Eden was a gamble, says survival show's commissioning editor
Survival series Eden is returning to television and is about to get “quite dark”, with contestants reverting to their “base instincts”.
The Channel 4 programme launched in 2016, showing 23 people dispatched to a remote stretch of fenced off shoreline in the Scottish Highlands to fend for themselves for a year.
A follow up show – entitled Paradise Lost – will now reveal how the social experiment turned out, with reports suggesting the camp descended into chaos and that only around 10 people lasted until the end.
Commissioning editor Ian Dunkley told Radio Times magazine: “Eden was a gamble.
“We genuinely didn’t know what we were going to get, but it’s paid off as fascinating telly that says something about human nature and society.
“We thought it would be much more about how they interacted with their environment, but they mastered that quite quickly.
“More interesting was how the characters interacted. The participants went in with a rose-tinted view of how society would evolve when you started from scratch, but things went in a different direction.
“People reverted to their base instincts.”
“It does get quite dark,” said series producer Liz Foley, “but it’s what happened and it’s interesting – we didn’t manipulate the story, we just filmed events as they unfolded.
“Whether the society that evolved is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is not for me to judge, but there was a community built and some amazing, lifelong friendships made, so as a social experiment it worked. Their emotions were laid bare in there, and I remain inordinately proud of all of them.”
One of the contestants, boatman Anton, 42, said not everyone taking part appreciated what an opportunity it was.
“A lot of people were expecting beach parties and living for the moment, but that’s not about community or a social experiment, that’s Love Island or Big Brother,” he said.
He continued: “I missed my partner immensely, but put yourself through that pain and it can enrich you. I’m very proud of the person I was in there.”
Artist/forager Katie, 31, admitted she was “very naive” going into the series, and that people fell into different camps.
“Gender was another divide,” she said. “I’ve never had to prove my worth as a woman before, but for the first time I found that the boys thought it was easy for the girls, that we didn’t do as much.
“But if you’re in a storm, with no roof, in pitch-black darkness and you’ve got your period, girls are bloody tough.”
:: The Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.