The thrill of survival

I don’t know what it is about survival shows and films that enthralls me so much. I just love to see people tackle the most inhospitable environments, watching as they take on parched deserts and wild jungles, scale mountains and battle blizzards, all from the comfort of my own sofa.

Survival shows have long fascinated people. They draw in huge audiences and take place on a variety of locations around the world. Watching survival shows gave me the inspiration for my latest novel, Celebrity SOS, which sees a group of celebrities try to survive in Alaska.

Here are some of my favourite survival/ challenge shows:

SAS: Who Dares Wins – Channel 4 – 2015 till present

Follow a group of men and women as they are pushed to their absolute limits to survive a condensed version of SAS selection. I am in awe of the recruits who withstand some of the most insane physical challenges I have ever seen. The team of SAS trainers is led by Ant Middleton, former Royal Marine and SBS (Special Boat Service) sniper. It’s compulsive viewing and I loved the series that just ended.

Mutiny – Channel 4 – 2017

This was one of my favourite survival shows EVER! Nine men, led by Ant Middleton, have to survive the 4000-mile journey taken by Captain Bligh after the mutiny on The Bounty. They were exposed to major storms and extreme heat, having to navigate the boat as well as trying to find food and water. Ant Middleton has a Blye tattoo on his hand – he named his son Blye after he took part in this programme.

Image: Channel 4

Naked and Afraid – Discovery Channel – 2013 till present

The American programme Naked and Afraid is one of the more extreme survival challenges, where a naked man and woman are abandoned in a challenging environment and have to survive for 21 days. This one is hardcore and a lot of people drop out before their time is up. The show puts people in a variety of locations and countries too, which makes it really interesting. They’ve been left in places including Thailand, Croatia, Honduras (where I used to live!), Peru, Fiji, and Tanzania, to name just a few.

Man Vs Wild – Channel 4 / Discovery Channel – 2006 till present

Want to see a man drink his own urine, pop out a sheep’s eyeballs to eat, and gulp down fresh Yak’s blood? Look no further than Bear Grylls in Man Vs Wild. Bear gets stranded in places such as Patagonia, Borneo, Iceland, and the Sahara Desert and demonstrates how to survive in the wild. And it quite often gets pretty gross.

Image: Associated Press/ Discovery Channel

The Island with Bear Grylls – Channel 4 – 2014 till present

So far there have been five series of this show. A group of people are abandoned on an island and must survive for a length of time – in the first series it was one month, this was extended to six weeks in a later series. There were two celebrity versions of the show in 2016 and 2017. Who doesn’t love watching a celebrity stripped of all their makeup and filters and comforts and see who they really are as they seek to survive in the wild? It was watching the second celebrity series in 2017 that gave me the first initial idea for a novel about celebrities in the wilderness, which later became Celebrity SOS: Love Survives.

I’m a celebrity… Get me out of here! – ITV – 2002 till present

Mix twelve celebrities, one Australian Jungle, two hilarious presenters, a whole load of creepy-crawlies and lots of fear-inducing challenges, and you’ve got a recipe for TV gold! I’m a Celebrity has been going for almost 20 years. From the first season in 2002, the show has given us great moments of both intense drama and wild hilarity, such as Dean Gaffney’s response to his live trial in 2006. Watching I’m a Celebrity over the years planted the seeds for the story behind Celebrity SOS: Love Survives, my latest novel.

What are your favourite survival shows and why? If you enjoy survival shows and like reading romance books, you may enjoy my latest novel, Celebrity SOS: Love Survives.

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