Is ‘Man vs. Wild’ Real? The Fake Instances during Filming
Discovery Network's Man Vs. Wild is a survivalist-adventure reality show that features the survival expert Bear Grylls as he provides vital information and survival strategies to make it out alive from the unforgiving outdoors.
The show has featured Grylls in some of the harshest landscapes on Earth, from peaks and valleys to rainforests and deserts. However, there have been instances where the final edit depicted a reality that was far from the truth, leading many viewers to ask,
Is 'Man vs. Wild' Real?
The one-word answer to that question would be, "no," but the more appropriate one is "not always."
The military man and his show were under the investigation of Channel 4 when they concluded the second season of Man Vs. Wild in 2007.
The verdict of said investigation found them guilty of not being as in the wild as they led viewers to believe.
Sometimes, the final edit of the show made it look like Grylls was sleeping under the open sky when, in fact, he was checked into a motel.
Following that revelation, several allegations were made suggesting that the crew weren't as hands-off as it seemed in the final copy.
The Crew Spent Nights in Hotels
A report from DailyMail explained how the episode filmed in California's Sierra Nevada mountains saw the SAS veteran biting the head off a snake for breakfast when in reality, he spent a few nights at the Pines Resort Hotel in Bass lake.
Just to clarify, the hotel's marketing material read, "a cozy getaway for families." In the establishment, one could order blueberry pancakes for breakfast and stream an episode of Grylls' adventures off the internet while they ate it.
Okay, so he sleeps in hotels at night, but what he does during the day is real, right? Sadly, the answer here was also, "not always."
Survival for the Camera
Mark Weinert, who was a survival consultant on the show, revealed that one episode misled viewers to believe that Grylls had managed to stitch together a Polynesian-style raft using what he could salvage from his surroundings.
However, it was Weinert and his team that had built the raft and dismantled it just so Grylls could put it back together again. But this time the camera was pointed in his direction.
These were but a few of the allegations made. Still, the finger-pointing was enough to get the show's attention and get them to make an official stance.
The Man Apologizes for the Fake Wild
Grylls later reached out to BBC to make an official apology to the viewers. He explained that the crew sometimes took shelter in a more civilized setting, but the shots of them staying outdoors were legit.
He further added,
We film these things over six days and, after filming the night stuff, we're back with a crew in a base camp lodge - whether it's a tented camp in the Sahara or in Sumatra poncho'd up in the jungle.
According to the show's spokesperson, the show was not and did not claim to be an observational documentary. Instead, it was a "how-to" guide to basic survival techniques in extreme environments.
The Discovery Channel has also promised greater transparency for the upcoming seasons of the show.