Bear Grylls: I want to do The Island with women

After negative press about his new male-dominated Channel 4 survival show, the adventurer says he's keen to do a female-only version


New Channel 4 show The Island with Bear Grylls sees 13 men from all walks of life attempting to survive with no modern amenities, no smartphones or microwave meals and no food, water or guidance for an entire month.


While the show has received a barrage of criticism from female survivalists, who claim it is sexist, Grylls maintains that it wouldn’t have worked if women were involved.

“It would be weird to have women in [this show],” said Grylls.

“I wanted to do a study of masculinity, of man, of what the struggle is for modern men. What I’d love to do next is exactly the same with women.”

“I think there is an equally big challenge in what makes a modern day, empowered strong woman.” 

The idea that “Bear doesn’t think women can survive as well is ridiculous,” affirmed the action man at the screening of his new show, which sees a hairdresser, engineer, camera man, farmer, sound recordist and IT trainer, among others, put their survival skills to the test as they try to make it off the island alive.

“[The Island] is nothing to do with whether women are stronger or men are stronger,” continued Grylls. “This is about modern man’s struggles. I can’t wait to do modern women’s struggles.”

Grylls was not interested in mixing men and women together on the island, either. “It’s then not a study of modern man, it becomes love on an island,” he said.

After a minimal one-day survival course, the men arrived on the tropical island by boat with just the clothes they were wearing, a few knives, cameras for filming, and one day’s worth of water.

“I find people talking on the street a lot, saying ‘my man’s emasculated’ so I thought, let’s push people and find some accelerated answers, through hardship,” said Grylls.

“With these guys [from The Island] it was all [bravado] to start with and then they figured out that, actually, we’ve got to look after each other, because [one man] just hurt his foot, [one man is] dying, you know. With women it would be different, not better, not worse, but different.”

As the story unfolds, Grylls is able to relay the real struggles a modern man faces, and also the strength that modern men have hidden within. “What I learned is that the strengths are there, you just have to dig a bit,” said Grylls.

Watch The Island with Bear Grylls at 9pm on 5 May on Channel 4 


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