Moffatt investigates Tourette syndrome

Scarlett Moffatt
Scarlett Moffatt Image credit:

Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt has spoken candidly about a health problem related to her new documentary exploring Tourettes syndrome.

Next week’s film, Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery, sees Moffatt visiting people around the country trying to find out what causes the condition which affects over 300,000 individuals across the UK.

Scarlett, 31, developed the onset of tics when she was a teenager at school, she was later diagnosed with Bells palsy.

She told Manchester News: "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."

Scarlett believes making the documentary was "probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever filmed"

Moffatt said: "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."

In the documentary Moffatt speaks to a doctor who says boys are four more times likely to be diagnosed with Tourette’s although he has seen a rise in young girls with tic disorders which could be related to loneliness, isolation and anxiety during lockdowns.

Britain’s Tourette’s Mystery: Scarlett Moffatt Investigates is on Channel 4, Tuesday July 19 and available afterwards on All 4.