My life as a Castaway: Reality TV pioneer on how being stranded on a deserted island 20 years ago changed everything forever

Earlier than Massive Brother, earlier than Love Island and earlier than everybody else, Castaway arrived, the primary actuality present through which Britain was connected to the couch.

Precisely 20 years in the past, Castaway 2000 turned 28 adults and eight youngsters into the primary stars of Britain's actuality tv after leaving them on Taransay, an island reverse Harris within the Outer Hebrides.

In comparison with the truth reveals to return, Castaway and Massive Brother, which started three months later, appear severe and attempt to chart a social experiment.

The castaways addressed the difficulties and issues, performed energy video games, suffered damaged bones and challenged the waves to smuggle alcohol on the island. There have been clashes, romance and even the conception of two new lives.

Twenty years later and the shipwrecked are nonetheless involved. Sadly, two are now not with us: Trevor Kearon, fun-loving, and Hilary Freeman, the lady with a coronary heart of gold.

Ben Fogle turned a well-known announcer and adventurer, whereas Mike Laird, based mostly in Edinburgh, can also be a world explorer. Glaswegian Trish Prater discovered his substitute paradise on one other small Scottish island the place he nonetheless lives.

Right here, Sally McDonald talks to a few of the folks concerned within the tv milestone from the shipwrecked to the creator and psychologist of this system.

Trish Prater, mom of 4 youngsters, continues to dwell the "dream" of Taransay, this time on the small island of Rousay, close to Orkney, the place he spends his days delivering mail and caring for his land and his tunnel.

"It's my piece of paradise," says the 57-year-old girl, however her dream has been hard-earned.

4 years in the past, Trish fought a sophisticated and aggressive cervical most cancers that was near claiming his life.

Shipwrecked from left to proper, standing; Sheila, Peter, Michael, Trish, Oliver, Tammy, Jodine, Toby, Mike, Monica, Liz, Tanya, Roger and Rosemary, kneeling; Dez, Felix, Ciara and Sandy in Taransay in Scotland on Saturday, December 30, 2000.

Trevor Kearon, the islander he fell in love with and who conceived Erin, the "shipwrecked child," was the rock that helped her overcome the horrible expertise.

They moved to Orkney collectively to run a pub after their expertise in Castaways, however they separated in 2009. Nevertheless, the bond they shaped in Taransay meant that they remained shut. His demise from a coronary heart assault whereas on trip in Spain left Trish, initially from Dennistoun, in Glasgow reeling. Now he lives life not just for her but additionally for Trevor, with whom he captured the hearts of a nation.

"I can't consider that 20 years have handed since Taransay. Now I’m an previous girl, discarded, not shipwrecked," he jokes.

"Erin, our shipwrecked child simply turned 18. He appears to be like so much like Trevor and his humorousness is like his father's. His loss continues to be very painful as a result of he was such an important character. It was an enormous a part of our lives. He used to Go to his new companion. We bear in mind so much about Taransay and get alongside higher after we parted. ”

In 2015, Trish found that he had superior cervical most cancers. "Trevor was with me on a regular basis," he says now. “It was my rock. I used to be unwell for eight months and went a number of occasions to the physician who attributed it to menopause.

“Most cancers was found solely after I discovered progress. They took me to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for an necessary operation in December. The surgeon stated that if the most cancers had been left for one more 18 months, it could not have been right here. "

Trish, who stated he was permitted in April final 12 months, provides: “Trevor was a superb father. He had simply purchased a home in Wales and Erin was going to dwell with him and go to the veterinary college there. She spoke with Trevor the Monday she died. He was on trip overseas and she or he would transfer when he returned. His baggage have been packed. They have been very excited.

“He despatched Erin photographs of him and his companion within the jacuzzi on trip. He regarded very completely satisfied. He had misplaced weight and bought match. His physician stated he was advantageous. However he bought out of the new tub, leaned right down to kiss his companion lovingly on the cheek and dropped into the solar mattress. She thought I used to be kidding. However he left, he died in seconds.

“I’d not have needed to depart the folks I beloved like that. I actually needed Erin to dwell with him, I needed to show him to drive, present him life, fill his head with optimistic and clever issues, as a result of he was an clever man. "

Erin continues to comply with his dream within the veterinary college of Thurso. "Your dad could be pleased with her," says Trish. “Trevor was stolen, we have been robbed. I went downhill after his demise, however I needed to transfer on. I survived. "

Now, Trish works as the primary posttwoman in Rousay and acquired a brand new home earlier this 12 months.

