Northumberland couple with unique off-grid lifestyle set to feature in TV documentary

A Northumberland couple are set to appear on TV later this month – but they won’t be watching.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 17th September 2021, 9:00 am

Nathalie and Kezz Petronelli-Stone will feature in Channel 5’s ‘New Lives in The Wild’ presented by Ben Fogle.

But their off-grid and environmentally sensitive approach to life means they don’t have a telly.

"You have to be realistic, they shoot 50 hours of footage for a 45 minute show and then someone who wasn’t here edits it, it could turn out like anything,” joked Kezz.

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Kezz and Nathalie Petronelli-Stone with 'New Lives in the Wild' presenter Ben Fogle.

"In all seriousness though, they’ve been making this show for years, it’s highly regarded, with a huge fanbase looking to see lives very different from their own.

"I’m sure some people will enjoy it but I have no interest in watching.”

Kezz and Nathalie, who live near Chatton, initially weren’t keen on the idea of taking part but eventually relented and filming took place in April.

"Ben happened to be a mutual friend of ours,” revealed Kezz. “He gave my number to his producers. They called and asked if we’d be interested, we weren’t.

Nathalie and Kezz Petronelli-Stone.

"The director spent some time with us, got to know us and explained why they wanted to share our story.

"We said ‘Okay, if you promise to tell it straight and not make us out to be cut off from society we’ll think about it’.

"We have an amazing group of very eclectic friends and an extremely loyal client base from our woodland management and forestry work.

"It’s important people see that because I think considering the last 18 months, knowing that you could be part of a small community as excellent as ours might be the one thing that people actually need, and goes to show that you don’t have be isolated and alone to live a wild life. They loved that and so we agreed.”

Nathalie also had to open up about mental health issues she has had over the years.

‘It wasn’t until we started this business and built the house that I began to feel comfortable enough to find out why I am like I am and how I could better learn to live with myself,” she said.

"I was terrified the whole time we were filming as it’s weird kinda telling your story when you’re still living it, and mine changes daily with my state of mind.

"Ben is lovely and was very patient in trying to get me to talk when I really just wanted to get back to work. But it wasn’t all about that, they were really keen to learn about and share the approach we take to our work.

"We are hugely passionate about what we do and how we do it. Living within and working hands on with nature like we do is great for mental health.

"It puts your own problems into perspective when you realise how much humans take from the planet and we are still aren’t happy.

“So we try to address that, not by trying to change the world and telling everyone to do better. We try to quietly improve our own lifestyles and hope that inspires others to improve theirs.”

Their episode of New Lives in the Wild is on Channel 5 on Tuesday, September 28 at 9pm.

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