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BEAR GRYLLS
THE BORN SURVIVOR STAR GOES BACK INTO THE WILD

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Issue #90
September 12 2008

But. we move on. alpha male SAS-sort like Grylls. Sport hunted him down to find out if he’s actually insane IMAGES COURTESY OF THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL ‘I’M QUITE A FUSSY EATER. which premieres on the Discovery Channel on September 23. but movement requires energy – and energy requires that you eat. away from the camera. “Controversy is always pretty horrible. “And it really hurt!” He says he got ill after swimming through the lethal Zambezi rapids and feasting on pussfilled rhino beetle lavae. especially when it’s personal. scaled Mount Everest and flown a powermotor 29.500 feet above the earth. we reckon we can get him. to most people. sucking the water from a lump of camel dung or swigging on a canteen full of his own urine. Bear has also overcome great challenges in his personal life – from breaking his back in a parachuting accident in 1996 to that motel scandal last year.” says the guy who once slept inside a dead deer.” Given the fact he’s got his shirt off when we meet – having just been for a jog – maybe the Yanks are on to something. even when beshirted. Grylls seems strangely normal. shaking his head.. But. S P O R T . Survival requires movement.” he tells Sport. too. this ramshackle hut is not a hotel INTO THE WILD Born Survivor star Bear Grylls has been busy wrestling alligators and eating snakes for his new television series. too. it’s easy for us normal chaps to feel inferior in front of a rough-handed. But.M A G A Z I N E . SEPTEMBER 12 2008 W W W. Of course. He says he scaled a 100ft waterfall with no ropes and acute diarrhoea. one of the locations for the new series of Born Survivor. C O . when he was found to have slept in a cosy lodge instead of roughing it.’ SAYS THE MAN WHO ONCE MUNCHED ON A SHEEP’S EYEBALL Adventure crackpot Bear Grylls has spent three years in the SAS. “At a hotel!” Bear simply grins. “We fell down a hole!” we reply. “It must be a British thing. U K .” Anyway. With the jungle hierarchy reconfirmed.” he says. when he starts talking about Zambia. after you’ve read about what he’s been up to in his new series. we just can’t get enough of that agonised expression on Bear’s face. Whether it’s gnawing on chunks of blue-raw zebra flesh. “I like baking cakes at home.. “I’m quite a fussy eater. “But it’s important to remember this is a show about how to survive – and a lot of fun.” says the man who once munched on a sheep’s eyeball. “The Americans go on about the fact I always take my clothes off. it’s the stuff I eat. you wouldn’t begrudge the old boy a good night’s kip. “We broke our arm in Zambia!” we retort.38 SPECIAL FEATURE BEAR GRYLLS 39 Just to clarify. but I don’t! Over here. the star of the television survival series Born Survivor: Bear Grylls will always be remembered for one thing – the rancid stuff he shovels into his gob.

