A TEENAGER flew to Bible belt Alabama to appear in a BBC documentary the World’s Strictest Parents.
Ross Torry, 16, will be on TV screens across the country next month as part of the reality series where he lived for a week with the family who live their lives exactly according to the Bible.
Bosses from the BBC3 show spotted Ross in Southend High Street and after a rigorous interview process and a series of psychiatric evaluations he was cleared to fly to the southern US state as part of the show.
Ross, of Feeches Road, Southend, said it was a real culture shock when he arrived as he is not a practising Christian and hates being told what to do.
The former King Edmund School pupil said: “They weren’t bossy, but they were really invasive. When I first arrived they said they wanted to go through my suitcase. I said that was fair enough, but when I went upstairs I caught them going through all the photos on my digital camera. I was livid!
“There was absolutely no privacy in the house. We couldn’t even watch TV without adult supervision.”
The US family the Garnetts have two sons and a daughter and if their children are caught breaking house rules, such as no swearing, they are sent to work at the local homeless shelter.
Insistent there should be no secrets in a family home, the Garnetts do not allow locks on any doors and demand to know all of their children’s internet passwords.
Even more invasive than the family, says Ross, was the camera crew.
“They literally filmed me from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. It was relentless. One day I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, but they wouldn’t go away, even for a minute. I got really angry with them. I apologised later, but if they choose not to show that, so be it. They always edit these things to make people look worse than they are.”
On the last day Ross, who is set to start at South East Essex College in September spent some quality time with the father of the family, which he says has had a positive impact on his relationship with his own father and has cut down on the number of family rows.
“The dad took me quad biking and we went fishing ,I caught my first ever fish. I decided that when I got back I was going to spend a lot more time with my own dad.
“Since I’ve been home my family life has been much better. There’s a lot more talking going on. I help around the house a lot more than I used to and there are far less arguments.
“The weather hasn’t been very kind to us lately, but my dad and I can’t wait to go out together when it brightens up.”
World’s Strictest Parents begins in late September on BBC3.