September 29, 2015

Bear Grylls in negative news again

In recent years the emphasis of many TV documentaries seems to  be on presenters tackling dangerous animals or performing dangerous stunts, especially in caves. Bear Grylls is one such presenter.

A few years ago he was criticised for killing bats in China.

More recently there have been programmes in which he goes into caves, jumps into rivers etc, and never wears a helmet, has inadequate lighting and doesn't seem to take any safety precautions. Again I have posted this on my cave website.

The latest upset was after a programme was aired on British TV of him caving in Yorkshire. In "Britain's biggest adventures", [ITV , Part 2, 2015, shown Sept 2015. Nutopia and BTV] after abseiling at Malham Cove without a helmet, he goes into Long Churn Cave. We see him going through a section of cave alone, with a single torchlight and no helmet. Then he meets up with an experienced caver. As the cave begins to flood they have to go out.

It seems to be that Bear Grylls often does reckless things, presumably for the TV audience.

A few days after "Britain's biggest adventures" aired, the Yorkshire based Cave Rescue Organisation made a complaint about the programme. This was detailed on Grough, I will copy some of the article here -
Cave rescue team complains over 'horrifying' Bear Grylls TV programme
Bob Smith, Editor
Monday 28 September 2015

A rescue team has posted an official complaint to television bosses over scenes in a recent programme featuring a renowned adventurer.

The Clapham-based Cave Rescue Organisation said last week’s episode of ITV’s Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls showed a total disregard for safety in the outdoors.

The rescue team’s chair Heather Eastwood has written to the channel expressing horror at some of the activities the star of the programme undertook.

Ms Eastwood said: “As chair of the local rescue team both myself and many of my fellow team members were horrified to see Bear Grylls show a total disregard for safety in the outdoors especially in relation to water and caving.

“Bear Grylls is Chief Scout and is an inspirational figure to many young people but both ITV and Bear Grylls himself have shown a total lack of responsibility by portraying some of the activities in the light that you choose to do.”

The programme, second in a series being currently screened, was set in the Yorkshire Dales and showed Bear Grylls abseiling down the 80m crag of Malham Cove, to meet climber Steve McClure half way up.

But the two activities that concerned the CRO are when the adventurer tosses his rucksack into the water at Stainforth Force before performing a backflip into the water, and heading into the Long Churn cave system near Selside without basic equipment.

Before stepping into the cave system with no helmet or protective suit and with just a handtorch, Grylls says: “Water levels are rising. This adventure was about to put all our lives in danger.” The commentary said it had been raining non-stop for 24 hours.

The television star, his underground guide Phil Murphy and the film crew are seen to make a rushed exit from the cave. Bear Grylls says: “We’re in genuine danger of being swept away so, for safety, we have to switch the cameras off.

“All of us make it out just in time.”

The Cave Rescue Organisation chair said in her letter: “Climbing up waterfalls shows not only a total disregard for the environment but failed to mention the dangers of water in general let alone how that danger increases in waterfalls.

“For those of us who know the area in question we are well aware of the power and dangers of the water shown even in dry conditions and have had the misfortune of being involved in difficult rescues in those areas.

“As for your portrayal of caving and cave exploration I am struggling to express my horror.

See link above for full article.

Similar articles also appeared in The Guardian 1 Oct, and Mirror Online 1 Oct .

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