CLASS WAR ON THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS
No one wins when Bear Grylls pits poshos against proles
Bear Grylls has returned to The Island, abandoning another group of alpha-avengers and smug marathon-running self-improvers on an uninhabitable Pacific Ocean isle in a nonsensical “fight for survival”.
What is supposed to be an engaging social experiment is a nightmarish, month-long team-building exercise. Where instead of the mild peril of someone slipping after too many lunchtime wines there is the real danger that someone could actually die because Susan from accounts didn’t wash out the backend of a blowfish properly. The pointless endurance test is usually dominated by those who live by the tiresome “work hard, play hard” maxim – it’s The Apprentice with dysentery.
This series is billed as a “class war”, with those earning more than £100k rubbing up against those who earn less than the average wage. The idea being that contestants will morph into sitcom-style clichés, the poshos withering away without a wine list and the proles tearing up at the thought of a takeaway as the lipless Grylls observes them spouting useless pop psychology.
“It was like a Northern dole bus had broken down,” guffaws ruffled-haired rich-boy Barnes after he catches sight of his cohabiters for the first time. They balk at the idea of having to share anything – whether it be shelter or food – but when ribald receptionist Mercedes and Newcastle nurse Laura manage to get a fire started, they are warily welcomed like helpful servants.
This relative harmony is broken when the tired crew shuffle off to the communal shelter, leaving the monied group shivering under the stars for the night. A split between the camps is decided upon in the morning, with wide-boy Phil happy to leave the posh set behind complaining “they have no team spirit” and accusing them of the ultimate sin of being “low on bants”. As he and the gang frolic in the sea, the affluent side scuttle about dismantling their lodgings and making off with everything useful, leaving unemployed Sammy screaming at the sky about the “thieving rich” like a drunk Marxist undergraduate.
Things are far from idyllic for the poshos though. With morale melting under the sun, lecturer James heads on a scavenger hunt as the rest go fishing. Returning empty-handed, they look to eccentric James to have sourced some edible wildlife, but instead he presents the group with a half-empty bottle of Lilt that had washed up on the shore. Having been unfairly rounded on by the team, he manages to redeem himself by stabbing a snake in the head, proving his worth like a cat gifting its owner with a dead mouse.
As the two factions turn on themselves and each other, the only happy outcome that could unite them in classless comradeship is if they revolt, sacrifice Grylls to the Sun God and use his corpse as a human canoe to escape. That would be a revolution worth televising.