The Island


Situation

Over 5000 miles from the UK, the uninhabited island is part of a remote archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.





Climate

This year the celebrities have to survive during the height of the dry season. With next to no chance of rain fall, water is in short supply. During the day, temperatures can reach 40 degrees.


Terrain

It may look like paradise but looks can be deceiving; treacherous cliffs and headlands surround the island, occasionally giving way to sandy coves and beaches. The interior is covered with dense jungle and wet mangrove teeming with life - including insects, spiders, snakes and giant crabs.



Changes to the Local Environment

It was important that the natural habitat wasn't disrupted or damaged by the celebrities. It has been confirmed that the Island has been returned to its natural state following the end of the experiment.


Water

As it was the dry season, the island’s natural fresh water sources had dried up, to make survival possible we created two pools on the island which were lined to retain water. To avoid dehydration, the celebrities would each have to find, fetch and purify the water – over 50 litres a day in total!





Sea

For the celebrities to have a chance of survival they would have to fish for food. But rip tides, hidden rocks, stingray and stonefish mean that even fishing can be a risky activity.





Survival Basics


Water

Survival is impossible without water: the human body can survive 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. In order to stave off dehydration the celebrities would have to purify their water by boiling it over a fire.





Tools

The Celebrities were abandoned with only the clothes they stood up in and some basic tools -including three knives, three machetes, fishing equipment, head torches, whistles, a medical kit, an emergency radio and GPS spot trackers.




Flotsum and Jetsum

Scientists have estimated that there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. A huge variety of material becomes washed up on the shores of the Pacific islands every day, from food containers to flip-flops. Flotsam and jetsam provided the celebrities with a source of material that can be potentially helpful for their survival, but only if they have the wits and resourcefulness to adapt it.


Training

Before going on the island, Bear organised for the celebrities to have two days of survival training. They learnt the basics of survival, from first aid to lighting fire and water purification to the humane dispatch of animals. They also received basic health and safety and camera training so that they could all take part in filming their time on the island.


Modifications to the Island

In order to keep the celebrities safe Bear ensured that there was enough water, indigenous animals and vegetation for survival as long as they had the ingenuity to catch, kill or utilise the natural resources to last the course of the experiment. Modifications included introducing turkeys, caiman, coconuts, yucca and a source of drinkable water to the island. All are indigenous to the area.




Flora and Fauna


Yucca

The yucca plant has a carb-rich edible root, which can provide the islanders with a vital source of carbohydrate, starch, calcium and vitamin C. Each yucca root has around 650 calories. To ensure the islanders have the resources they need to survive the existing yucca crop was supplemented, but the islanders will still have to correctly find, identify and harvest the crop.




Coconuts

For the celebrities to survive they relied on the coconuts found on the island's perimeters. Each coconut contains approximately 1000 calories and over 100g of fat as well as hydrating coconut water. Coconuts can also have a laxative effect, which could prove useful for the celebrities who are surviving on such a protein rich diet!




Fish

The seas around the island have a plentiful supply of fish, from small whitefish to stingray and even sharks.


Caiman

An average sized caiman could provide a whopping 100,000 calories for the islanders if they can catch and kill one. Caiman can grow to over 3 metres in length and have a mouth full of razor sharp teeth with jaws that can bite four times as hard as a lion! Caiman are indigenous to the area, but to supplement the existing population and ensure the survival of the islanders, additional animals were introduced to the island's mangroves.



Turkeys

In order to ensure that the men and women have the resources they need to survive, several turkeys (an animal indigenous to this area) were placed on the island. They could provide a vital source of protein to the islanders, but only if they can find and capture them in the thick jungle of the island's interior.


Stonefish

The most dangerous fish in the world can be found in the waters surrounding the island. Each stonefish has thirteen spines on the dorsal fin, which contain highly toxic venom that can kill in less than two hours. Its camouflaged skin makes it very difficult to spot, and even easier to tread on!


Death Apple

As dangerous as it sounds, the death apple is one of the island's biggest threats. The poison in one tiny apple can kill. In fact, it's so poisonous even standing under a death apple tree during a rainstorm can result in the run-off water dripping poison to those below causing the skin to crack and blister.



Snakes

Boa constrictors are indigenous to the island. They are often to be found in clearings in the forest, exactly where the celebrities may be making camp. They can grow to 4 metres in length and can kill by suffocating their prey.




Sandflies

The islanders will have to do battle with one of the island's most irritating predators - the sandfly. Though smaller than mosquitos their bite is said to be four times as itchy, and to make matters worse they bite multiple times in clusters, leaving their victims with a rash of painful red welts on the skin.

Health and Safety


Before the Experiment

Health and safety of the celebrity islanders was the top priority. Before going on the island all the celebrities had a full medical and psychological assessment to ensure that they were fit enough for the physical demands of the experiment.




Safety of the Islanders

The Celebrity Islanders were prepared for medical emergencies. Qualified doctor Dr Dawn could offer initial medical support and had access to a full medical kit. In the case of serious medical emergency there was a support medical team based on a nearby island. A helicopter evacuation team was also onside - despite the remote conditions the helicopter could be on the island in 30 - 40 minutes.


Aftercare

As well as having their health and safety ensured while they were on the island, the celebrity islanders received aftercare support, including access to the team psychiatrist, medical assessment and a diet plan.





Intervention

The celebrities were alone on the island. The medical or safety team on a nearby island would only intervene in the event that they were called on or if there was a serious incident eg if the doctor in each group required medical support.



Production


Embedded Crew

There were four experienced camera operators amongst the islanders who had a specific responsibility to capture the experiment on film. They lived in exactly the same conditions as the other contributors and were part of the island community. Alongside them, ALL the celebrities had access to cameras so much of the footage you see was shot by the other members of the group.


Logistics

Capturing the island experience on film presents a huge number of challenges. Click to watch how we made Series 1 and Series 2.


Equipment

Each islander was given camera and sound equipment to properly film the experiment for television. This kit was specially modified to survive the humidity of the tropical climate and the wet conditions.