The Island with Bear Grylls

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The Island with Bear Grylls
The Island with Bear Grylls titlecard.jpg
Starring Bear Grylls
Narrated by Bear Grylls
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 5
No. of episodes 38 (as of 30 April 2018)
Production
Executive producer(s) Bear Grylls
Ben Mitchell
Delbert Shoopman
Tim Whitwell
Production location(s) Isla Gibraleón, Isla San Telmo and Isla Bayoneta, Coco's Island, Costa Rica
Running time 60 minutes (inc. adverts)
Production company(s) Shine Television
Bear Grylls Ventures
Release
Original network Channel 4
Original release 5 May 2014 (2014-05-05) – present
Chronology
Related shows Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls
Surving The Island with Bear Grylls
External links
Official website

The Island with Bear Grylls is a British reality television programme which premiered on Channel 4 on 5 May 2014. Five series have aired since 2014. Narrated by Bear Grylls, it features participants placed on remote uninhabited Pacific islands as a test of their survival skills. They are left completely alone, filming themselves, and with only the clothes they were wearing and some basic tools and training.[1] Pitched as an assessment of the capabilities of British men in the 21st Century, the first series featured thirteen male participants. Following accusations of sexism, the second series used two islands, with 14 men on one, and 14 women on the other. The third series continued the gender divide theme and featured eight men and eight women abandoned on opposite sides of a single island.

The fourth series, which aired from April 2017, focused primarily on age rather than gender, featuring initially separate tribes of older people (30 to 66 years) vs younger people (18 to 30 years). On 14 May 2017, it was announced that The Island with Bear Grylls had been renewed for a fifth series to air in 2018.[2]

On 1 May 2018, it was confirmed by Grylls at the end of the fifth series that the series would return for a sixth series, set to air in Spring 2019.

A celebrity spin off version, Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, was first broadcast as part of a charity campaign for Stand Up to Cancer UK in September 2016.[3][4]

Premise[edit]

In promoting the first series, the show was pitched as a challenge for modern men to see if they can survive when marooned on a Pacific island armed only with minimal tools and their own initiative.[5] According to Bear Grylls, masculinity is in crisis, and he is interested to see if men can survive stripped of the luxuries of 21st century living, and the show is therefore also a social experiment to see if man can recapture his primeval instincts.[6]

In the second series, following complaints about the absence of women in the first series, two groups, 14 men and 14 women, were left on two separate islands.[7][8] In the third series, two groups of eight men and eight women were left at opposite ends of the same island, with neither group knowing of the other's presence.[9] In the fourth series, there were two sets of participants of different age groups, while in the fifth series, the two groups were of different income levels.[10]

For the first series, the participants had to survive for one month. For the second series, this was extended to six weeks.

Production[edit]

History[edit]

On 23 May 2014, it was announced that The Island had been recommissioned for a second series to air in 2015.[11] In the second series, the men and women were featured on separate episodes on consecutive nights each week.

Location[edit]

The first series was filmed on an uninhabited Pacific island, Isla Gibraleón, which is one of the Pearl Islands off the coast of Panama.[12] The island has an 8-kilometre (5.0-mile) coastline, five beaches, a mangrove swamp, and is covered with jungle. The mangrove swamp is located on the east coast of the island where the men were dropped off, and the main sandy beach is on the west coast where the men set camp.

The second series used two islands in the same archipelago, the women reusing the island from the first series, Isla Gibraleón, while the men were allocated Isla San Telmo. This series was filmed in the rainy season which presented additional challenges. Isla San Telmo was used in the third series.[13] In the fourth series, a larger island, Isla Bayoneta, and a smaller neighbouring island close enough to reach at low tide were used for two sets of participants of different age groups.

Resources and training[edit]

According to Channel 4, an island that has the natural resources necessary for the men to survive a month was chosen. Additional yuca plants were planted in order to supplement the existing supply, extra animals indigenous to the islands such as caiman were also added, and a fresh water source was topped up before filming. The participants were given training about animals native to the island that are on the protected species list, and each received one day's survival training, including advice on how to catch and humanely kill caiman. The men were given machetes and knives, head torches, an initial one-day water supply, and an emergency medical kit. In addition, the participants had GPS spot trackers, and access to radio and satellite phone in case of an emergency.[14] The second series participants were given two days survival training.