when The Sunday Times reported that he had been staying in a Californian lodge instead of roughing it in the wild – and that a scene in which he tried to lasso ‘wild mustangs’ had been choreographed using tamed gee-gees from a trekking station. used the fat to make mosquito repellent and then ate it. Life doesn’t reward the brilliant – it rewards those who persevere. on the last day.CO. I speak to all the local rangers to get briefings on local plants. the crew will stay a few hundred metres away in a tent. scars. I was doing a 100ft waterfall climb but just crapping and vomiting everywhere. so what’s the problem? The result is that the show now runs with a disclaimer that says the crew “receive support” when necessary and “situations are presented to Bear” so he can demonstrate survival techniques. S P O R T .349ft) in the Himalayas. climbing and explosives. that’s always done in voiceovers. breaks his T8. Other times.U ive w xclus new serie AGAZINE e For an rom the PORT-M ips f WW.40 SPECIAL FEATURE BEAR GRYLLS 41 in scars. 2002 Grylls performs his first television role in an ad for Sure For Men. 2005 Stars in Escape to the Legion on Channel 4. 2000 Marries Shara Cannings Knight – and. and lives in a cottage with mum. I was so wet behind the ears. carry a rifle and deal with emergency communications. signals. body covered June 7 1974 Edward Michael Grylls is born in Bembridge.” Bear after being stung by a swarm of bees – it ain’t make-up Bear tackling the Sahara – you’d think there’d be only one winner. and my job was to teach combat survival and do climbing and skydiving. Grylls becomes the youngest Briton to climb Mount Ama Dablam (22.” Was Bear embarrassed? “It wasn’t nice. you’ll notice that. r. because it taught me to fight. dad (the late ex-Marine and Conservative MP Sir Michael Grylls) and older sister Lara. So where did you learn all your fancy skills? “I did masses of this growing up with my dad – we climbed and went camping. 1996 Aged 21. but there are lots of those moments.. what was it? ‘Life should not be a journey with the sole intention of arriving in a well-preserved. my cameraman. That was a really dark time. The camera guys have become real mates. hang on. I’ll stay with them in the base camp. used up and shouting: “Yahoo.” THE BRIEFING WAS NOT TO GO FOR ANY ALLIGATOR OVER FIVE FOOT – BUT THEN I SAW A SIX-FOOT ONE AND THOUGHT: ‘WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT?’ BEAR GRYLLS THE STORY SO FAR. When I started. is normally right here next to me. thoroughly worn out.. but no BEHIND THE SCENES WITH BEAR GRYLLS “It takes us six days to make a show. But none other than the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes jumped to his defence.S cl W visit THE BEAR NECESSITIES Bear Grylls found his hardcore image softened in July 2007. is born.” I was going to be able to walk properly again. The next day. I said to the cameraman: ‘Just turn the camera off. a director and a safety guy. of course. Bear attends Eton College. For example. I don’t like this. but when I go to Italy it’s nice to pick up a tip on the carbonara. The doctors didn’t know if Approximately how many injuries. SEPTEMBER 12 2008 You broke your back in a terrible accident in Africa back in 1996. May 26 1998 Aged 23. Isle of Wight. I was halfway up this rockface and I just had to go. what a ride!”’” Your new series starts this month. you should aim to skid in sideways.029ft). But I don’t try to get them! I’ve got a new book out which starts with the quote ‘life should not be. it’s going to go absolutely ape!’ There was blood everywhere. I feel a bit like a cook: I know how to cook.” Did you pick up any nasty illnesses this time? “I got diarrhoea up a rock face in Zambia! I ate this huge bug and it nailed me. We have a four-man crew – a cameraman. knees and hips to broken fingers and toes and dislocated shoulders and cuts. some plants or wood. The briefing we had before was: ‘Don’t go for anything over five foot. parachuting. T10 and T12 vertebrae in a freefall parachuting accident in Africa. Rather. We’ve seen you eating zebras and drinking your own pee already. they hit you with their tail – whack! – into their mouth and these teeth just close up. Critics panned him. The Daily Mail labelled him “the adventure equivalent of a cheese souffle – a lot of hot