CATCH US IF YOU CAN
From helicopters, to champagne, a celebrity edition of Hunted – where contestants try to outwit a team of specialist trackers – certainly lives up to its name
When ordinary people go underground for Channel 4’s reality show Hunted – in which they must try to evade capture by a group of former police and military experts – they sleep in tents, go hungry and beg, steal or borrow to stay in the game. In the celebrity version of the programme, which starts this week and will raise funds for Stand Up To Cancer, there’s lashings of champagne, helicopters and speedboats… plus an army of fans willing to help keep the seven brave participating stars on the run.
Just like police searching for real fugitives, the hunters use every resource available to them, including CCTV footage, bank account details and phone records. They intercept phone calls, search homes and grill the friends and family of those on the run. They even have use of a helicopter.
The different tactics used by the celebrities as they start their adventure in London cause some hilarity. When Anneka Rice, presenter of Treasure Hunt – a sort of forerunner of this show – straps on a rucksack and runs it feels like it’s 1982 again. Former boyband star and Strictly winner Jay McGuiness and his bandmate from The Wanted Siva Kaneswaran get their former manager to drive them to Scotland, while Made In Chelsea’s playboys Spencer Matthews and Jamie Laing fly to the Isle of Wight in a chopper before whizzing off in a speedboat.
Gogglebox’s posh hoteliers Steph and Dom Parker are more leisurely, walking to meet a friend in a Rolls-Royce before going to stay in a fancy B&B outside London where they drink pink champagne in a swimming pool. ‘The plan was to do it comfortably,’ says Dom. ‘We weren’t going to be rummaging around in hedges and walking.’ Steph agrees. ‘Everyone else ran like there’d been a bomb blast but I thought, “B****r that, I’m not getting all sweaty.”’
As the daughter of a military man and someone who worked as a PA to Britain’s top man in NATO, Steph hoped she’d have the edge on the other stars. But her military and diplomatic friends refused to have anything to do with the show. ‘We had a clever plan with friends who were in the military and people who had diplomatic cars, but they had to pull out because the hunters are so intrusive they’d have been exposing secrets,’ she says. ‘So we had to depend on lay people who were prepared to have their phones and bank accounts looked at.’
Anneka Rice, who stepped back from her showbiz career in the 90s, was determined to bamboozle the hunters from the
Along with Made In Chelsea costar Jamie Laing, he’s determined to make a Bondlike escape but the hunters are soon on his trail.
With his former The Wanted bandmate Siva Kaneswaran, he can rely on an army of fans to help confuse the pack of trackers.