Controversy[edit]

Allegations of fakery[edit]

The press made claims about fakery in the show, that the water was supplied in the island by adding a rubber-lined pool and two caiman crocodiles were released on the island, and that some of the trained crew had experience of surviving in extreme environments in the wild.[15][16] Grylls however rejected the claims, and said that it was necessary to make sure that there would be just enough resources to sustain the participants, and that caiman crocodiles were added to the island so that if the men were to kill them, the natural eco system would not be damaged.[17]

Use of wildlife[edit]

The killing of the caiman sparked a number of complaints to Ofcom.[18] A spokesman for PETA said that it showed "a deep ignorance of who animals are and a callous disregard for life", and that the ones who caught and tied up the animal "should be prosecuted". Ofcom however judged that the show did not break the rules.[19]

In the second series, there were further criticisms after it was revealed that a crocodile killed by the men was not a caiman but a protected species American crocodile.[20] Channel 4 apologised for the error and said: "The relevant national environment agency are aware of the incident and have granted a licence to replace the animal which has now been done."[21] The second series elicited more than 600 complaints from viewers (450 to Channel 4, 185 to Ofcom), most of the complainants accused the show of "killing animals to boost ratings".[22]

Sexism claim[edit]

The first series was criticised as "sexist" by female survival experts for excluding women from the challenge. Lisa Fenton suggested that it was "sexism and it's deeply rooted", and Ruth England expressed disappointment with Channel 4's decision as it "perpetuates the myth that women need to be taken care of", while Sarah Outen criticised the "male-oriented bias with adventure TV programmes".[23] In response, Bear Grylls denied that the show was sexist, and said that the series was intended as a study of masculinity of modern man and their struggles.[24] He then indicated an interest in doing an all-women version and that he "can't wait to do modern women's struggles."[25]

Reception[edit]

Reviews[edit]

Grace Dent of The Independent thought the show is interesting television as it is "an attempt to form a show around utterly normal, non-fame hungry, not particularly pretty, non-celeb males", but found the first episode to be "an hour of rather plotless bumbling and twig friction."[26] Euan Ferguson of The Observer expressed concern about the "producer selection" of mollycoddled males who might fail to cope with the wilds of the island, but thought that the participants might "make a fist of surviving, and confound a few lazy stereotypes", and that he was "semi-hooked".[27] Christopher Stevens of the Daily Mail thought that the series showed that "survival is a tough business when you've only got your wits and a sharpened stick to depend on."[28]

In the second series, Charlotte Runcie of The Daily Telegraph thought that watching people learning to "cooperate in extreme situations is always strangely compelling",[29] although Rupert Hawksley of the same paper felt that the second series, despite the presence of women, was "every bit as sexist" as the first series.[30] The participants' struggle with survival prompted joking references to Lord of the Flies.[31][32]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The first series was nominated in the Reality & Constructed Factual category in the 2015 British Academy Television Awards and won.[33]

Year Award Category Recipient Results Ref.
2015 RTS Programme Awards Popular, Factual and Features The Island with Bear Grylls Won [34]
BAFTA TV Awards Reality & Constructed Factual Won [33]

Ratings[edit]

The first series had an average figure of 3.1 million viewers per episode.[35] The average viewing figure for the second series was 2.9 million.[36]

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
Series 1 6 5 May 2014 2 June 2014
Series 2 13 8 April 2015 21 May 2015
Series 3 7 28 May 2016 3 May 2016
Series 4 6 23 April 2017 14 May 2017
Series 5[2] 5 2 April 2018 1 May 2018
Series 6[37] TBA Spring 2019 Spring 2019

Episodes[edit]

Episode viewing figures below from BARB but do not include Channel 4 +1.[38]

Series 1 (2014)[edit]

The first series was first broadcast on Monday nights.

Total No. Title Original air date UK viewers
(Millions)
11Episode 15 May 2014 (2014-05-05)2.74
22Episode 212 May 2014 (2014-05-12)2.69
33Episode 319 May 2014 (2014-05-19)2.90
44Episode 426 May 2014 (2014-05-26)2.36
55Episode 52 June 2014 (2014-06-02)2.48
66Surviving the Island2 June 2014 (2014-06-02)1.66

Series 2 (2015)[edit]

For the second series, two episodes were broadcast each week – a Wednesday episode focused on the men's island, while the Thursday episode was for the women. Due to the United Kingdom general election on 7 May 2015, only the women's episode was shown that week, and the men's episode was pushed back a week. A final special episode, Surviving the Island, followed on 21 May. The competitors remained on the island for five weeks.

