Grylls' Thrills Bogus: Expert
He is no Les Stroud. Bear is a big faker.
GRYLLS' THRILLS BOGUS: EXPERT
SURVIVALIST CHARGED WITH CUSHY SHORTCUTS
By DON KAPLAN
IN THE MUCK: Bear Grylls shows off his survival skill on "Man vs. Wild," but an expert who says he worked on the show claims some stunts are faked.July 24, 2007 -- Discovery Channel he-man Bear Grylls, the host of the survival-skills show "Man vs. Wild," is barely the man he seems to be on TV.
On the program, Grylls appears to camp out in quickly-built shelters deep in the wilderness while battling hypothermia and dehydration. But when the cameras stop rolling, Grylls has actually moved to luxurious hotels.
In the last two seasons, he and producers have contrived other scenes to make it appear as if Grylls is more skilled than he really is, a consultant for the show told The Times of London.
"If you really believe everything happens the way it is shown on TV, you are being a little bit naive," said Mark Weinert, an Oregon-based survival consultant, who said producers hired him as an adviser for the show.
Discovery Channel officials declined to comment, but in the U.K., where the show airs with the title "Born Survivor," stunned network officials at Channel 4 said they are conducting an internal investigation.
"Discovery Communications has learned that isolated elements of the 'Man vs. Wild' show in some episodes were not natural to the environment, and that for health and safety concerns the crew and host received some survival assistance while in the field," a spokeswoman for the network said.
"Moving forward the program will be 100 percent transparent and all elements of the filming will be explained up-front to our viewers. In addition, shows that are to be repeated will be edited appropriately."
According to Weinert, while filming in California's Sierra Nevada mountains - an episode in which Grylls, 33, is seen biting off the head of a snake for breakfast - Grylls actually spent some nights with the show's crew in a lodge outfitted with television, stone fireplaces, hot tubs and Internet access.
The Pines Resort at Bass Lake is advertised as "a cozy getaway for families" and is a luxurious hotel with its own spa on a lake.
In another instance, where Grylls was supposed to be surviving on a desert island, he was actually in Hawaii and spent nights at a motel, Weinert said.
The same episode had Grylls building a Polynesian-style raft using only materials around him, including bamboo, hibiscus twine and palm leaves for a sail. Weinert said he actually led a team of builders to construct the raft.
It was then taken apart so that Grylls could be shown building it on camera.
In another episode, viewers watched as Grylls tried to coax what seemed like a wild mustang into a lasso in the Sierra Nevada.
"I'm in luck," he told viewers, apparently coming across four wild horses grazing in a meadow. "A chance to use an old Native American mode of transport comes my way. This is one of the few places in the whole of the U.S. where horses still roam wild."
In fact, Weinert said, the horses were not wild but were brought in by trailer.
Re: Grylls' Thrills Bogus: Expert
Damn, just when I thought I had a new action hero.