The Cutting Edge

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Is Man vs Wild Fake? Give Your Opinion and Enter to Win a Free Knife

This the last day of our Bear Grylls contest.  See the contest rules at the bottom and enter to with a Bear Grylls’ Signature Ultimate Multi-Tool.

Bear GryllsIf you’re a Bear Grylls fan, you’re likely an avid viewer of Man vs Wild, where Bear battles the wilderness while exhibiting his top-notch survival skills.  The show features a number of incredible scenes, from Bear lassoing wild mustangs to traversing  a lava-filled volcano.  However, in recent years, critics have identified a number of inconsistencies in the program, leading some to allege that Bear is misleading his viewers.

What’s the Man vs Wild Controversy About?

Critics of the show start by pointing to the premise as being contrived.  Most Man vs Wild episodes consist of Bear parachuting into a harsh climate, surviving for a number of days, and then eventually venturing to safety.  Many say the show is framed to make viewers believe that Bear is alone in the wilderness, when in fact he consistently has aid from a camera crew.

In addition, prior to entering a new setting, it has been revealed that Bear and his team perform weeks of recognizance, briefing Bear on possible locations where he can peform survival skills.

“I get a really good briefing before we go,” Bear said.  “I know there’s a big river there, there’s going to be a great cliff climb there, there’s loads of snakes in those rocks, watch out for an alligator.  So, I do have a good idea of 80 percent of what’s going to happen.”

Does Bear stay in hotels?

There have also been allegations, which are fairly substantiated, that Bear sometimes stays at hotels during survival missions.  According to a 2007 article in the Daily Mail, Bear stayed at the Pines Resort Hotel in the Sierra Nevada mountains during an episode in which he bit the head off a snake and boasted that he was living on “just a water bottle, a cup and a flint for making fire.”

In an additional episode, where Grylls was supposedly stuck on a desert island, he was actually on a Hawaiian archipelago, where he retired to a motel at night.

Faking Scenes

There have also been two allegations that Bear faked scenes in his shows.  In an episode where Bear is supposedly lassoing wild mustangs, it was revealed that the mustangs were actually tame animals from a nearby ranch.

One of the most controversial episodes involves Bear traversing an active volcano in Hawaii.  According to reporting by the Times in London, smoke generators were used off-screen to make smoke fumes, and molten magma was supplemented by burning hot coals that were brought in by the production team.

A fan site of Survivorman, a survival show that features Canadian bushman Les Stroud, posted a video debunking the episode (shown below).

Lastly, a survival consultant who worked on Man vs Wild revealed that in one episode, the production crew built a raft, which Bear would later claim on camera to have constructed himself.

Response from Bear and Man vs Wild

Few , if any of the allegations made by Bear’s critics have been denied by Bear or the Discovery Channel, which airs the show.  Instead, Bear and the network have said that the show never claimed that Bear was unassisted in his survival techniques and issued the following statement.

“The programme explicitly does not claim that presenter Bear Grylls’ experience is one of unaided solo survival.  For example, he often directly addresses the production team, including the cameraman, making it clear he is receiving an element of back-up.”

The Discovery Channel also said that future episodes would have a disclaimer at the beginning stating that Grylls had assistance, and since the controversy, Grylls states on camera when he receives help.

Public Response

Though some viewers felt betrayed by revelations that parts of Man vs Wild was faked, the controversy did little to affect the shows popularity.  It still attracts hundreds of millions of viewers across the world.

Win Bear’s Knife, Get Tough

We’re currently giving away a Bear Grylls’ signature 12-component ultimate multi-tool and to win all you need to do is advise Bear on how to get out of the following situation, which, considering his reputation, is totally realistic.

Bear is standing on a rock in the middle of the Amazon River wearing nothing but camouflage briefs. On one bank there is a nest full of anacondas. On the other, there is a vicious-looking jaguar. The river is full of piranhas.

Bear has possession of the following things: a coconut, a monkey, two Budweiser bottles and 10 palm leaves, in addition to his Ultimate Multi-Tool with 12 components. Give Bear advice on how to escape to safety by entering your answer in the comment field below.

You must submit your entry (and you can only submit one) prior to Friday 10 p.m. Central Time. Then, we’ll pick our top three favorites and publish them on the blog for readers to vote on. Be creative. Be imaginative. Good luck!

Daniel Lawton

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  1. Man vs Wild is awesome, He is legit … He might be using a studio to use some of his acts that he couldnt find in real life, but I think most of it is real.

  2. i wouldn’t say fake or real. the whole point of the show is to show you what to do in certain situations.

  3. They do state that he receives help from his crew so they are being honest. So in that light it’s not fake just not that hardcore

  4. Well even so they all have crews with them. Just lime man woman wild they have a crew. Only one that may not is survivorman. It really dont matter to much its a learning experience. To me it shows what can and cant be done. No biggy if its part fake or not.

