If you haven’t sat down to an episode of human action figurine Bear Grylls’ answer to Survivor, then you’re missing out on some scrumptious televisual toffee. The Island with Bear Grylls is actually closer to Lord of the Flies, while Survivor is more like Lord of the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.
The gist: Bear Grylls drops a group of hand-picked British folk onto a Pacific island, armed with only basic survival tools and a set of digital video cameras. The contestants are then left to their own devices, forced to muster the moxie required to battle the elements and each other.
No eliminations. No The Island-branded junk food or spa treatment rewards. No distractions from the potential to drive each other batty.
As season four of the controversial reality series makes its way to SBS’s shoreline, we’ve collated a list of the most ridiculously entertaining moments so far.
Renowned rugby streaker goes rogue
In January 1982, then-twentysomething Erika Roe exploded into the tabloids after she ran across an England vs Australia rugby union match sans clothing. After this hilarious seeking of attention, Roe became the face of on-field streaking – a feat not many of us will ever reach (nor care to).
Obviously disgruntled with her waning celebrity, Erika, now in her late fifties, chose The Island as the stage for the comeback nobody really asked for. What better choice than a reality television show where contestants appear mostly in swimwear to remind the world of your relevance?
Harshness aside, it’s always tough for someone from an older generation to fit in with a bunch of young, hot people, so it’s easy to understand why Erika went fully bonkers and began rolling the firewood she’d collected the night before into the ocean. She was merely teaching the kids a lesson... or something.
Rob laughs in the face of drowning
The downside of The Island not boasting any off-camera production is that Jeff Probst can't suddenly appear in a speedboat with a pair of Aussie medics. So when a pair of season three contestants ended up stuck in a swirl off the camp’s shore, the danger was as real as it gets (on a reality show).
Thankfully, nobody was harmed, least of all one of the swimmers’ egos. Rob, a 36-year-old architect who’d conveniently changed careers to become a cameraman, told said he was never worried he could have met a fatal end.
Considering Bear Grylls’ impetus for The Island was to assess the masculine prowess of the modern British man - an idea that sparked a backlash due to its perceived sexist leanings - Rob could have been peeing his pants for all we know, and merely hoping to end up mates with Grylls upon the season’s conclusion.
Patrick plummets off cliff to a chorus of profanity
Ah, what reality TV enthusiasts will put themselves through. In a genuinely alarming moment from last season, 19-year-old student Patrick Dauncey fell backwards off a coastal cliff during a scavenge for foodstuffs.
The other survivors could do nothing but express deep concern via a string of bleeped-out cuss words as the young upstart fell rucksack-first from the jagged cliff face to the beach below. A 30-foot drop and an airlift to the nearest emergency room later, young Paddy was lucky to have suffered not a single serious injury.
Rumours the accident would lead to the cancellation of The Island were quashed not long after the season had ended, and it remains the most renowned moment in the show's history.
Contestants quit the show for surprising reasons
Season three saw three survivors call it quits for three very different reasons.
The least water-cooler-worthy exit was Cassie’s. She suffered a debilitating panic attack upon arriving in the unforgivable environment, proving that challenges are more attractive in theory than practice.
Riz, a 26-year-old mobile phone shop owner, ended up breaking down over the fact that this was the first season that mixed men and women in the one camp. The Muslim man felt the proximity to half-naked females compromised his beliefs.
Thirdly, Hannah, a 31-year-old former army corporal who lost her leg in Iraq in 2008, experienced overwhelming symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder during a severe storm and opted to vacate the premises.
Watch The Island with Bear Grylls on Saturdays at 9:30pm on SBS starting 3 June.
Missed the first episode? Watch it at SBS On Demand right here: