Escape to the Legion with Bear Grylls
About the Show
Bear Grylls heads to the Sahara with 11 volunteers to find out what being in the French Foreign Legion is really like
Series 1 Summary
For generations the French Foreign Legion has been romanticised as a refuge for men seeking a second chance in life. But what is it really like?
Bear Grylls sets off for the Sahara desert to find out. Along with 11 other volunteers, from ex-criminals to struggling businessmen, Bear puts himself through a month's brutal training at an ex-Legion fort in the Western Sahara that is designed to replicate the rigours of the Legion's own basic training.
The recruits discover the truth behind the Beau Geste image about the unique military culture that makes the Legion among the toughest fighting forces in the world.
In the scalding heat of the desert it becomes apparent that many of the men fall short of the physical and psychological qualities they need to survive their training.
Bear's job is to get them all through intact. The trainers have other ideas. It's a rude awakening for the new arrivals, as they endure physical breakdown, mental exhaustion and torturous sleep deprivation.
Within 24 hours, one recruit bails out, another ends up in hospital and the rest face the terrible prospect of an agonising climb up a wall of scorching sand.
Three days into legionnaire life, the recruits are wishing they'd never been born. The ex-legionnaires running the training are determined to break the volunteers both physically and mentally before rebuilding them as fighting machines.
There's no room for weak links and Sergeant Ferguson is gunning for Lee when the teenager is rushed to hospital with what the sergeant believes is a fake back injury.
Ex-drug and drink addict Stephen is also high on the hit list for his constant moaning, and even Bear is punished for a minor misdemeanour by being buried up to his neck in sand.
Halfway through the experience, three of the recruits have already left and the remaining volunteers are dropping like flies with the medics battling to keep them on their feet.
After another day of extreme punishment, Bear struggles to keep the group's morale up and to top it all there's a shock departure.
But just as the volunteers feel they can't take any more, the training starts a new chapter and the remaining recruits see another side to life in France's elite mercenary fighting force.
It's the final week of training for Bear and the other six remaining recruits who volunteered to spend a month in the Western Sahara learning the ways of the French Foreign Legion.
The rookies have come a long way in three weeks, but the constant running in the scorching desert heat is too much for debt collector Wayne, who clashes with the legionnaires and starts to run out of friends fast.
As more recruits drop out an end to the torturous training is finally in sight.
But before any of them can pass with honour, they must survive two days of training in the middle of the desert, an eight-kilometre run in full combat gear and an epic 40km march to the sea. Will any of them make it through?
Escape to the Legion with Bear Grylls synopsis
Bear Grylls heads to the Sahara with 11 volunteers to find out what being in the French Foreign Legion is really likeEpisode Guide >