The Island with Bear Grylls 2017: Meet the contestants

The Island with Bear Grylls 2017: Meet the contestants

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Wednesday, 19th April 2017
(L-R) Richie, Emma F, Kathryn, Emma M, Freddie, Ben M, Jordan, Ben C (Credit: Channel 4)

The Island with Bear Grylls returns this spring with a new twist to test the castaways in the ultimate survival challenge.

Armed with some survival training, the clothes they stand in, filming equipment, medical supplies, some basic tools and fishing equipment and enough water for 24 hours, the islanders will be forced to fend for themselves in the outdoors as they face dehydration, hunger and severe weather conditions during storm season.

The six-part series will have a new twist as two groups from different generations will be dropped on a pair of neighbouring islands without the knowledge of the other.

This islanders come from a range of backgrounds and careers, including an electrician, a florist, a shop owner, a retired police officer, a gap year student, a businessman and a Detective Constable among others.

Each group has one medic and two trained crew who film life on the island, living in the same conditions within the group.

“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," said Bear Grylls. "Every hour brings a fresh twist and turn. And it's a full-on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual assault."

The Young Group

Freddie Wilson (left) and Jordan Turner (right)

Freddie Wilson, 18, gap year student from Argyll

Gap year student Freddie is the youngest Islander ever at just 18 years old, who decided to push himself to do The Island with Bear Grylls after feeling unchallenged in his gap year and wanting to make his family proud. 

He describes himself as "smiley, optimistic and upbeat" and hopes his positive attitude and experience working on his family’s farm in the Scottish Highlands will help him along the way.

Jordan Turner, 23, Graduate from Hertfordshire

Lover of the outdoors Jordan has always been a fan of The Island with Bear Grylls and has watched it religiously since the first series. 

After completing her Masters in Oceanography, she struggled to find a job after her graduation and, with the added pressure of friends and family constantly asking her what she was planning to do with her life, she lost some self confidence and decided to apply for the series.

"I want to get my confidence back and I need some direction in life," said Jordan ahead of the survival challenge. 


Kaggy Burn (left) and Ben Cooper (right)

Kaggy Burn, 23, Events Manager from Swindon

Self-confessed social media addict Kaggy wants to be taken completely out of her comfort zone and have a once in a lifetime experience.

Without her phone and determined to take on the challenge of The Island with Bear Grylls, ‘I’m more capable than people think I am," she said. "I want to prove that to other people and myself.

Ben Cooper, 29, Electrician from London

Cockney Ben sets foot on the island with complete confidence in his abilities, stating, "I will eat the island for breakfast."

Ben has a strong work ethic, starting work at the age of 15 and hopes his practical skills and fishing expertise will transfer to The Island with Bear Grylls.

"I want to have a caveman experience; every man has an inner survivor and I want to test mine," he said. "Quitting is the last thing on my mind. I’ve never quit anything in my life."​


Emma McFarlane (left) and Ben M (right)

Emma McFarlane, 30, A&E Doctor from Buckinghamshire

Emma is the medic for the young group, who craves a new adventure away from technology and immerse herself in the outdoor experience.

"I really love adventure and the outdoors but the idea of having some time away from modern day living really appealed," she said.

Emma said she is "able to laugh through hardship" and stay calm in emergencies but has a very competitive nature that will surely come out during her time on the island.

Ben M, 26, Video Editor from London

Ben is keen to learn survival skills and hopes his experience The Island with Bear Grylls will help him appreciate life and those around him more.

He hopes to find more about himself during the experience, saying, "You only really find out about yourself when you’re pushed to the edge."

Not one used to taking orders, Ben is likely to rebel against anyone bossing him around.


Emma Findlay (left) and Richie Carr (right)

Emma Findlay, 29, Camerawoman from London

Camerawoman Emma thinks the experience will be an amazing opportunity to take on before her 30th birthday and before she starts to settle down and start a family with her boyfriend.

