Stacey Dooley meets 'incredibly bright' YouTuber, nine, with collection of 36 guns



Having picked up her first gun aged two, Autumn Fry is a truly disturbing image of American life. Now nine, she has 36 of her own – and reviews semi-automatic weapons for 200,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, Autumn’s Armory.

And after roaming from state to state in a motor home, her gun-loving parents Randy and Lindsay finally decided to settle the family in Oklahoma because of its relaxed firearms laws.

The gun culture they represent is an aspect of American life many Brits find shocking and difficult to understand.

And that’s exactly why Stacey Dooley wanted to get to know the family when she travelled Stateside for her latest series of Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over.

Describing Autumn as “really charismatic and incredibly bright”, she says: “She’s super-switched-on and, at times, you almost forget you’re talking to a pre-pubescent child. She’s not even 10 but having lengthy discussions about what guns mean to her and why they’re such a massive part of her life and culture.

“I fundamentally disagree with America’s relationship with firearms. But at the end of the day, she’s nine and I’m not there to give a child a hard time. We’re there to truly understand why there are families like hers in America and to try and see life through her lens.

Autumn Fry
Autumn Fry owns 36 guns at the age of nine ( TV GRABS)

“I think a lot of us Brits have a hard time understanding this love affair between Americans and their guns.

“We’ve seen that guns can cause so much devastation and we’ve seen time after time that children have had their safety in school compromised.

“So, from our perspective in the UK, we’re thinking, ‘Why don’t you just do something quite radical? Why don’t you look at gun reform?’ But for lots of Americans, it’s a massive part of who they are and it’s about identity and it’s so enormously important to them. I like to have discussions because I’m interested to see things from a different perspective.

“But I don’t like it when it’s the same rhetoric. For example, when people say it’s their Second Amendment right. You want it to go past those soundbite headlines.”

The three-part series shows 35-year-old Stacey spending a weekend with different families, sharing their homes while exploring their ­attitudes to various issues.

Autumn Fry
She reviews semi-automatic weapons on her YouTube channel ( INSTAGRAM)
Stacey Dooley
Stacey described her as “really charismatic and incredibly bright” ( UKTV)

And as well as Autumn, fans will see her meet a transgender mother and father who, along with their two boys, have had to adapt to a seismic shift in the family unit, plus an interracial married couple with a 37-year age gap whose relationship triggered a wave of hate.

“I don’t think there are many series like Sleeps Over” says Stacey. “It’s because we genuinely stay there and immerse ourselves with the family, which changes the dynamic.

“The process gets put on fast-forward, as you start off having these candid conversations, then you’re having to sit down for dinner together or asking them how to use their shower, or having to sneak past their bedroom when you need the loo at 3am. So you get a wider understanding of who they are quicker, as opposed to interviewing them in a neutral space.”

Stacey was pregnant when she filmed the series last summer and recently gave birth to her first child, daughter Minnie, with ex-Strictly Come Dancing pro Kevin Clifton, 40.

The three-part series shows 35-year-old Stacey spending a weekend with different families
The three-part series shows 35-year-old Stacey spending a weekend with different families ( UKTV)

After meeting Autumn, she went to Virginia and stayed with transgender couple Mya and Kennedy Power.

Kennedy transitioned to a man shortly after giving birth to their boys, now 11 and nine. Around the same time, Mya transitioned to a woman.

“I just found everything they had to say super-insightful,” says Stacey. “I found them really generous with what they were willing to offer because a lot of it is deeply personal and we know that sometimes the conversation around the trans community is weaponised against them.”

Stacey’s next stop was Georgia. Cheryl McGregor, a grandmother of 17, wed Quran McCain in 2021 – when she was 61 and he was 24. They met when he was 15 and started dating eight years later.

Stacey says: “I was looking forward to meeting them because I’d seen them on TikTok, so I already had an understanding of who they were as people. They definitely didn’t disappoint! It’s fair to say that weekend was perhaps our most chaotic!” she teases, admitting she was surprised by some of their more explicit videos for OnlyFans.

Stacey also meets with a transgender mother and father who had to adapt to a seismic shift in the family unit
Stacey also meets with a transgender mother and father who had to adapt to a seismic shift in the family unit ( UKTV)

“We were there when it was Cheryl’s birthday, so there was lots going on. Of course, there are times when I don’t quite understand the situation, but they were a good Sleeps Over couple.”

The Sleeps Over series is just the latest in a string of hits for Stacey. The Luton-born presenter has become a key player in investigative journalism, launching her career when she travelled to India for the BBC Three series Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts in 2008.

With subjects since then ranging from sex offenders to war and domestic violence, her films have been praised for heir relatable style, compassion and candid questioning.

In 2018, she received an MBE for her services to broadcasting.

And with the format of Sleeps Over proving such a hit, fans are now keen to see how the US series compares with the UK version. “I love filming with all families but I think there’s a slightly different dynamic when you go to America,” says Stacey – who reveals her daily home comfort while filming was a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

“I find Americans are much more willing to tell you exactly what they think. They self-edit less and they’re less concerned about how they’re going to come across.

“Brits can hate the idea of saying the wrong thing but Americans are a lot more up-front – which is a gift when you’re making a documentary.”

  • Stacey Dooley Sleeps Over USA lands on W and UKTV Play on Wednesday, February 22.

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