Total No. Title Original air date UK viewers
(Millions)
71Episode 18 April 2015 (2015-04-08)2.28
82Episode 29 April 2015 (2015-04-09)2.28
93Episode 315 April 2015 (2015-04-15)3.02
104Episode 416 April 2015 (2015-04-16)3.18
115Episode 522 April 2015 (2015-04-22)2.86
126Episode 623 April 2015 (2015-04-23)3.11
137Episode 729 April 2015 (2015-04-29)2.90
148Episode 830 April 2015 (2015-04-30)2.68
159Episode 96 May 2015 (2015-05-06)2.95
1610Episode 1013 May 2015 (2015-05-13)3.08
1711Episode 1114 May 2015 (2015-05-14)3.01
1812Episode 1220 May 2015 (2015-05-20)2.80
1913Surviving the Island21 May 2015 (2015-05-21)1.99

Series 3 (2016)[edit]

The third series was broadcast on Monday nights, a return to the scheduling of the first series.

Total No. Title Original air date UK viewers
(Millions)
201Episode 128 March 2016 (2016-03-28)3.33
212Episode 24 April 2016 (2016-04-04)2.93
223Episode 311 April 2016 (2016-04-11)2.90
234Episode 418 April 2016 (2016-04-18)2.72
245Episode 525 April 2016 (2016-04-25)2.78
256Episode 62 May 2016 (2016-05-02)2.35
267Surviving the Island3 May 2016 (2016-05-03)1.32

Series 4 (2017)[edit]

The fourth series was broadcast from 23 April 2017.

Total No. Title Original air date UK viewers
(Millions)
271Episode 123 April 2017 (2017-04-23)2.46
282Episode 224 April 2017 (2017-04-24)1.91
293Episode 31 May 2017 (2017-05-01)2.35
304Episode 48 May 2017 (2017-05-08)2.06
315Episode 514 May 2017 (2017-05-14)1.92
326Surviving the Island14 May 2017 (2017-05-14)1.29

Series 5 (2018)[edit]

It was announced at the end of the fourth series that The Island with Bear Grylls would be renewed for a fifth series, to air in 2018. The fifth series began airing on 2 April 2018. It took largely the same format as the fourth series with two different groups of people. However, in the fifth series, the groups were made up of high-earning people (with an average salary of more than £100,000) and low-earning people (each with a salary lower than the UK national average). The competitors will remain on the island for five weeks.

Total No. Title Original air date UK viewers
(Millions)
331Episode 12 April 2018 (2018-04-02)2.93
342Episode 29 April 2018 (2018-04-09)2.64
353Episode 316 April 2018 (2018-04-16)2.50
364Episode 423 April 2018 (2018-04-23)2.63
375Episode 530 April 2018 (2018-04-30)2.58
386Surviving the Island2018 (2018)1.17

Series 6 (2019)[edit]

On 1 May 2018, it was confirmed at the end of the fifth series that the series would return for a sixth series, set to air in Spring 2019.[39]

Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls[edit]

A celebrity version of The Island was first broadcast as part of a charity campaign for Stand Up to Cancer UK in September 2016.[40][41] It was confirmed on 3 May 2017 that a second series of Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls, which would air later in August 2017 and will be raising money for Stand Up to Cancer as the first series did.

As of July 2018 two series have been made with a third in production to air in Autumn 2018.

International adaptations[edit]

The American version of the show was announced on 28 January 2015,[42] and it premiered on 25 May 2015 on NBC.[43]

The Spanish adaptation of the show, titled La Isla, premiered on 17 May 2017 on laSexta.[44]

