Lenny Henry, Samantha Womack, Reggie Yates and Angela Rippon in Famous, Rich And In The Slums With Comic Relief

by Lisa McGarry

Lenny Henry, Samantha Womack, Reggie Yates and Angela Rippon experience unimaginable poverty as they spending a week living it for real in this ground-breaking, two-part documentary for Comic Relief.

All four agree to swap their lives of privilege and luxury for life in Kibera, reportedly Africa’s largest slum. In this first programme, they are stripped of all their possessions and given just £1.60 to buy the basics, before moving into cockroach-ridden individual shacks where they will live on their own for the first three days and nights.

Lenny has been on countless trips to Africa for Comic Relief and witnessed poverty first hand. But nothing could have prepared him or the other celebrities for the heartbreaking reality of actually living in and surviving in the slums. Lenny says: “Living in Kibera was unlike anything I’ve ever seen or experienced before. It was, without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do and has completely changed my life. It was an incredible journey, and I’ll never forget it.”

While Lenny, Samantha and Angela haggle to buy basics such as toothpaste, Reggie decides to spend his limited budget on trying to escape his new reality for a while by watching a football match, crammed into a tiny shack in with other fans. But the victory of the game is short-lived as Reggie needs to get to work. He bags himself one of the highest paid jobs in the slums … emptying raw sewage from the public pit latrines through the night.

Lenny pays his way by making and selling samosas on the streets of the slum but agonises over whether to take his daily wage, which his boss could spend on vital medicine for his sick child. Samantha gets a cleaning job in a clinic where she witnesses shocking and emotional scenes, while Angela joins a queue of women from the slum offering to wash clothes in the affluent areas of Nairobi. She works so hard her hands are red raw, all for just £1.60. Soon, she discovers the shocking reality of the choice her colleagues must make if they don’t get picked for a job.

Thursday 3 March
9.00-10.00pm BBC ONE