air and not much substance”.000 feet. reaching the summit at 7. He’ll often go: ‘Bear. but a ‘how-to’ guide to basic survival techniques. C O . it’s a rip-roaring adventure. I didn’t like being cold. but I looked round and he was about 20 yards away! I remember getting this knife and holding it behind its head and I was thinking: ‘When this goes in. tropical diseases and cuts have you sustained in your life? “It reads like a medical report. because you’ll end up coming a cropper. I had spent a year of my life training every day and gone through blood. What are you not very good at? “The more I do. I look back now and wonder if I’d have ever done all these other things if that hadn’t happened. A with rn Survivo K eb Q&s of Bo .22am.M A G A Z I N E .’ The camera won’t see that. from dislocated vertebrae. If you really need to climb a tree and all you’ve got are your shoelaces. used the hide to make a camp. Jesse. some zips and this jumper. that sap is going to heal a cut. After spending 18 months in rehab. Then they roll. 1994-97 Serves with British TA SAS. June 2003 Bear and Shara’s first son. I skinned it. this is going to be great!’ and Bear. I know that if you cut that tree like this. Much of it is common sense: this is what I’ve got. in the same year. who nicknames him ‘Bear’. 2003 Leads first team to cross the frozen north Atlantic Arctic Ocean in a rigid inflatable boat. medics.’ But then. your TV show is. we saw a six-foot one and I thought: ‘Wouldn’t it be great?’ So I was waist-deep in this swamp. claiming that special forces membership requires “distinctly non-cheese-souffle people”. fans said he still does all the stuff anyway. but at the end of the day the show is explaining how to survive – and. Then I joined the army.’ He said: ‘No way. you’ll find a way to do it. instead of bad guys chasing us. The next time. and this is what nature has given me. we’ve now got bad animals trying to eat us. It feels like an extension of what I had in the army. and I could just see these eyes looking at me. we wanted to do an alligator encounter in the Louisiana swamps – to wrestle.” Bear wasn’t happy when the photographer said Ray Mears could do better .” he tells Sport. 180 started. »» W W W. U K IMAGES COURTESY OF THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL AND WWW. but we were the number one show in America and you’re going to get the odd torpedo.COM Bear. then kill this thing and eat it. I failed my SAS selection the first time. “You either give up or keep doing your job. But I can’t ever remember the names. well-kept body. It’s hard work.’ Er. evasive driving. trained in unarmed combat. we’re just a lot more transparent. So I’ll go to Alaska and get some good Inuit tips. along the way. leads the first circumnavigation of the UK on jetskis. Now. How can I combine it together to make one and one equal seven? Necessity is the mother of all invention. But. When I’m out at night. Ray Mears takes five weeks to do one hour – we do it in five days. 1997 After 18 months in rehab at Headley Court. you will get this milky sap – and. I wish I had a better brain! If you look closely at the programmes. enters the Guinness World Records as the youngest Briton to scale Mount Everest (29. Channel 4 emphasise: “Born Survivor is not an observational documentary series. four people passed and both me and my best buddy were there.BEARGRYLLS. dangerous animals and stuff. Simon.. but it was my way of hanging out with him. how did you hop back on the horse? “Sometimes it takes a real knock in life to make you realise what is important. sweat and tears to do it. desert and winter warfare. Before we film. a sound man. The way they kill is side-on. and down you go.. or they’ll leave me a little camera and go back to base camp nearby. combat survival. wet and scared up mountains. demonstrating what it takes to join the French Foreign Legion in Africa. like a four-man SAS team. when your parachute split at 16. so long as it tastes sweet. all about survival. He is an ex-SAS man and helps get crew up to where I am.” You can kill a snake and make a bed out of a dead deer. 1987-1992 Following his time at Ludgrove School. so what the hell are you doing this time? “We really tried to push the boundaries in this series. when I’m talking about names. the more I realise I don’t know.

