Tough guy ( almost) alone in the wilderness
Man vs Wild 8.30pm, Discovery
GOODNESS gracious me, this Bear Grylls does foolish things. One minute he is leaping from a cliff into a river below of unknown depth and peril; the next he is whitewater rafting down the river, without a raft and only an inflated rucksack to help him. It’s tough- guy stuff most of us would find totally foolhardy.
Therein lies the appeal of Man vs Wild . We are intrigued. Will he survive his four- day trek through the hills and trails of the American Rockies without so much as a pocket knife to help him, or will he more likely go splat somewhere?
Indeed the potential to come to a sticky end is a real draw, as we are led through his challenges. There’s the food left out that draws the grizzly bear; the quick sprint at night to get away; the leap into water to break the scent trail; and all the usual challenges of hunger and lack of sleep.
From the opening sequence, we know our hero is an action man. He parachutes into a harsh world and finds his way back to civilisation using techniques first learned as a former British SAS- style soldier.
After being hung up in a tree, he escapes, Houdini- like, proceeds to make a knife blade by breaking a rock, and uses it to skin a snake he catches and cooks. That’s after a tasty snack of worms dug out of the ground. Ugh.
There’s not a lot of linking explanation: it’s all down to his chat on camera to tell us what he is doing.
He must travel with a camera crew, but we can only surmise this as some of the shots would have been impossible otherwise. After a time we learn that he is not quite on his own. He has an emergency beacon to call in a helicopter if necessary, and there seems to be a monitoring base watching his progress.
A few quibbles: we never see the worrisome bear; indeed we don’t see any wildlife unless you count the few fish our man catches bare- handed in a pond, after a few tries. He gets dirty occasionally from rolling around on the ground, but often pops up clean, and clean- shaven. But at heart this is an action show, man against nature and self, just like an athlete at the Olympics. This time, though, there are scary bits that are definitely not to be tried at home.
Lean cuisine: The aptly named Bear Grylls dines out