The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Paradise cost: Producers of Eden TV show post £1.7m loss

- By Katherine Sutherland

IT was billed as a radical experiment in reality TV – with a cast of volunteers shut off in the remote Highlands and challenged to create a new form of society.

But it seems that the real challenge of Channel 4’s Eden has been financial rather than sociologic­al.

For the company making the show has warned that it may go bust thanks to the huge cost of setting up a community in the wilderness under the 24/7 gaze of the cameras.

Newly published accounts for production company Keo North show it has lost £1.7 million while filming Eden, and now the company is in a row with Channel 4, demanding extra cash to cover the spiralling costs.

Keo North is a subsidiary of Keo Films – whose directors include River Cottage star and TV chef Hugh FearnleyWh­ittingstal­l.

The series, called Eden, saw 23 volunteers left to fend for themselves in a 600-acre site on the Ardnamurch­an peninsula, where the group was meant to create a new society cut off from 21st Century life.

The year-long experiment comes to an end this month – with more than half of the original cast having quit. Viewing figures plunged before the show went off air after only four episodes.

The stark financial picture is revealed in annual accounts, which state: ‘The company has reported a loss for the year of £1,748,603... and at the year end the company’s current liabilitie­s exceeded its current assets by £2,151,554.

‘During the current year, the reported loss has been exacerbate­d by a loss made on a significan­t single production.’

It is not known how the money was spent. The cast were not paid and there was no cash prize. But during filming, the crew enjoyed the exclusive use of magnificen­t Glenborrod­ale Castle hotel, 15 miles from the site.

As for the show’s set, preparatio­ns included helicopter­s flying equipment in, and building a new road and a 7ft high wooden fence around the huge site.

Security patrolled night and day and the volunteers were filmed by embedded crew, bodyworn cameras and 42 static cameras dotted around the site.

Supplies of animal feed for the sheep, goats and hens specially procured for the production were also taken in by boat.

A Channel 4 spokesman refused to comment, stating: ‘This is a matter for Keo.’

An agent for Hugh FearnleyWh­ittingstal­l did not respond to requests for comment.

 ??  ?? DIRECTOR: River Cottage star Hugh Fearnley-Whittingst­all
DIRECTOR: River Cottage star Hugh Fearnley-Whittingst­all

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