The Dutch adaption of the show, simply titled The Island premiered on 21 January 2016 on Net5. [45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bear Grylls: 'There's nothing fake about The Island'". Daily Telegraph. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "The Island with Bear Grylls Series 5 - here's how to apply!". 14 May 2017. 
  3. ^ http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/island-Bear-Grylls-apply-series/story-29007088-detail/story.html
  4. ^ Emma Daly (3 May 2016). "Dom Joly, Zoe Salmon and Ollie Locke sign up for celebrity The Island with Bear Grylls". Radio Times. 
  5. ^ Tom Ward (12 May 2014). "Bear Grylls talks masculinity on The Island, flesh-eating killer crocodiles and Harry Styles' survival skills". GQ. 
  6. ^ Sam Rowe (1 May 2014). "Bear Grylls: 'Men want to know if they have what it takes'". The Daily Telegraph. 
  7. ^ Theo Merz (8 Apr 2015). "Bear Grylls' island: are the women tougher than the men?". The Daily Telegraph. 
  8. ^ Tom Eames (1 September 2014). "The Island with Bear Grylls to feature men and women in two shows". Digital Sply. 
  9. ^ "The Island with Bear Grylls". All 4. Channel 4 Television. Archived from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2016-03-21. 
  10. ^ "The Island with Bear Grylls 2018: Meet the two groups taking on the fierce battle for survival". Evening Standard. 
  11. ^ "Bear Grylls series The Island renewed by Channel 4". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Mike Fletcher takes part in The Island with Bear Grylls reality TV show". York Press. 10 May 2014. 
  13. ^ Phil Haigh (23 April 2017). "The Island with Bear Grylls 2017 start date, TV channel and what to expect with show's new twist". Metro. 
  14. ^ "Terms of the Experiment". Channel 4. Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Claire Carter (16 May 2014). "Bear Grylls survival show accused of 'fakery'". The Telegraph. 
  16. ^ "Bear Grylls and the survival show fakes: Four of his reality TV contestants are professionals". Daily Mail. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "The Island: Bear Grylls insists fake claims are untrue and says there is nothing set-up on survival series". Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Weekly Broadcast Report" (PDF). Ofcom. 
  19. ^ Dean Rousewell (2 June 2014). "The Island crocodile killing scene did not breach Ofcom rules – despite 93 complaints". Daily Mirror. 
  20. ^ Jess Denham (22 April 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile". The Independent. 
  21. ^ James Leyfield (22 April 2015). "Bear Grylls' The Island bosses apologise after hungry contestants hunt and eat PROTECTED American crocodile". Daily Mirror. 
  22. ^ Matilda Battersby (14 May 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls: More than 600 complaints are made about animal killings". The Independent. 
  23. ^ Choloe Hamilton (21 April 2014). "Women take on Bear Grylls over 'sexist' male-only desert island show". The Independent. 
  24. ^ Catriona Wightman (3 May 2014). "The Island: Eight things we learned from Bear Grylls". Digital Spy. 
  25. ^ Jade Bremner (28 April 2014). "Bear Grylls: I want to do The Island with women". Radio Times. 
  26. ^ "Grace Dent on TV: The Island with Bear Grylls was full of plotless bumbling and twig friction". The Independent. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  27. ^ Euan Ferguson (10 May 2014). "The Island With Bear Grylls; Blurred Lines; Billy Connolly's Big Send Off; 24 – review". The Observer. 
  28. ^ "Oh no! Now even desert islands have elf 'n' safety jobsworths: Christopher Stevens reviews last night's TV". Daily Mail. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  29. ^ Charlotte Runcie (8 April 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls, Channel 4, review: 'strangely compelling'". The Daily Telegraph. 
  30. ^ Rupert Hawksley (8 April 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls is still sexist". The Daily Telegraph. 
  31. ^ Will Dean (8 April 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls, TV review: They'd be better off with a spa weekend". The Independent. 
  32. ^ Sam Wollaston (9 April 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls review – unlike the fire, the banter never dies". The Guardian. 
  33. ^ a b Denham, Jess (10 May 2015). "Baftas TV Awards 2015: Winners list in full - Marvellous and The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies win big as Cilla leaves empty-handed". The Independent. 
  34. ^ "Programme Awards 2013 - 2014: The Winners". Royal Television Society. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. 
  35. ^ Ed Frankl (5 June 2014). "Outrage over enema scene in Bear Grylls reality show". Evening Standard. 
  36. ^ Mayer Nissim (15 May 2015). "The Island with Bear Grylls will return for a third series". Digital Spy. 
  37. ^ https://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-island/309507-island-bear-grylls-series-6-heres-apply.html
  38. ^ "Viewing data Top 30s [select appropriate week]". BARB. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  39. ^ https://tellymix.co.uk/reality-tv/the-island/309507-island-bear-grylls-series-6-heres-apply.html
  40. ^ http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/island-Bear-Grylls-apply-series/story-29007088-detail/story.html
  41. ^ Emma Daly (3 May 2016). "Dom Joly, Zoe Salmon and Ollie Locke sign up for celebrity The Island with Bear Grylls". Radio Times. 
  42. ^ Peter White (28 January 2015). "NBC orders The Island with Bear Grylls remake". Broadcast. 
  43. ^ Sara Bibel (28 April 2015). "NBC Reveals the Cast of New Reality Series 'The Island'". TV by the Numbers. 
  44. ^ "LaSexta estrena La Isla, el reality de supervivencia conducido por Pedro García Aguado". Europa Press. 16 May 2017. 
  45. ^ "ARIE BOOMSMA PRESENTEERT VANAF 21 JANUARI THE ISLAND BIJ NET5". 9 January 2016. 

External links[edit]