Tough guy ( al­most) alone in the wilder­ness

Man vs Wild 8.30pm, Dis­cov­ery

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Tim Blue

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

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