You have got to have something about you if you are going to call yourself Bear. It is not a moniker for an accountant or bank clerk but it certainly suits Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls, adventurer extraordinaire. You need buckets of charisma but also a liberal sprinkling of real world ordinariness to make extreme survival TV for the masses and Grylls pulls it off brilliantly. Let’s face it most of us are not going to find ourselves stranded in the Amazonian jungle but, judging by the viewing figures,millions watch Bear Grylls’ programmes just in case!
Grylls’ TV offering does make riveting viewing. I can’t imagine why I would ever need to know how to find water in the dessert, edible insects in the jungle and how to build a shelter on a dessert island but somehow, when watching, I always feel like I am learning something useful! I am greatly looking forward to Grylls’ new series which is about to hit our screens because “Escape From Hell” is about real life predicaments endured by ordinary people. Bear Grylls has recreated the horrendous episodes for us to vicariously experience whilst he attempts to survive them himself. I guess this series will finally give some context to the survival techniques he has so vividly document in recent years.
Whilst most of the extreme environments Grylls visits in his documentaries are unlikely to be on many people’s holiday wish list it is surprising how easy it is to run into trouble in what appear to be relatively benign places. I once found myself totally lost 10,000 foot up a mountain on a trail in tourist hot spot Yosemite National Park, California. OK it wasn’t quite the same thing as being stranded in the outer reaches of the Himalayas but it felt pretty scary for a few minutes. I was surprised to find my mind turning to what I had seen on TV and rueing the fact that I had set out with very little potentially useful equipment. I did not have a good knife, emergency blanket or ropes with me all of which might have come in handy. Ultimately it was another piece of kit that saved me. I reviewed my own video footage to find a way out!
Talking of equipment Grylls now has his own range of survival equipment and apparel called BG. Perhaps it would be a good idea if I invested in some of that before I launch on another national park expedition. I am sure this range will do well as it looks stylish and reasonably priced and Grylls has many followers worldwide. So much so that people even pay close attention to what watches he wears! With timepieces possessing so many functions these days I guess the right watch could prove very useful if you are in trouble. My partner’s Tissot has a compass function which has come in handy on a few occasions. Grylls’ is sporting Casio models at the moment.
Amusingly there was a real life adventure of sorts this week in London involving Bear Grylls. After Battersea Power Station had seen 5 hour queues to view the interior before the iconic building’s re-development for housing, a publicity stunt for “Escape From Hell” was filmed on the site. Grylls abseiled down the power station into what looked like a flaming inferno. Unfortunately some people thought the building was on fire and called the emergency services!