She explains: "It’s a captain's cabin courting from 1877. She has drafts, has leaks on the roof, however she is mine, purchased and paid. The home got here with an acre of land and a 60-foot polythene 20 toes stuffed with fruit timber and ripe grapes I simply took out the duck pond.

"I like my work. I make buns and desserts and provides them to the older folks in my spherical. I take a small device package in case they want doorways and issues mounted.

"I’m dwelling the dream. I’ve my very own portion of Taransay in Rousay. I consider Taransay every single day. It was such a beautiful expertise. Once I make my spherical, it's in my truck with me.

“I really feel responsible as a result of Trevor is just not right here to take pleasure in it, so I’ve to dwell it for each of us.

“I’ll by no means depart this island. Life is sweet. I’ve somewhat piece of heaven. ”


Shipwrecked creator Jeremy Mills offered his idea to BBC Studios chief Peter Salmon, who later turned a world head of the creators of Massive Brother Endemol, for a shrimp sandwich.

And he revealed that they left Ben Fogle "elegant" within the social combine as an "irritant."
Jeremy, now 60, stated: “It began as a social experiment and got here to life. I needed to collect a bunch of individuals to signify society in a distant place the place they have been remoted from the remainder of the world.

“I needed to see what sort of society they’d create and what they’d replicate on as we enter a brand new millennium; what was necessary to us as people and teams. We have been seeking to get a consultant pattern of individuals and Ben got here in, this actually
Good-looking and charming, however elegant as hell.

“Chris and I believed it could irritate everybody a lot as a result of it was so elegant, so, fairly cynically, we put it for that. He was going to be the grain within the combine, but it surely turned out to be the oyster, as a result of everybody beloved him utterly.

“You get what you see with Ben and he turned the star of the present once we thought it could possibly be irritating. It turned a well-recognized identify. He was an incredible character and deserves the whole lot he bought because of this. I want to suppose that Castaway positively modified the lives of the individuals who participated. "

However Jeremy admitted that whereas Castaway was "modern" and "made a fame," he was additionally "loopy."

"It was harmful, troublesome, costly and loopy," he stated. "I don't suppose he takes care of it at present."


Cynthia McVey is the previous head of psychology on the Caledonian College of Glasgow and was essential within the collection of the shipwrecked.

Round four,000 folks requested to take part in this system. Of those, 200 have been interviewed, they have been examined psychometrically and a sequence of challenges to evaluate their suitability. The ultimate individuals have been chosen amongst them. Cynthia says: “The creators of this system needed a psychologist in Scotland. They needed a microcosm of society, an sufficient vary of individuals.

“I regarded on the fundamental psychometric assessments of the candidates to see how they have been doing and made an important dialog with them to tell them what they have been entering into. We choose from that.

"Every castaway had one thing particular to offer to the undertaking."


Twenty years after he left Taransay, the island that he later tried unsuccessfully to purchase with the Harris neighborhood, Ben Fogle reveals that it was his love for his Scottish heritage that led him to the Outer Hebrides experiment moderately than a starvation for fame .

Subsequent 12 months, he plans to take his household, spouse Marina, 41, son Ludo, 10, and daughter Iona, eight, to the island that "launched."

Ben, 46, stated: “My grandfather and his household have been all from Scotland and I've all the time beloved the western islands, so it appeared good.

Castaway Ben Fogle.

“Taransay confirmed me the significance of dwelling with a minimal footprint. I like Scotland: we named our daughter for a Scottish island and we’ve household all over the place. I go to usually

My spouse and I have been honeymoon in Taransay in 2006 and we hope to go to them as a household subsequent 12 months, it will likely be the primary time for my youngsters. "

Go to to the desert of Ben Fogle: Dunfermline Alhambra Theater, January 31; Aberdeen Music Corridor, February 1 and Edinburgh’s Kings Theater, February 2


Mike Laird, 50, was an skilled in daytime pension laws and an explorer outdoors the workplace, venturing into hazard zones in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, the place he was a battle photographer.

Castaway was the type of problem he thrived on. Mike and Ben Fogle have been collectively at Ben's household dwelling in London once they acquired the telephone name confirming that they’d been accepted.

After this system, he stays a world adventurer. Mike, who in March of this 12 months accomplished a 640km solo hike by the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia, the biggest and deepest freshwater lake on this planet, stated: “My time in Taransay introduced that spirit out of me extra adventurous.

"Since then, amongst different expeditions, I’ve skied 565 km from Resolute in Canada to the North Pole, and I’ve pedaled by Australia."

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