Castaway 2000

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Castaway 2000
Genre Reality
Developed by Lion Television
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 60 mins
Original network BBC One
Original release 1 January 2000 – 1 January 2001

Castaway 2000 was a reality TV programme commissioned by the BBC in 2000. The programme follows a group of thirty-six men, women, and children who are tasked with building a community on a remote Scottish island.

The concept[edit]

The beach at Paible, Taransay.

Castaway 2000 is a successful British television reality show. The show follows a year-long effort by thirty-six men, women and children from the British public to build a community on Taransay, a remote Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides.

Billed as a bold experiment for the new millennium, the castaways were to build a sustainable self-sufficient community from scratch (apart from some buildings which were already there, and some which had been placed there for them). They were to grow their own vegetables, kill their own animals and become a community for the year. Candidates for the programme were selected and trained by survival expert John "Lofty" Wiseman to represent a cross-section of British society.

The series differs from some reality shows in several essentials. First, there was no supporting crew. The castaways filmed themselves. Second, there is no competition. Castaway 2000 had no prize on offer at the end of the year-long experience, in comparison with Channel 4’s Big Brother, which came along later in the year. The goal was to build a community rather than select a "winner". In this it is as much a documentary of a yearlong experiment in community building as it is a reality television show.

The series producer was Chris Kelly for Lion Television, Executive Produced by Jeremy Mills for Lion and Colin Cameron for BBC Scotland. The show began with high ratings of around 9 million viewings, but those ratings halved during the year[citation needed].

A similar program Eden, was made in 2016 by channel 4

The year[edit]

The Castaways were allowed to bring a certain amount of personal possessions with them, but some of these were dropped during an airlift and possessions were either lost or damaged. Miss Lowe was one of four Castaways who lost personal possessions they had chosen for the year when a container carrying supplies fell into the sea during an airlift.[1] There was an outbreak of flu early in the year[2] and soon afterwards they were offered antibiotics because of a nearby outbreak of meningitis.[3]

Ray Bowyer,[4] Ron Copsey,[5] Hilary Freeman[6] and the Carey family[7] left the island early. After leaving, Ron Copsey was reported to have complained about the programme's producers.[6] One of the programmes shows Ben Fogle threatening to leave.[8] Fortunately, about half way through the year a visit from friends and family was organised.[1]

The castaways, including eight children, reared their own cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens, and built an environmentally sound infrastructure including a wind turbine, hydro-electric dam, waterless urinals and long drops Living in turf covered eco pods, the castaways built a school, a slaughterhouse and erected poly tunnels to grow produce in the less than temperate Outer Hebrides. With such a large number of participants from many varying ways of life, there were many arguments on the island. One notable clash was between a family of devout Seventh-day Adventists and a gay man. To record the thoughts of the cast throughout the year, video diaries appeared. At the end of the year some episodes were transmitted live and the castaways were joined by presenter Julia Bradbury.


For most, life returned to normal after the project closed on 1 January 2001. Only Ben Fogle, who was heavily featured in the shows and comes from a media family, has continued to work in TV, appearing as a regular on The Holiday Show and Countryfile amongst others. The Stephenson family were inspired to try home education for their children.

Since the show's ending, Taransay has been opened up to tourists.[9] Seven years later the BBC resurrected the show for Castaway 2007.

The Lawsuit[edit]

Castaway Ron Copsey later indicated that he felt the production company had gone too far in their attempts to create drama for the show, including manufacturing a storyline that indicated there was conflict between himself and other castaways, but using footage that was from a conflict between him and producers. Copsey sued the BBC and Lion TV for libel, and was awarded £16,000 as restitution.[10]

The castaways[edit]

  • Ray Bowyer
  • Gordon and the Carey family
  • Liz Cathrine and Dez Monks
  • Tanya Cheadle
  • Sandy Colbeck
  • Monica Cooney (with child)
  • Ron Copsey
  • Julia, Colin and Natasha Corrigan
  • Hilary Freeman
  • Ben Fogle
  • Tammy Huff
  • Peter and Sheila Jowers
  • Trevor Kearon
  • Mike Laird (who is now a travel writer and film maker at
  • Warren Latore
  • Julie Lowe
  • Gwyneth and Patrick Murphy
  • Padraig Nallen
  • Philiy Page
  • Trish Prater (with children)
  • Roger and Rosemary Stephenson (with children)
  • Toby Waterman
  • James Roberts


  1. ^ a b "Rare reunion for island Castaways". BBC. 29 July 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Castaways adrift over flu". BBC. 6 January 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Health expert flies to 'castaways' island". BBC. 8 February 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Castaway Ray flees media circus". BBC. 10 March 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Castaway in talks after island hop". BBC. 10 July 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "TV 'castaway' complains of bias". BBC. 18 September 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Castaway family to leave island". BBC. 17 August 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Castaway heart-throb 'fed up'". BBC. 2 September 2000. Retrieved 2 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Castaway island welcomes visitors". BBC. 10 July 2001. Retrieved December 2011. 
  10. ^ "How Castaway made my life hell". The Guardian. 11 August 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 

External links[edit]