  5. He gets help when he needs it though

  6. it is not fake if it was dont u think he would not care as much…

  7. He only gets help when he really need it. Other wise he is allay helping them( with carrying cams and helping get past obstacles)

  8. No I don’t think “Man VS Wild” is fake. I believe it all is real because the stuff he goes through couldn’t be replicated in a studio. If he needs help yea the crew will help him, but there is no way that it’s fake. The crew, they just are there to film and help him if he needs help. I think he feed and provides for the crew while they are in all thies places. I have learned alot about survival from this show and a few others. I pesonally dont believe that this show or the others are fake or made up.

  9. not fake only when he needs it.

  10. I think it is yes and no. I think Bear dose the stunts himself where he is and dose the stuff you see on TV, but i think the sole purpose of the show is to show you the techniques of how to survive if you were in this situation. Bear was a British spec op soldier or something like that, so i think he is more than physically qualified to do the stunts he does. Lets face it your not going to see all of the situations faced in the shows but if you did i for one would like to know the techniques. As for the camera crew, so what is there a rule that says there cant be one, so what they have safety gear and food and water, and so if Bear gets some of it. Like i have previously stated the sole purpose i think is to just show the techniques. You dont want him to die do you? These are just my views on some accusations i have heard for all i know he could do everything, but personally i think the sole purpose is to show the techniques and i think he dose a good job at that. hey, sure does beat survivor man.

  11. Real, but… he shows you how an ex-military guy would survive. When he goes running down the side of Mountains, and swimming across a rushing river, that’s just a good way to get hurt and never rescued. I think his show is for entertainment only!! If you want to learn REAL survival tactics, watch Survivor Man. Just my opinion.

  12. I think it is yes and no,he dose his own stunts and may help the camera crew,but I have also herd that he has admitted to faking some stunts and scenes so you must take what you see with a grain of salt.Also,I think that he is just trying to show you how to do some stuff that you may one day encounter if you are an outdoors enthusiast like me,but I think some of the stunts he pulls are a bit rash,and to be honest quite stupid,he ,in my opinion should try and teach other people that have not had his special military training how to SAFELY get of a mountain or out of the amazon or whatever,not make it look cool,and even though he has done some stuff like stay in a hotel while filming,he should go tough it out and stay out in the bush like all the rest of us would just try and not stray far from the real hard truth that you are in the wild,so STAY in the wild,I am not saying that he always stays in a hotel or in a camper,I am sure that he dose not,but that I thing he has strayed kind of far from the truth for better TV,and i probably would to,but you must remember that people will and have relied on information that you have given them through TV so just be considerate of what you do,because some of the people that watch your show are couch potatoes I am sure,that is in no way meant to hurt anyone just to say that there are people that do not have the training that you have.survivor man had it going there,but he is out of it now,alone for a week,carrying your one cameras,that is REAL survival,not to say that yours is not,just to say…well to put it bluntly…he was better then a finer tone,he HAD to survive,he had no team,I am sure that he had a panic button,if he didn’t then he is a fool,but his show didn’t consist of daring feats that can get the ordinary person hurt or mortally wounded,he was smart,he tried to stay in the place that he was dropped off at,as to simulate a wreak if he couldn’t THEN he moved on if he could then he stayed and waited for rescue,then he switched over to if you did move on and how to get out safely.there lies the core problem with the show man vs. wild,but decide for yourself what to make of it.
    thank you

  13. Fake-how can you truly battle the elements with a camera crew attached to your every move?

  14. some situations are set up to show u what to do so their fake…….but others are real

  15. no but there is a safety crew there to help out

  16. id say fairly real

  17. William b Stauffer

    April 30, 2011 at 7:45 am

    No way is what this man does is fake!!!!!! He may have a camera crew but he has the guts to put his life on the line to entertain and educate the viewer. And kudos to anyone filming him because he most certainly puts them into some hairy situations!!! Keep going man!!!!!!!!!!

  18. well he has the cameras, there is no crew, so i say real

  19. yea real it ant hard to survie with a shotgun an a fire

  20. though not all of it is real it is all still useful stuff to know me and a few of my cousins do a survival trip in the winter and bring nothing but two tarps sleeping bags and twenty twos the only other stuff we have to rely on is the skills we learned from watching all of Man vs Wild especially the winter ones. SO KEEP IT UP BEAR I need those skills

  21. come on now its FAKE FICTIONAL what ever you want to call it ok remember when he did one show he said he was miles and mile awy and if you looked in the back ground you wound see a highway and a semi truck going right throe it.
    ITS FAKE!!!!!

  22. read my comment on this all the way at the bottom but really funny but true

  23. fake-ass limey

    How can you say this isn’t hardcore?

  25. The whole point of the show is to show you what to do if you were in that situation in the begining they tell you he gets help either bear grylls is awesome ….and gotta love the british accent =D

  26. bear grylls is awesome. you cant tell me most of the stuff he does isn’t real. Hes done so much training in his life b/w climbing Mount Everest, martial arts, and being in the military. i don’t care if some of the stuff he does isn’t ALWAYS real. like it was said before the point of the show is to show you how to survive. why would he sacrifice his life with his wife and children just to make the show 100% legit for you…. i sure as heck wouldn’t.

  27. Anyone who thinks this is a real survival show is a fucking idiot. Sure he’s a cool guy and all and I have total respect for the things he’s done in his life but if you think this is real go try squeezing water out of some cow pies and see how far it gets you.

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