Emma has a background of working in extreme environments, such as filming in temperatures of minus 27 degrees in Finland.

She describes herself as a positive and outgoing person, "I say yes to challenges! I was turning 30 and it’s such a great opportunity."

She does, however, admit to getting grumpy when hungry which could be an obstacle to overcome on the island.

Richie Carr, 30, Cameraman from London

Richie has been trained in the military and wants to put himself to the test again with this latest challenge.

With the mentality of "what you see is what you get", Richie thinks being able to understand people and their emotions will be his most useful skill on The Island with Bear Grylls.

He said, "My military background will bring a sense of leadership and clear direction."


Jacqueline Redgard (left) and Frank Rothwell (right)

Jacqui Redgard, 50, Detective Constable from Oxfordshire

With 25 years of experience in the police force, Jacqui states, "I’ve got to the ripe old age of 50 but there’s life in the old dog yet!"

Jacqui is a firm believer that kindness conquers all and sees herself as being able to work well as part of a team due to her calm demeanor and experience in her high-pressured career.

Frank Rothwell, 66, Businessman from Oldham

Family man Frank has sailed around the world in his yacht and is keen to add The Island with Bear Grylls to his long list of escapades.

He is the oldest Islander this year at 66 years old but is in no hurry to slow down, saying "later in life I don’t want to be in my rocking chair thinking I could have done that, I shouldn’t have done that. The Island is an opportunity you can’t buy."


Karen Bretagne (left) and Jager Docherty (right)

Karen Bretagne, 50, Shop Owner from Devon

Shop-owner Karen hopes The Island with Bear Grylls will finally be her chance to experience an adventure and rediscover herself, who works seven days a week and is a people pleasing mum. 

She lists her best traits as truthful, funny and a hard-working spirit, she said, "The Island with Bear Grylls has come at a great time; I’m seeking adventure and not pleasing anyone anymore.’

Jager Docherty, 37, Florist from London

Florist and alpha male Jager wanted the opportunity to go back to basics and escape the hectic London life, viewing this as "an experience of a lifetime". 

Jager's tough upbringing and being one of five siblings has equipped him well for life on the island.

He describes himself as "an efficient doer" and feels The Island with Bear Grylls is a great opportunity to inspire his three children with his positive attitude to life.


Jane Gates (left) and Aran Blunden (right)

Jane Gates, 49, Retired Police Officer from Northumberland

Former police officer Jane has found retirement a difficult adjustment, "my nickname was GI Jane, now it’s just Jane. There’s got to be more to life than housework." 

Jane is resourceful, practical and has some fishing experience up her sleeve which will come in handy on the island, as well as her many skills from her police force days such as playing arbitrator.

Aran Blunden, 42, Paramedic from Surrey

Medic for the older island, alopecia sufferer Aran sees the experience as a huge opportunity, he said, "I want to prove to myself and to people around me that I can commit to something and see it through to the end."

Adventure seeking Aran has already climbed Kilimanjaro, and he is more than willing to play the role of mediator in the group.


Steph (left) and Phil Coates (right)

Steph, 35, Camerawoman from London

Outdoorsy Steph is particularly curious to see how she will respond in a remote island situation and hopes to bring a different skillset to the camp.

The experienced camera operator said, "I’m a feral little creature, I like being self-sufficient when I can, and love the thrill of being able to look after myself in the great outdoors. I’m a great adventurer by heart."

Phil Coates, 50, Cameraman from Yorkshire

Phil has worked as a camera operator in the industry for 25 years and has worked in extreme environments around the world, from the Arctic to the jungle.

Describing himself as "a genuinely nice bloke", Phil is excited to go back to basics and thrive on the feeling of being immersed in nature, hoping it will be "an enlightening life experience."

(L-R) Jacqueline, Phil, Jager, Steph, Bear, Aran, Jane, Frank, Karen

The Island with Bear Grylls will be broadcast later this spring. 

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The Island with Bear Grylls returns this spring with a new twist to test the castaways in the ultimate survival challenge.