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Man vs. Wild, also called Born Survivor: Bear Grylls or Ultimate Survival, is a survival television series hosted by Bear Grylls (Full name: Edward Michael Grylls) , on the Discovery Channel. In the United Kingdommarker, the series is shown on both the Discovery Channel and on Channel 4. The series is produced by British television production company Diverse Bristol. The show was first broadcast on November 10, 2006 after airing a pilot episode titled The Rockies on October 27, 2006. There have been three seasons aired. In a special first aired on June 2, 2009 Will Ferrell joined Bear on a survival trip to Northern Sweden. Bear Grylls has signed on for a fourth season with thirteen episodes. Grylls also said he has been approached about doing a Man vs. Wild urban disaster 3-D feature film, an idea he said he would "really like to do." Ben Stiller has also signed on for an episode later this year as a possible season finale.

Background

Episode locations in Man vs. Wild (updated Sep 2008).

red – season 1, part 1

blue – season 1, part 2

green – season 2, part 1

yellow – season 2, part 2

orange – season 3, part 1
The general format of each episode is the premise that Grylls is left stranded in a region. The episode documents his efforts to survive and find a way back to civilization, usually requiring an overnight shelter of some kind. Bear also tells about successful and failed survivals in the particular area which he is in.

Each episode takes about one week to ten days to shoot. Before each show the crew does about a week of reconnaissance, followed by Bear Grylls doing a flyover of the terrain. Grylls then undergoes two days of intensive survival briefings. "I spend two days on location prior to dropping in – I go through all the safety and comms briefing as well as being briefed on local conditions, and flora and fauna by local rangers and a local bushcraft expert." He is followed on the program by a cameraman and a sound engineer, also with a safety consultant. To show various survival situations, some aspects of the show are staged. Bear Grylls said, "I suppose to bear in mind that this is a worst-case scenario show, and therefore, of course things have to be planned. Otherwise, it would just be me in the wild and nothing happening, you know, ’cause textbook survival says you land, you get yourself comfortable, you wait for rescue, you don’t do anything. It would be a very boring show. The show is how to deal if you fall into quick sand, if you get attacked by an alligator, if you have to make a raft. I get a really good briefing before we go. I know there’s a big river there, there’s gonna be a great cliff climb there, there’s loads of snakes in those rocks, watch out for an alligator. So I do have a good idea of 80 percent of what’s gonna happen." Furthermore, contrary to onscreen presentation, his movements are rarely from Point A to Point B: "We plan it, if we’re doing different locations, sometimes we’ll have to do a whole crew move and get a helicopter. Again, we’re talking huge distances sometimes. So we’ll use helis when we have to. They’ll go out three weeks ahead of me, and go, “That bit’s no good. Those rapids we thought are gonna be good are boring, but down there, it’s great.”"

Given the premise that Grylls completes the episodes unaided, the amount of help Grylls receives off-camera and during filming the show has been debated and attracted attention from the media. In the pilot episode, Grylls was made to wear a concealed lifejacket for one scene for health and safety reasons. In several episodes, Grylls has attempted many different "stunts" even though he can avoid them to display what to do if you were caught in that situation. He does not try to hide the fact that he is being aided, in fact he talks to the camera crew throughout the show and is given different items to aid in his presentation of survival.

In April 2008, Grylls and Discovery released a book that includes survival tips from the TV show.In June 2009, Grylls had a special co-host—Will Ferrell—in episode 41, the season 4 premiere called Men vs. Wild.

Episodes

There have been three seasons of Man Vs. Wild. Season four will begin airing during the summer of 2009.

Season Episodes Season Premiere Season Finale
1 – part 1 9 October 27, 2006 December 29, 2006
1 – part 2 7 June 15, 2007 July 20, 2007
2 – part 1 7 November 9, 2007 December 21, 2007
2 – part 2 6 May 2, 2008 June 6, 2008
3 – part 1 5 August 6, 2008 September 17, 2008
3 – part 2 7 January 12, 2009 February 23, 2009
4 – part 1 7 June 2, 2009 September 23, 2009
4 – part 2 6 January 6, 2010 February 3, 2010


