4’s Gogglebox before winning I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2016, developed sudden onset tics when she was a teenager.

National Television Awards 2017 – Press Room – London
Scarlett Moffatt with Ant and Dec with the award for Best Challenge Show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here at the National Television Awards 2017 (Ian West/PA)

She said: “I remember being a young teen and standing in front of the mirror for hours, just staring in the mirror and trying to get my face to go straight and trying to stop the tics.

“It was just really scary. It’s scary as a teenager anyway, because your body’s changing, and you have all these hormones, but when you feel like you’re not in control of them, I just remember feeling like ‘God, is this ever gonna stop? Am I ever gonna be in control again?’

“So when I started seeing all of these articles about young girls getting sudden onset tics, and my algorithm on Tik Tok was loads of young girls with tics…I was like why is no one talking about this because it sounds like it’s a bit of a pandemic in itself.

“The big thing when I had tics was that I felt alone, I didn’t really know any other young girls with it so I just thought, at least if other parents and families and people can watch this, and realise that they’re not alone, then that can only be a good thing.”

Moffatt, who admitted she watches Theroux episodes on repeat, said the documentary-maker gave her some tips on how to be a “good investigative journalist” after meeting at a Halloween party.

Jonathan Ross Halloween party
Louis Theroux leaving a Halloween party hosted by Jonathan Ross (Yui Mok/PA)

“He was really nice and he just said that I’m very warm with people and being genuine comes across.

“He said, no matter what, just be true to yourself, then when you’re interviewing people that will come across because people can sense fakery, so just be yourself.

“I think it’s important for us to watch documentaries to know that like there is life outside of this bubble and that actually, awful things happen, and change needs to happen,” she said.

Speaking about making her own documentary, Moffatt admitted it was “really hard.”

“This is actually probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever filmed.

“Even though it’s only like an hour documentary, we were on for months and months, and then you can start with one question, and then meet someone, and then have 50 questions unanswered. So you feel like you’re constantly working at it.

“But I think for me, because I’m a people person, and I really like having a good rapport with people, it was hard making friends with people, feeling like they were someone that I could go for food with and have a chat, and then all of a sudden having to ask really challenging questions.

“But I realised that actually, it’s not about sort of digging, it’s about making sure that the viewer is understanding everything, and them being able to get their opinion across. So that was definitely difficult.

“But I watched so many Louis Theroux and Stacey Dooley documentaries. I kept watching it even on a night after I was filming because I love Louis Theroux, I mean, he’s amazing isn’t he? Even his rapping is amazing.

“And Stacey Dooley, I love her warmth, I love how she always sort of brings her emotions in, but I’m my own person. So I’ve tried to be myself, but try and like learn from them and take their bits.”

Moffatt added that she would like to make future documentaries on the LGBTQ+ community – because although things are getting better, “by no means is everything fine and dandy” – and about the stigma attached to loneliness following the pandemic.

Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery will be broadcast on July 19.

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