Survivor UK, the gruelling reality show rebooted by the BBC

Saturday: Survivor (BBC One, 8.35pm)
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A year before I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! became one of the most watched shows on TV, there was another reality series in which people were stranded in an exotic location and faced with a range of physical and mental challenges.

Survivor ran for two seasons in 2001 and 2002, and although it was quickly axed by ITV, it was actually was watched by more viewers than other reality series at the time, including the massively popular Big Brother.

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The Survivor format was created by Charlie Parsons and has gone on to become a television phenomenon, with over 50 adaptations around the world. It was even named Best Reality Show of All Time by Variety.

Joel Dommett and the cast of SurvivorJoel Dommett and the cast of Survivor
Joel Dommett and the cast of Survivor

Since 2017, rumours have circulated that the series would be revived in the UK, and now, 21 years after it last aired, the BBC has picked up the show.

In February, the identity of the show’s new host was revealed, just ahead of filming in the Dominican Republic.

The Masked Singer UK’s presenter Joel Dommett is the new man at the helm and he said: “A huge thank you to the BBC for trusting me with this. It’s such a hugely popular format all over the world and I’m super excited to help bring it to our sweet little country. Let the tribal councils BEGIN!”

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For those unfamiliar with the concept of Survivor, it sees 18 people from across the UK marooned in a tropical location.

After arrival, they are divided into two tribes, and compete against each other in a range of physical and mental challenges for reward or immunity.

One by one, players are voted out of their tribes at the iconic Tribal Council until the two tribes eventually merge and the game becomes a head-to-head battle. Ultimately only one person can triumph, winning the cash prize of £100,000 and the title of Sole Survivor.

Charlotte Hobrough and Jonny Gibb were the series winners back in the day, so who are the contestants taking part this time?

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First up, there’s Christopher, a singer/songwriter from Bridgend who says he has the “competitive spirit to outwit, outplay and outlast”, while Hannah, a footballer based in London is a fan of the other Survivor shows, and Lee, a Belfast boxer who says he hasn’t seen the programme before.

Brand strategist Ashleigh describes herself as a “very upbeat and positive person”, Scottish flood risk consultant Doug is hoping to put his 6ft 4in height to good use, London model Jess is looking to do something wild as she approaches 40, and entrepreneur Laurence says he has bought a flint to practice lighting fires.

The line up is completed by barista Leilani; hospitality worker Matthew; fitness instructor Nathan; surf school owner Pegleg; insurance handler Rachel; personal trainer Rach; Shai, a finance risk manager; charity founder Sabrina; professional roller skater Tinuke; network data scientist Ren; and Richard, a pension manager.

The competition starts tonight (and continues tomorrow) as the two tribes are pitted against each other in their first reward challenge – retrieving basic supplies.

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The tribes also compete in their first immunity challenge, an intense feat of endurance.

For the losing tribe, it means a sunset showdown at Tribal Council where they must vote off one of their own.

Will any of them already be thinking “get me out of here”?

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