Criticism

The show has been criticized for fabricating some of the situations Grylls finds himself in. In 2006 it was revealed that Born Survivor misled viewers into believing that Grylls was stranded in the wild alone when he was not and Channel 4 suspended the show for a few weeks. The issue of scenes being manipulated was raised by Mark Weinert, a U.S. survival consultant. He told the UK's Sunday Times that Grylls spent nights in a motel in Hawaii when he was claiming to be stranded on a desert island. Mr Weinert also alleged that a raft was put together by team members before being taken apart so Grylls could be filmed building it.
  • Grylls was shown trying to ride "wild" horses that were in fact tame, and had been hired from a trekking station nearby.
  • A scene where Grylls was purported to have escaped from an active volcano by leaping across lava, avoiding poisonous sulphur dioxide gas, was actually created with special effects, using hot coal and smoke machines
  • Similarly, it was revealed that Grylls stayed at a crew base-camp in the Costa Ricanmarker jungle, while giving viewers the impression that he was alone.
  • There have been several other incidents, including the impression Grylls built a raft "in a matter of hours with no tools". According to an adviser on the show, the raft was actually in part built by a stunt consultant.
  • This episode implied it was filmed on a small South Pacific island, which Channel 4 admitted was actually a peninsula in Hawaii, the scene of Hollywood movie shoots.


These incidents were confirmed by Channel 4, who argued that it was not a documentary, but a "how-to" guide to survival, implying that staged scenes were acceptable in that context. Discovery and Channel 4 aired re-edited episodes, removing elements that were too planned, with a fresh voice-over and a preceding announcement pointing out that some situations are "presented to Bear to show the viewer how to survive".

Realism

However, in July 2007 it was reported in the mainstream news media that Grylls allegedly received aid during some sequences of certain episodes. In response to criticism, British Channel 4 issued a statement saying that:
"The programme explicitly does not claim that presenter Bear Grylls' experience is one of unaided solo survival. For example, he often directly addresses the production team, including the cameraman, making it clear he is receiving an element of back-up."


An article on the BBC News website also reported on the sentiments of Channel 4 towards the allegations:


"The broadcaster [Channel 4] said Grylls carried out his own stunts and did place himself in perilous situations, "though he does so within clearly-observed health and safety guidelines required on productions of this kind"".



Show's response to criticism with changes

The Discovery Channel said that future airings would be edited (including a disclaimer at the beginning of each episode) so as not to imply to viewers that Grylls was left alone to survive during production of the show. Since then, Grylls has stated on camera when he has received assistance in order to demonstrate survival tactics or when he is exiting the setting for a period of time due to safety concerns. Grylls also tells the cameras filming behind the scenes footage how the film crew sometimes assists him in order to film certain sequences.

On August 3, 2007, Grylls posted on his blog that the "press accusations of motels and stagings in the show that have been doing the rounds, all I can say is they don't always tell the full story, but that's life and part of being in the public eye I guess."

In response to allegations of spending nights in local hotels as opposed to staying in the shelters built during filming, Grylls clarifies in an article in the December 3 issue of People Magazine that:

“Episodes take about ten days to tape, explains Grylls: “The night stuff [shown on camera] is all done for real. But when I’m not filming I stay with the crew in some sort of base camp." Episodes now clarify when Grylls gets support from his crew and when situations are staged, “We should have done that from the start,” he says. “The more you see, the more real it feels.””



In spite of allegations, The Discovery Channel has released behind the scenes footage showing how sequences of Man Vs. Wild are filmed. In the footage, while setting up a scene, each production crew member is introduced and their role is briefly explained, including a safety consultant who served in the Royal Marines. During the scenes, Bear Grylls tells how each crew members' role ensures his safety while he explains survival tactics. The footage includes open discussion over safety and other precautions.

The new shows and DVDs contain a notice stating that Bear will receive help from the camera crew on occasion, that he will in certain situations use provided safety equipment to minimize risks, and that he will sometimes deliberately put himself in perilous situations to demonstrate survival techniques. Bear Grylls is specifically credited as "Presenter" to highlight his role in presenting survival techniques to the viewer.

See also

  • Survivorman, a Canadian series hosted by Les Stroud with the same premise as Man vs. Wild, except that Stroud is not accompanied by a camera crew.


References

External links




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