Well they did warn us that the press would have their own “take” on the show – as would the public.
Last week we were the unwilling accomplices of an anti-feminist plot, today we are clowns.
So it goes.
A lot of conversation with family, friends and colleagues went into my decision to accept the invitation to appear on The Island with Bear Grylls, not the least of which was the initial concern that this would be some kind of game/celebrity/reality/“get me out of here” event. Votes, evictions, silly games.
Had that been the case, you wouldn’t have seen me within a million miles of that god-forsaken rock.
But my concerns were answered convincingly at a very early stage. There was never any intention to trivialise the subject of survival or create a bunch of entertaining freaks whose antics would provoke controversy.
During filming and afterward, the professionalism of the whole production and editing team have been beyond reproach.
This was a serious social experiment to explore modern man’s masculinity which, clearly, had to be good TV for the audience or else the viewers would not show up.
I remember being interviewed by an experienced psychologist as part of the final selection process.
After asking me a bunch of questions, no doubt designed to make sure they weren’t letting the next Dexter run amok, he asked me if I had any concerns.
“Only one” I replied.
“We are going to take many hours of footage that will be condensed into just 5 episodes, what happens if I say just one thing, out of context, in the heat (sic) of the moment, that makes me look a prick in front of the nation?”
He looked at me, smiled and said “Do you want my advice? Don’t be a prick.”
History will show whether I took that advice.
For the next 6 weeks, however, we are at the mercy of the press and public opinion – and that is a little bit scarier than some of the challenges we faced in the Pacific.
We will see whether more headlines follow – and it will be intriguing to explore reaction to some of the decisions we made in order to survive.
I’ve got my thick skin ready.