000ft. and it will release you and die. so get out of the wind. W W W. You’re safe.) Well. you can laugh about it. wrap it round your arm to protect it. I figured they had about half an hour of lifetime. You can die from the gasp reflex when the shock makes you breathe water into your lungs. get a bit of airflow through and. the bear will think you’re prey and charge. our phone and. living all over the place and doing dangerous climbs and being near dangerous animals. The show will be screened to over a billion people in 150 countries. I wish they would. I had just eaten a smaller grub when I lifted up the log and saw this gross thing.42 SPECIAL FEATURE BEAR GRYLLS spear and I went down above it and – whack! – I got it absolutely bang on.” What do you crave when you get home after filming an episode? A nice solid Weetabix? “Good proper food. this is a waterfall – not some huge beast’s slash When was the last time you were scared? “We were in Yukon. C O . so I had to rely on the infra red on the camera. but what’s the closest you’ve come to snuffing it in the show? “Er… I jumped on top of a 16ft man-eating tiger shark once. It was terrifying. When we wake up. How nice! I find that grubs and scorpions have a nasty habit of always crapping as they go down my throat – it’s a last act of defiance. yoga. and we realise we’ve lost our keys. ROB ELLIOTT / AFP / GETTY IMAGES We’re ice skating on the frozen Serpentine and then – crack! – the ice breaks and we plunge into the freezing water. I felt sick. I was on my raft and I’d been filming sandbar sharks. My life is much less spectacular than you think. you can survive the urban jungle Bear. Break the ice. Suddenly there wasn’t enough oxygen and the torch went out. ATE IT. The price is that you’re away a lot. but scared. I was drinking my pee out of a rotting dead snake. I got it. ate it.COM.’ I had this WARNIN G! So I was hanging off the cliff with one hand. I did have quite a claustrophobic. I almost got whacked by a stingray the other day. scared moment then. I had one of those split-second moments.” You obviously have safety guys with you. WARNIN G! It’s now nighttime. If attacked. SKINNED IT. but as I jumped in the water this big 16ft tiger shark went straight under the raft. like running marathons and climbing mountains.COM. in a gold mine that was collapsing. Marmaduke. so we get hammered at the Below Zero Ice Bar and pass out behind a seat. Smash a window. scoffing a three-course meal while dangling under a hot air balloon at 25. But it was aiming its tail up. which are harmless. September 23 2008 New six-part series of Born Survivor: Bear Grylls starts on the Discovery Channel. The next day. that’s very hard.” MARK BAILEY 43 I CAUGHT A SNAKE. Afterwards. IMAGES COURTESY OF THE DISCOVERY CHANNEL AND WWW.” Harsh.ISSELEE. just to clarify again. July 18 2008 Completes the longest ever indoor freefall by staying in the Airkix wind tunnel for 97 minutes – the equivalent of falling non-stop for 242 miles. PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB THE LONDON EYE. reaching around 29. as a full-frontal posture could be seen as aggressive. Or you could just go to the nearest pub.craghoppers. Then I would get a rope and lower myself down to another shaft. if nobody is ever going to get you. so take your clothes off and start doing press-ups. There was a big snake I had to try and kill. I went bash and hit it. hold it there. the biggest killer is the wind. I had this flash moment of thinking: ‘Shall I just quietly walk on?’ But I just had to.” . PAUL CHILDS / ACTION IMAGES. find a park and get under a bush.” WARNIN G! ‘You’re alright mate. we’re walking down Oxford Street on our way to buy some new pants when a giant.” The new six-part series of Born Survivor: Bear Grylls starts on the Discovery Channel on September 23 and Channel 4 on October 5. “I could see the curvature of the earth. I WAS DRINKING PISS OUT OF ITS ROTTING BODY URBAN SURVIVAL YLLS! WITH BEAR GR London is a dangerous place but. You need to get protection from the weather. What should we do to survive? “I was always told in my army days to just whip your shirt off.” Presumably it was what was inside the said testicle that got you? “I’ll tell you what’s inside! It melts. and it was intoxicating. That was a low point. I definitely have an awareness that I need to get it right. Never run. pain never lasts forever. I get whacked by a load of bees and my face is all swollen up. How do we stay warm? “You can do like they did on that famous Ernest Shackleton expedition. I’ve examined it – it looks quite straightforward. I almost did with that grub in Zambia. going deeper and deeper. How do we stay cool? “Have you got a window in there? (“Not sure. In this series in Mexico. if you don’t have any water or survival skills. But then I thought: ‘Oh. MURDER POOCHES OR SLEEP IN A BUSH. as soon as it hits your mouth. Back away slowly and turn side-on. I don’t go to any of these smart parties in London. with Bear’s help.” WARNIN G! And. peed inside the skin and tied it up and used it as a flask. and suddenly your foot would go through a shaft. That was hairy. It was just circling the raft. you’re going to have to climb down. you’re dead in three hours. then ease your weight up and wriggle like a seal. If you have a knife. I knew that was what had killed Steve Irwin and I thought: ‘Shall I go for it?’ I was spear-fishing and at first it seemed silly.” we say. I’ve often thought about climbing the London Eye. but I couldn’t see very well because my eyes were so swollen.500ft. the sun is baking through the capsule and the air conditioning is screwed. I love hanging out with my kids. we’ve been accidentally locked in. it features Bear parachuting into inhospitable locations and showing how to survive. U K 2007 The first series of Born Survivor: Bear Grylls airs on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. Where do we seek shelter in London? “Newspapers are very good. it melts into a mouthful of sperm! Cold goat’s sperm!” Don’t you ever just think: ‘No way. When you get out you need to get warm. get a bit of cardboard to keep the rainwater off you and huddle up in a ball. practise skills like paragliding or climbing – but the rest of the time I’m very cosy. WWW. SIR. GO HOME TO YOUR WIFE.” BEAR IS DISCUSSING SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES IN EXTREME AND DELIBERATELY STUPID SCENARIOS. is born. hold each other real tight.M A G A Z I N E . let’s just give it a little go. a nice sit on the loo. I’d rather die than eat that?’ “Well. We don’t want to die wearing ice skates. JOERG KOCH / AFP / GETTY IMAGES. Bear Grylls: Great Outdoor Adventures. His family homes include a 100-year-old barge moored on the Thames and an island off the coast of Wales. protect your neck and throat and play dead. If you’re with someone else. and I made three torches out of birch bark and old hessian sacking. and it shot away. it would be good. Then squeeze together into its brain.” Is it tough to do all this stuff when you have a wife and two little boys back home? “Everything has a price. What do we do so your namesake doesn’t eat us? “Even large animals fear humans. stab at the eyes and mouth. Canada. is published by Channel 4 Books and out soon.com We’re on the London Eye and it’s really hot – bloody global warming – but it gets stuck. May 14 2007 Grylls becomes the first man to fly a powered paraglider higher than Mount Everest. because it was a monster! But. but I got quite carried away. like a massive scallop the size of a cricket ball – and.” IT’S ON TV DISCOVERY CHANNEL Bear Grylls: Born Survivor From September 23 It’s been one hell of a day Bear. offer it that. PEED INSIDE THE SKIN AND USED IT AS A FLASK – THE NEXT DAY. circuit train. tempting fate. scary animal? “Well. so you need to control your panic. Turn around and look at where you fell in – you know the ice is good to get out from. our Oyster card. What is the worst thing you’ve ever eaten? “I threw up in the Sahara after eating a raw goat’s testicle. S P O R T . a nice bed.” Do they all taste like chicken? “No. Dehydration is a real killer. our wallet. We’re angry.” he says.” Bear.” And when was the last time you were in trouble with a massive. SEPTEMBER 12 2008 April 2006 Bear’s second son. let’s be straight here – you’ve drunk your own piss. let it go for it and then jam your fingers together straight into both eyes. it’s definitely water’ WARNIN G! A bear has escaped from the zoo and is standing in our kitchen with its nose in a jar of peanut butter. throw yourself to the ground. A new book. savage poodle tries to maul us to death. Shackleton knew that if he stopped moving he would die – so he marched around the icefloe all night. The Bear Grylls clothing range is available at www. Grab yourself some newspapers. LEHTIKUVA LEHTIKUVA / ACTION IMAGES. crucially. The show promises to be more ‘transparent’ in future. so what should we do? “The first thing is don’t panic. Stranded on an icefloe. kicking hard and spreading your weight. I take time to train for a disciplined couple of hours a day – run.” WARNIN G! »» 2005 Breaks record for highest open-air dinner party. so your best chance is to avoid eye contact and adopt a submissive posture. skinned it. I’ve been in deserts where it’s so hot they say that. The real discipline when you’re cold is to keep pumping your fingers and toes – so make sure you keep moving all the time. and I came out with this thing swinging around. GETTY IMAGES.BEARGRYLLS. They will only attack as a last resort. that’s a load of rubbish. pooing into free air – and he was filming me. July 22 2007 Bear’s TV series comes under fire after reports that he was staying in a California motel instead of roughing it. How on earth do you get the bottle to your lips? “I was thirsty! But it gets worse.

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