‘Celebs never realise how tough my shows are’
Survival expert Bear Grylls on why stars struggle with his daredevil challenges, and how he overcomes his fears
His hit show Celebrity Island H has just returned to our screens for a third series, with the likes of TOWIE star Pete Wicks, controversial actress Roxanne Pallett and Spandau Ballet singer Martin Kemp joining forces to survive being stranded on an island off the coast of Panama for four weeks.
But survival expert Bear Grylls tells Closer that the celebrities – who also include Saleyha Ahsan, Montana Brown, James Cracknell, Anthony Ogogo, Jo Wood and Paris Lees – weren’t equipped for the gruelling challenges, which were filmed in May. So much so that former Love Island contestant Montana quit within days, swiftly followed by Roxanne.
STRUGGLE TO COPE
Speaking to Closer before Roxanne’s infamous CBB exit last week, Bear, 44, says, “As soon as I leave the island, there is no camera crew and it’s sometimes that shock that is so hard for the celebs. I think the hardest times for them are the initial few days, and they struggle to cope.
“This season, some really shocking things happen and it’s the toughest yet. It’s mega-hard this year. There is a shark attack involving Pete Wicks, and Roxanne Pallett has to leave the island... The celebs never realise how tough my shows actually are – they don’t appreciate it until they are there.”
Over the past decade, former Royal Marine Bear has established himself as a TV star with hit shows here and in America, including Born Survivor, Bear’s Wild Weekend, The Island and Running Wild With Bear Grylls.
He’s also developed a strong celebrity following, with A-listers Kate Hudson, Courteney Cox and Kate Winslet all clamouring to work with him. Even former US President Barack Obama trekked across Alaska with him for Running Wild.
NOT RUNNING SCARED
Bear says, “I really enjoyed the one that I did with Obama, and it would be great to do Trump next. How do I think he would get on? Well, he is a survivor, isn’t he? We have been so lucky with the celebs that we have had on the show. I love doing Running Wild because, for me, it’s all about giving the celebs who take part a real sense of adventure. They don’t need the fame or the money, they just need experiences.”
Despite his rugged personality, Bear – who is married to Shara Cannings Knight and has sons Jesse, 15, Marmaduke, 12, and Huckleberry, nine – admits he still has fears.
He reveals, “I am scared of lots of things including heights and sharks, but I won’t let that stop me! I broke my back when I was sky-diving, and it’s definitely something that’s hard for me. I have always learned in life that the best way ‘over’ your fears is ‘through’ them, and it really is. If I run from things that are scary, then the fears grow.”
● The Bear Grylls Adventure in Birmingham is now open. Visit Beargryllsadventure.com
This year’s celeb castaways With wife Shara