Reality Show Set in Wilderness Taken Off Air, but No One Tells Contestants for Months

Left to right - Robert, Andrew,
Courtesy of todd antony/glenn dearing/Channel 4

LONDON — The contestants of a British reality show that marooned them in the wilderness for a year as a social experiment have returned to civilization — only to discover the series was taken off air several months ago and no one bothered to tell them.

The Channel 4 program, “Eden,” assembled 23 men and women and dispatched them to a remote corner of the Scottish Highlands, where they were told to set up a self-sufficient community. The group was cut off from any contact with the outside world, and had to “decide on their own rules and laws, build their own shelter, grow their own food and raise their own livestock,” according to a statement released when the show was first announced.

The year-long experiment was recorded by a four-strong crew as well as personal cameras and a fixed rig. Four episodes of the show – covering March, April and May – were broadcast last summer. But ratings slipped from 1.7 million to 800,000, leading Channel 4 to pull the plug on further updates.

No one bothered to tell the remaining contestants, who reportedly endured boredom and infighting, were reduced at one point to eating chicken feed, and only emerged last week from their less than splendid isolation to discover that their fellow Brits voted to leave the European Union and Donald Trump was elected president of the United States.

Channel 4 has not commented on the situation except to say that it would air footage covering the whole “experiment” later this year.

“The appeal of ‘Eden’ is that it was a real experiment, and when filming began we had no idea what the results would be and how those taking part would react to being isolated for months in a remote part of the British Isles,” the channel said in a statement. “That’s why we did it, and the story of their time, including the highs and the lows, will be shown later this year.”

According to media reports, there were plenty of lows. Thirteen of the 23 contestants quit the show during the year as sexual jealousy, infighting and hunger took their toll. Tara Zieleman, the first to quit, claimed she had been bullied, while local residents said that contestants were caught smuggling in junk food and alcohol and that some had been treated by a local dentist after eating chicken feed laced with grit.

“It has not done this area any favors – it has just not lived up to expectations,” local resident Maria Macpherson was quoted as saying.

None of the 10 contestants who stuck it out to the end has spoken out yet about the experience.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 12

Leave a Reply

12 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Rob Alexander says:

    The show was cancelled, but they did not stop production. They kept filming like always and just didn’t tell the contestants that the rest of the footage would not be aired. Big Whoop. The contestants filmed a few months that won’t be aired. Stuff like that happens all the time in the world of reality TV. This is a story about a whole lot of nothing, with a misleading headline.

  2. 1. What happened to the ones that quit? Did someone come and pick them up….maybe even one at a time…..and each time STILL conveniently forget to tell the others who stayed that the “experiment” was over?

    2. Did the camera crew that was left there also not know anything about it being cancelled? Were they “cut off” from society also? Did none of them know that the show was over?

    3. If they “smuggled” alcohol and junk food from somewhere, then they had contact with the “outside world.”

    4. If I was one of the ones who stayed till the end, I would sue the network AND each of the other contestants who left and didn’t make the network stop the stupid and go back and get everyone else.

    This has so many holes in it, it doesn’t even make sense…….

  3. TJ says:

    You’ve misused the word “recuse” to try and sound articulate :)

    Thanks Jeff Sessions lol

    @AmandaSue2

  4. GB says:

    This headline is false and misleading. The show was not cancelled. The contestants were not led high and dry. Stop trying to create clickbait!

  5. AmandaSue2 says:

    These kind of “reality” shows are deceptive. These contestants are surrounded with technology and a myriad of ways to keep in touch with the “outside” world. There are cameras, lighting and sound equipment, medical/dental care, advisors and then, all the “money guys”, keeping an eye on things…. there’s gotta be generators, or a source of electricity or power somewhere – so, these people are NOT on their own! If they were TRULY “surviving”, the outside world would never know about it, until/unless someone happened upon them or they were recused. They’d be considered missing individuals and people would be searching for them…. these shows are bullshit!

  6. kat0711 says:

    Lol this is so funny I want to see it!

  7. “Dammit! I knew I shouldn’t have let the interns handle this!!”

  8. jbernoff says:

    Sounds like a publicity stunt.

  9. Michelle says:

    Yikes!

  10. Grayson33 says:

    The show was cancelled several months back and no one inform the contestants? AND all of the footage is going to air later this year? Uh, lawsuit anyone???

  11. Ken M says:

    I’ve seen a whole season of this show, it wasn’t so bad. The religious ending was weird and I’ve never seen one of those Aztec vehicles the bald guy won.

More TV News from Variety

Loading