Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bear Grylls on surviving the unthinkable

(Published October 24, PDI-Entertainment)

By Oliver M. Pulumbarit


Survival expert, TV host and author Bear Grylls knows how it feels to be in a life-threatening situation. He survived a fall after his parachute malfunctioned years ago. The intrepid explorer also repeatedly found himself in unpredictable environments while filming the popular Discovery Channel program “Man vs. Wild.”

Grylls, 36, revealed in a recent teleconference that his new show is “Worst Case Scenario,” scheduled to air in December. The six-part series tackles different dangerous and potentially lethal situations (plunging elevators, shark attacks, etc.). The host offers expert advice on how to survive them.

How intensive is training for every episode?
When I’m home, I train every day for these things, an hour in the morning when I get up. But it’s just been a big part of my life, I suppose, training since my Army days. I’m not naturally fit. I need to work hard on all these things. So, yes, I do a lot of running, circuit training, and then yoga, and combine that a lot.

How about the emergency training?
A lot of it is the same skills that I use on “Man vs. Wild.” It’s about being inventive, determined and having a sense of humor in difficult places. But a lot of it is common sense and trying to think laterally and keep calm in that big moment.

For “Worst Case Scenario” we do a briefing the day before filming. They give me a kind of broad overview of what we are doing but without the details. Then I get thrown into the next day and have lots of cameras on it and they film it, and just let it all run. Then the end of it is either kind of all there or it isn’t, in which case we’d do it again.

Have you experienced a real worst case scenario?
I’ve had a lot of real case ones. I’m trying to think of the ones we did on the show. I’ve been mugged before; we did that one on the show. I’ve had brake failure before, not quite as severe as we did on the show, but I’ve had that. I’ve gotten stuck on mountains where you can’t go up, can’t go down. I’ve had falls, I’ve had parachute failures. I’ve been chased by dogs before in the military, which was kind of pretty scary.

After doing it all, what’s left to explore?
Loads. The more of these I do—the more places we go on “Man vs. Wild,” the more scenarios to do for “Worst Case”—the more I realize we live in an extraordinary world and there are so many huge wildernesses and difficult, crazy, hell-holes of swamps around the planet. It’s hard to kind of scratch the surface, really. So, I think the limiting factor is always a human factor, which is me, rather than the wildernesses or the worst case scenario. I’m the one that gets more and more battered and covered in scars.

“Worst Case Scenario” begins airing on Dec. 8, 11 p.m., on Discovery Channel. “Man vs. Wild” airs Saturdays, 9 p.m.

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