For five seasons Bear Grylls has been dropping groups of ordinary people onto an uninhabited island in the Pacific. With nothing but their wits, some basic training and minimal kit, they must survive for five weeks.
Pitting people on average salaries of £100,000 against people earning below the national average was always going to be explosive viewing, but with snobbery rife, romances blooming and a division of camps, this could be the best series yet.
Group 1 (Earning circa £100,000 salaries)
1. Dr. James Gill, 33, GP and lecturer from Warwickshire
Poor old James, he tries so hard, and with his own brand of songs aimed at finding termite mounds we’re sure he’ll be a smash hit after the show ends. Other skills include finding disgusting unlabeled, un-fizzy drinks and decapitating snakes.
2. Danni Davis, trained camera operator embedded in the group
3. Nathaniel “Tan” Avital, 27, Donor Manager from Cambridgeshire
We’re not sure what a “donor manager” is but with the potential for a six-figure salary, sign us up. Tan has taken things in his stride on the island so far, remaining calm around the divas and drama queens of the group. In an interview with The Shropshire Star, he described meeting Bear Grylls as “one of the highlights”. Some people are that easy to please.
4. Ali Brookes, 29, gynecologist from London
The qualified doctor of the group, Ali has been, at times a voice of reason, though not without her fair share of snobbery. A hard worker in the group, since leaving the island (in real life, not the series as yet) it’s clear that she’s been bitten by the travel bug and is now off travelling the globe.
5. Lorna Kerfoot-Brown, 50, semi-retired lecturer from Harrogate
Up there with the group of no nonsense-takers is Lorna, and it’s no surprise that she has so much get up and go when you consider that she beat cancer six and a half years ago. She’s here for the long-haul and was part of the delegation of the rich group to visit the poorer camp with supplies. A good egg.
6. Sam Wilkinson, trained camera operator embedded in the group
7. Shereen Saleh, 48, GP from Gibraltar
“Queen Shereen”, as she’s been dubbed, is often found wandering around in all weathers in a skimpy cut-out swimming costume. She has opinions and she’s not afraid to share them: with her words, looks or in any other way for that matter. Taking an openly hostile approach to the poorer team members she has given numerous scathing interviews on the subject. That she has a 1 star review on RateMD.com will come as no surprise.
8. Barnes Thomas, 32, Art dealer, Cornwall
You could say Barnes’ preparation for The Island was a little lacklustre, packing a velvet coat with the belief that the trip was going to be like going on “a beach holiday”. He ended up with the wrong suitcase, full of women’s clothes. Despite growing up on farm, Barnes has absolutely no survival or outdoor skills, making his stay on the island that much more entertaining.
Group 2 (Earning below the national average)
1. Phil McRae, 29, Glazier from Peckham in London
Unlikely lothario Phil was the self-proclaimed group leader for the first episode until he was usurped by his now paramour Laura. A strong character, he likes to graft and to make sure everyone else is grafting too, and if they’re not, they’d better watch out.
2. Sammy Day, 24, Graduate from Guildford
With her mermaid-like blonde locks and perky pink clothes, this intrepid back-packer and graduate has a feisty nature and is the first person to call someone else out if she disagrees with what they’re saying. Initially getting on Phil and Laura’s bad-side, she seems to have settled into the groove of island life.
3. Erance, 31, Stay at home dad from Leeds
Oh Erance, we hardly knew you. After the guilt of decapitating a snake for the good of the camp (snakes have not had a good time of it in this season) proved too much for mysterious Erance, he was the first to depart the island. Bon voyage.
4. Mercedes Pidgley, 27, Receptionist from Surrey
Who’d have thunk it. A member of the poor team, buddying up with a member of the rich team…As unlikely as it sounds, in ways that we have yet to see, Mercedes and Barnes are destined to become “friends for life”. Mercedes, another strong personality in the group, along with Tan has called out the show for its use of editing to make things appear more dire than they really were. Well, that’s entertainment for you.
5. Laura Spence, 28, Nurse from Newcastle
Geordie Laura has had enough of the group’s discord. After a bad night where the fire went out and two of the group lapsed on their duties, a meeting was called and she was unanimously voted the group’s leader. Under her strong leadership hopefully we’ll begin to see a more united and harmonious team.
6. Ben, 37, Steel worker from Newhaven
Ben has always been one to grumble and often times has caused friction in the group, especially with Phil and Laura over distribution of work. So, when the two teams parted ways (Ben and Sammy having slept in the bed that the rich team had constructed during a tropical storm, causing a huge rift) it was bound to become a heated environment in the “less well off” camp. However, having providing the group in their first proper meal, in the form of an iguana, let’s hope that under Laura’s watchful eye, Ben keeps up the team spirit.
7. Brigid McFall, trained camera operator embedded in the group
8. Stevey Jones, trained camera operator embedded in the group
The Island with Bear Grylls is on Channel 4 on Mondays at 9pm and is also available on All 4.