Survivor stars have spoken out about how brutal the revival really is (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
Survivor contestants have spoken out about just how brutal the new series is as the reboot hits our screens in our hours.
Fronted by Joel Dommett, 18 people will be competing in some of the toughest physical and psychological challenges ever, and they certainly left a mark on them.
While they’re put to the test, they’ll also have to outwit each other to win £100,000 and become the last survivor standing as they go head-to-head and eliminate each other.
In a first look clip posted earlier this month, viewers were teased with some of the challenges, as contestants could be seen knocking each other to the ground, struggling underwater and carrying intense weights on their backs, while emotionals elsewhere run high around their make-shift campsite as suspicions around each other grow.
And now, three of the stars have told Metro.co.uk what it was really like, including one instance in which their friends back home called the police.
‘I had zero contact with the outside world, so my friends called the police’
For the high-stakes game, contestants were flown out to a paradise island in the Dominican Republic, where they had to leave all contact with the outside world behind.
And that didn’t just include toothbrushes and clothes, but also phones and any way of communicating with friends and family back home.
Finance risk manager Shai had only told one person about the show, his brother, meaning the rest of his friends and family were left pretty concerned when he suddenly ‘disappeared’.
In a chat with Metro.co.uk, Shai said: ‘When I left, we weren’t allowed to tell anyone, so I didn’t.
‘One of my friends called the police, being like “Where is he?”
Shai’s friends were so worried they called the police (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
‘Luckily they contacted my brother, and he downplayed it.’
While Shai told his immediate family, his friends were left wondering where he was and some even called his work to check he was still alive.
‘In hindsight, next time I do something like this I’ll be like, I’m climbing Mount Everest.’
The 33-year-old went on: ‘So it was fun, but communication with my family and stuff was another thing I particularly missed, because obviously now I always have my phone with me and I work in a finance job, so I’m always on the phone constantly typing, and when you take it away, it’s harder than you realise.
‘Contact with home is crazy important.’
The contestants had to leave everything behind including all communication with the outside world (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
Meanwhile, other contestants had better excuses for not answering their phones.
RAF Reservist Richard has been on six month tours, with his husband used to him going away for long stretches.
‘I had a decent cover story,’ he said, with his parents, extended family and friends all assuming he was away with the RAF for another tour, while he was really filming Survivor.
‘You either become a warrior, or you starve’
Contestants had to show their competitive sides (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
While Shai thought of himself as competitive and an extrovert before going onto the show, things changed in the real setting.
He had prepared both physically and mentally ahead of filming, testing his endurance and using puzzle books to help, but the reality of living with 18 strangers tested him in a way he hadn’t expected.
‘Once we got on the island, I felt like you become a warrior, you have to become a warrior.
‘If you don’t win reward challenges, you’ll either be starving or there’s comforts you won’t get, so it’s very heightened.’
He added: ‘It’s do or die for however long you’re there, and if you fail or make one or two mistakes, then you are basically out of the game.’
‘I was left black and blue’
Injuries were inevitable (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
Fitting model Jess rose to the challenge and prepared herself both physically and mentally with training and trying to ‘get in the zone’.
‘I knew it was going to be a challenge, and I just felt ready for it,’ she told us.
However, that didn’t stop her coming home ‘black and blue’.
The 38-year-old added: ‘I came home black and blue, absolutely covered with bruises, bites, scratches and all sorts.
‘But no serious injuries, thankfully.’
Contestant Richard, 36, also suffered minor injuries, but knew that would be the case.
He said: ‘There were always going to be bumps, scrapes, things happen.
‘In terms of major [injuries], no, minor, absolutely.’
‘I tore a tendon in my shoulder – but didn’t know until I came home’
The challenges were brutal (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
As well as bruising and scratches, some contestants suffered more severe injuries – but didn’t even know at the time.
Shai actually tore a tendon in his shoulder, but only found out when he came back.
He said: ‘It’s part and parcel of it, I’m fine now but for the first month I couldn’t sleep on my shoulder.’
Shai’s shoulder injury came after a challenge, but he wasn’t able to give it a chance to heal, as he explained: ‘Your nutrition isn’t the greatest as well, so it doesn’t give your body time to repair stuff.
‘If I was eating protein for example, then I think you’re more likely to have your body recover, so once I came back and my diet was back to normal and my nutrition was typically good, it was a lot easier for me to recover from physical injuries.
‘There were always going to be bumps, scrapes’ (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
Shai went on: ‘It’s a physical game, a mental game, and psychological. I don’t think anyone came back in the same perfect condition they went in with.
‘You just have to accept it and realistically it’s a once in a lifetime chance.’
He added: ‘You’ve just got to make the most of it, you’re never going to get this opportunity again.’
‘The constant hunger was worse than I expected’
Shai, who applied for the show after being a super-fan and watching the American, Australian and South African versions, thought he knew what he was signing up to.
But the reality of the hunger was something he was not expecting.
He told us: ‘You think it will be fine, and in the interviews before they’re like, “So how are you going to deal with the hunger?” and you’re like, “Oh I’ve been hungry and not had a meal one day or whatever, or been hungry and not had a meal before bed.”
The contestants weren’t prepared for the hunger (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
‘But the constant hunger across the time you’re there takes some getting used to and I don’t think it’s something you can prepare yourself for.’
The hunger also led to hanger for many of the contestants, which became another challenge to deal with.
‘I think that although I knew what I should be prepared for, actually going through it was a different experience,’ Shai admitted.
Similarly, Richard was not expecting the hunger. He shared: ‘The hardest part for me was the separation, in everyday life we are so used to at the drop of a hat having all that information, being able to turn around and pick up a glass of water or go to the fridge where it’s always plentiful.’
‘The whole time when I was there, the bits where I was starving, I was thinking to myself, “Can I do this?”‘ he said.
‘I was shocked that there were no secret chocolate bars’
Jess hoped for secret food (Picture: BBC/Remarkable)
Jess also revealed she had no idea how hard the hunger would be, and hoped there would be secret chocolate bars for the contestants to indulge in behind-the-scenes.
She said: ‘It was harder than I ever imagined. I knew it was going to be hard, I knew that it was going to be challenging, physically and mentally, I’d prepared myself for that.
‘But sometimes, I was like, “Is there a secret chocolate bar? Am I only on these rations?”
‘I don’t think I realised how hard and real it was going to be.’
Jess also struggled with living on the beach in the open, saying: ‘I was so out of my comfort zone and obviously I was starving.
‘It was a mix of the hunger and the living on the beach and not being able to wash and brush your teeth and stuff like that.’
‘Despite how brutal it was, I’d do it all over again’
While Shai suffered a torn shoulder tendon and had his friends worrying after him, he’d do it all over again and told us he’d be keen to star in an All Stars season.
Richard echoed; ‘If I could do it all again, I absolutely would.’
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Stars of the revival have revealed what it was really like.