Ed Stafford is really comfortable in his own skin, which sort of explains why he often puts himself in precarious situations while being buck naked. You see, Ed has made it a habit of being dropped in remote locations with nothing but his birthday suit and a couple of cameras to record the ordeal.
The ex-British captain has put the theory to the test before with Naked Castaway and now he’s back for more with Marooned, where viewers will see the survivalist brave the elements in Borneo, Thailand, Australia, Botswana, Venezuela and Romania with only a bunch of camera equipment for company. Pass the Popcorn gets the inside scoop from the man himself about his new series in this exclusive interview.
You’ve back in the buff again with Marooned. What’s the story this time?
Well, I’ve been doing real expeditions and I think for me, Marooned always came about because there I thought it would be so much more excitement and more engagement for a viewer in adventure TV if we did it for real. So, that’s exactly the premise of this series – ten days, I’m dropped in, 100% on my own, for real, with nothing, and it’s literally, let’s see what happens.
So that was your pitch then – I’m going in naked into the jungle, let’s do a show about it!
I think it’s difficult, sometimes, to get a series like this commissioned because the Discovery Channel doesn’t know what’s going to happen. But over time it became easier to convince Discovery that they needn’t worry. There’s so many things that I need to do in order to survive, eat and look after myself, that we don’t to script it. And that’s basically where this whole concept came from.
So which places were the hardest and easiest?
They were both in Asia actually. I don’t know why but in Thailand, everything went my way. I had abundant food, good shelter and it wasn’t just about survival but being able to cope very well in the forest there. But in Borneo, it was the complete opposite.
I was in a pocket of very pristine rainforest, and a lot of Malaysian Borneo has been deforested and so there weren’t many animals around. In fact, there was – there was none at all, so it was pretty much starvation for the duration. So there was I was literally eating very small palm hearts from the middle of plants and things like that. In ten days I lost 9kg.
What sort of camera equipment do you bring with you on these adventures?
Not many people ask about that actually. The cameras that I use are quite robust. I get dropped in with two small handheld Canon cameras – they’re called 105s and a couple of GoPro point of view cameras. I take enough batteries, obviously, to see me through and enough CS cards.
And how do you cope with the filming aspect of the show?
Yeah, it isn’t just going in and surviving for ten days – there isn’t a cameraman, a sound guy or a director, so I have to do all of that myself.But I find that quite a nice distraction really, because I’ve got something else to concentrate on really other than myself, which is – I suppose from a psychological perspective, it’s quite healthy really.
You’ve done some pretty amazing things, what’s your secret?
I don’t think it takes anything extraordinary at all. I think the reason that I’ve been able to do this job is because I am quite stubborn. I don’t give up and I’m quite prepared to put myself in situations where I’m not particularly comfortable. And I don’t mind that as much as some people do.
The Marooned adventure begins 28 October, 9pm on Discovery Channel (Astro Channel 551).