Spencer Matthews set off on one of the toughest journeys of his life with the hope of recovering the body of his brother Michael, who passed away in 1999 at the age of 22 while descending Mount Everest.


In the new Disney Plus documentary, titled Finding Michael, former reality star Spencer will return to the place of his brother's death along with record breaking mountaineer Nims Purja, after receiving a photo of a body on the mountain - that could be Michael.

Despite the risk and difficulties to recover a body in Mount Everest, Spencer told RadioTimes.com that during the planning stages, he didn't consider the "detrimental effect" the documentary could have on his family if he wasn't successful in his search.

Asked if he felt pressure to bring back good news to his family during the trip, Spencer said: "Yeah, one thing I hadn't considered at all was if we were unsuccessful, that it might have a kind of detrimental effect to some people in my family. I hadn't given that a single second thought because I just thought that we would find him because that's the way I'm put together."

Michael and Spencer Matthews
Michael and Spencer Matthews Disney+

Spencer said he started to feel the "pressure" when the search began, adding: "The pressure of that certainly became something to wrangle. When people watch the film they'll see that recovering a body after 23 years on Everest is a difficult thing to do.

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"Of course there's doubt that begins to crack through the optimism, and then you begin to think, 'I've just put my whole family back into gear with the whole Michael situation and undoubtedly dredged up a bunch of old feelings about his death.' To return empty handed would be a crying shame."

In 1999, Michael Matthews became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest. But three hours after he summited, he disappeared.

Spencer has spoken about the impact Michael's death has had on his family, writing in his 2013 autobiography that his other brother, James Matthews, struggled to deal with the news.

"His loss was devastating for the family and over time this became worse because the circumstances surrounding Michael’s death have never been fully explained," he wrote.

"James took the news badly. With just a year-and-a half between them, he and Mike were the closest of friends. The loss was heartbreaking for James."

Bear Grylls and Spencer Matthews
Bear Grylls and Spencer Matthews Disney+

In Finding Michael, Spencer first seeks advice from Bear Grylls, who first climbed Mount Everest successfully in 1998, and calls upon Nims Purja – the world record holder for climbing all 14 mountains over 8,000 metres the fastest – to lead the search.

Once at extreme altitude at over 8000m, the team rely on a ten-man search crew, armed with drones and the skillset to go off the summit lines.

"With all the planning, the time and the amount of people involved in making the project, we're certainly hoping for a positive result," Spencer added.

Finding Michael launches on Disney+ on Friday, 3rd March. Sign up to Disney Plus now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month.


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