The Island with Bear Grylls, the ultimate survival challenge that abandons ordinary Britons on uninhabited islands in the Pacific, is back this spring

This fourth series looks at the generation gap and if stereotypes about the young and the old ring true. Who is better equipped to thrive in a survival situation?

Of the thousands who applied just 16 were chosen to take part. As they face treacherous weather conditions, severely limited resources, environmental hazards and near starvation, the two groups have a long, hard battle ahead of them.

Bear Grylls explains:

“I think it was the hardest season we’ve ever done. We had horrific conditions, beyond anything we’ve ever seen over four series of this show. Every hour brings a fresh twist and turn. And it’s a full-on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual assault.”

The Island With Bear Grylls will once again break new ground as this time we’ll discover what happens when two different generations are pushed to the very limits of human endurance. With ages ranging from 18 – 66, there are almost 5 decades between the oldest and youngest castaways.

Bear talks about the generational theme:

“It was so revealing, doing the whole male and female theme last time. One of the things I always think is that young people get a really hard time. Everyone’s got opinions about young people, and those opinions are not always great. Sometimes young people lack opportunities, but one thing they don’t lack is ambition. So, I thought, let’s see if the exuberance and passion of youth can triumph over the experience and dogged determination and hardiness of so many older people. That’s another whole demographic that everybody has an opinion about, but my experience of slightly more senior people as that they are often hard as nails.”

Bear begins the experiment by dropping off by boat our two groups from different generations on a pair of neighbouring islands. Shooting everything themselves, the Islanders will have to fend for themselves armed only with some survival training, the clothes they stand up in, filming equipment, medical supplies, some basic tools and fishing equipment and enough water for 24 hours.


Across six episodes airing on Channel 4, they will become part of a select few who get to experience what it is really like to survive on their wits and determination.


In episode one, as they struggle to establish their respective camps, the older group’s water supply runs dry. Facing dehydration, they have no choice but to find a new camp and flee their island. But will they make it to the larger neighbouring island, and what will happen if they discover the younger group?


During the series, survival takes a dramatic turn with the arrival of storm season. Facing Mother Nature at her most ferocious, our castaways have to face violent and brutal weather conditions. After weeks of near starvation, do our Islanders have what it takes to stick it out until the end?


This year’s Islanders come from a range of backgrounds and careers. An electrician, florist, shop owner, retired police officer and an 18-year-old gap year student will be joined by a hard working 66-year-old businessman and a 50-year-old Detective Constable amongst others. All the Islanders will face their own personal battles, but for some, day-to-day life in such extreme conditions so removed from modern life may prove too much.


The two groups will include four trained crew (two men and two women) who film life on the island. The embedded crew will live alongside the other Islanders in exactly the same conditions and face the same challenges of finding food, water and shelter and lack of personal space! All Islanders will be able to film in order to candidly capture the highs and the lows of surviving with limited resources. Each group has one medic in it; an A&E doctor in the 18 – 30s and a paramedic in the older group. They are the first port of call in any medical situation.


As with the previous three seasons, islanders receive key survival training prior to being left on the island. Though it has been ensured by Bear’s team that the island has sufficient indigenous resources to sustain the Islanders – it’s up to the old and young groups to use their initiative to find and exploit these resources.


However, once the young and the old groups are dropped as close to the shore of the island as possible, they are alone. Each group is provided with some basic tools and fishing equipment, including two knives and two machetes, whistles and a medical kit. They are also given enough water to last one day, and a radio and satellite phone in case of emergency.


Bear explains why he believes life on The Island can’t be underestimated:

“The Island doesn’t care where you’re from or what your job is. It just requires you to work hard and be kind to each other. People on The Island look at me a bit strangely at the beginning when I say it comes down to courage and kindness, but they’re two words that we underestimate how important they are in real life.”


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