Every opening episode of The Island with Bear Grylls goes the same way: Bear looks meaningfully into the camera and lists off the various things that could kill off the contestants (drinking stagnant water, getting stung by insects, falling off cliff edges…) before cutting to footage of the islanders doing exactly those things.
At home, it goes the same way, too. We shout at the telly, knowing exactly what they should be doing because we’re in the really very handy position of hearing what Bear says they should be doing and basically repeating that verbatim. ‘Obviously that beach isn’t the right place to set up camp, the tide will come in and wash them away.’ ‘Of course that water isn’t safe to drink, they’re going to be dehydrated in moments… etc etc’. So what that we’re tucked up on the sofa in a wearable blanket eating Wotsits? Re-route those emergency satellite phones to our landlines, we’ll put them straight.
It doesn’t take long for things to go wrong for this year’s crop either. Bear’s mixed things up and dropped a group of eight women on one side of the island and a group of eight men on the other. Neither knows they’re there, so they each set about getting on with all that survival stuff they were really excited to do.
For the women, this starts out pretty well, although their early victory is short-lived when one starts talking about quitting. The men? Well, one of them sobs as soon as he lands on the beach and they struggle to get going at all. They don’t want to unnerve this George of the Jungle any more by suggesting they get off the stretch of sand that Bear specifically told them wasn’t a safe place to make camp. I know – *wipes Wotsit off face* – it’s foolish. Foolish.
All they’ve got to do now is find another group of humans they don’t even know exist, build a sustainable camp and live off the land for a month. Easy.
And don’t fear, they’ve got a female doctor who can’t seem to tell dodgy water from the good stuff and a car insurance salesman who’s confident he can lead the blokes because he’s taken Tottenham Hotspur to the Treble twice on Football Manager…
The Island with Bear Grylls starts tonight at 9:00pm on C4