Bare Necessities (TV series)
Bare Necessities is a 2000-1 BBC2 television survival reality show produced by Pudding Productions. The show ran for two series and can still be seen on the golden oldies[clarification needed] repeat channels.
Co-hosted by crew-cut lad's-lad Ed Hall and former commando survival expert Hugh McManners, two teams of three were deposited somewhere dire for a week, to survive, eat nasty food, and perform demanding tasks, being judged daily by Hugh for the vital points that decided which team proceeded to the five-star hotel holiday, and which remained in self-induced squalor.
The teams were job-oriented, pitted appropriately: the worthy nurses slogged it out in the Mexican jungle with the devious and anarchic estate agents; the persevering taxi drivers met the ebuliance and over-confidence of the hospital doctors on a remote Crete beach; the bland bank managers were out-classed by vegetarian, camel-head-eating students with body piercings in the Sahara, the models were screen-tested by die-hard lawyers on a Phuket desert island; the builders made collapsing shelters from Azores eucalytus trees while two warring IT specialists were kept in line by a call centre manager. And so on.
The programmes were rich with useful survival tips from Hugh, plus plenty of examples of how not to do it - and the accompanying suffering. Ed's ability to emphasise the incongruity of the various events - and the often shockingly revolting food remains legendary, and spawned many similar presenters in this genre.
But in being the trail blazer concept, Bare Necessities succumbed to television's appetite for more extreme versions of the same. It lost its budget to an ill-advised attempt to reproduce the British army's SAS selection using civilians, then with I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! saw its format turned into an outdoors reality telly arena for wannabes. Commissioning editors don't seem to understand that people actually enjoy programming that is a mix of interest, fun, humour, catharsis and even education. Bare Necessities provided all these things without the need to demean its subjects or offer enormous fees or prizes. It was good clean fun for all the family and its passing is greatly mourned.
- Bare Necessities at the Internet Movie Database
- Bare Necessities (TV series) at TV.com
- Bare Necessities at Pudding Productions
- Bare Necessities at UKgameshows.com
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