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Contenders in the UK version of Alone, filmed in the Dehcho. Photo: Channel 4
Contenders in the UK version of Alone, filmed in the Dehcho. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

NWT hosts new all-British season of TV show Alone


They filmed a whole season of Alone just with British people, outside Fort Providence. Episode one airs in the UK on Sunday.

You will remember Alone as the survival TV show where people get dropped off alone – the creative meeting for the title must have dragged on for ages – and then whoever lasts the longest without tapping out is the winner.

Contenders can also be dragged off the show against their will if they fail certain medical criteria, usually a loss in body weight if they can’t find enough food.

Alone has been set in the Northwest Territories multiple times in the past, but those were North American editions with American or Canadian competitors. This new season? All 11 contenders are British and the show will air first on British network Channel 4.



The winner gets 100,000 British pounds, roughly the equivalent of $170,000.

If you want to watch, using a VPN to access Channel 4 is probably the best way. Whether a Canadian network will pick up the British version of Alone wasn’t immediately clear.

Full disclosure: this article is being written by a Brit who would last about three days on this show. But that’s two days more than most of my British friends so let’s be clear, dropping 11 Brits in the NWT wilderness seems like a recipe for disaster – and great television.

Filming took place in the Dehcho outside Fort Providence last summer and fall. (We know this because someone helping the film crew told us. A reporter was halfway to Fort Providence before we got an anxious call asking us to turn around as we weren’t supposed to have been tipped off.)



Each competitor gets their own 10 square-kilometre grid, a GPS device, and 10 survival items from a list of 53 options.

They are each given five cameras with a range of mounts, and almost all of the footage you see is shot by the competitors themselves.

“All of the shelters were dismantled and all traps and snares located and removed once a competitor tapped out,” Channel 4 stated.

In the first episode, the broadcaster says, competitors get an early introduction to bears and wolves then race to get their shelters built. One contender “comes face-to-face with the predator she fears most” while another suffers an injury.

One contestant “tries foraging and discovers a taste for pine sap, even if it reminds him of toilet cleaner,” Channel 4 wrote in a press release.

In a moment, we’ll introduce you to some of the Brits who star in the show.

First, here’s a review from UK newspaper The Guardian.

“In order to maintain the alone part of Alone, the contestants have to film themselves, which results in a lot of talking about the stuff that they missed filming, because they were whittling themselves a toothbrush,” writes The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson.



“The whole thing looks like it’s been shot by a child let loose with the camcorder at a 90s wedding. After sunset, it’s pure Blair Witch night vision, as nobody can sleep, because they’re too busy whispering ‘oh my god oh my god oh my god’ over snapping twigs and heavy breathing. It is amazingly tense.”

Nicholson, who has seen some of the North American version, adds: “I wondered if it would feel different with British contestants. The early arrogance and certainty that Man Will Conquer is not quite so pronounced, perhaps, but it is basically the same.

“It turns out that there are only a set number of storylines that Alone can follow – injury, hunger, mental decline and the inevitable humbling – but I find that soothing. It reiterates the fact that nature is not there to be conquered by a wild swimming instructor or a PR executive or a retired life coach, but at best it might allow itself to be quietly respected for a brief period of time.”

On to the 11 contenders, then – among them a wild swimming instructor, a PR executive and a retired life coach.

Alan. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Alan, 43, woodland manager

Alan, a father of two who is autistic, sells ethically sourced meat and teaches outdoor skills.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “He finds solace in the outdoors, is a keen forager and loves cooking, writing and passionately debating politics.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “Someone’s rang me up and said, ‘Listen, this is what we’re going to do: we’re going to give you the resources you need, we’re going to provide a safety team, we’re going to pay for your flights, and we’re going to put you in the wilderness with no-one else around for as long as you can possibly stand.’ I was like, ‘What?’ There’s absolutely no way I wouldn’t do that, I just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t do that. Unless of course they were so incompetent that they thought they might die, which is understandable.”

Elise. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Elise, 32, PR executive

Elise runs Woman With Altitude, a project that raises money for charity by copying the exploits of forgotten female adventurers. She seeks to “show that all women have a place in the male-dominated adventure world.”



Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Having suffered with anxiety and panic attacks since moving to London, 11 years ago, Elise has found that reconnecting with nature has been instrumental in her recovery.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “I have never been to a wilderness like this. I have never experienced bears or moose or anything like that. I don’t know what they sound like. I also have no previous bushcraft or survival experience – I’ve never made a fire without matches, I’ve never used an axe, chopped down a tree or built a shelter before. So yeah, it’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve ever done, and probably will ever do.”

Eva. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Eva, 24, healthcare project manager

Eva comes into the show with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can cause her to suffer chronic indigestion and heartburn, joint pain, scoliosis and dizziness. Even so, she is described as an “outdoor obsessive” who loves rock climbing, hiking and camping.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “[Her] life-changing diagnosis has also made her realize how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “The fishing definitely worries me a bit as the size of the Canadian fish seem to be pretty big and scary compared to the stuff back home.”

Javed. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Javed, 58, business coach and mentor

Javed is a scientist turned consultant who uses his love of extreme sports to fundraise for local charities. He says he’s fitter now, approaching 60, than he was 20 years ago.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Javed was brought up in Birmingham as one of seven children to first-generation immigrant parents from Pakistan. He and his family didn’t spend much time in the outdoors when he was a child, and he didn’t learn to swim or ride a bike until his late 20s. He didn’t know about the existence of caving or other extreme sports until he went away to university – it was here that his love for outdoor adventure was born.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “I quite like building camp fires and I am going to get a chance to build a fire every day now, and try lots of different fire-lighting techniques. I am interested in seeing what all the wildlife is going to be like. It’s certainly different to the animals in northern England. We don’t get a lot of bears, wolves, moose or bison back home. I expect there might be some of them around where I set up camp … so I am curious about how that will feel.”



Kian. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Kian, 19, student

Kian is a “self-confessed survival nerd” who is also good at judo. He’s the youngest person on the show.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “He is currently at university, where his subject is War Studies. His real passion, though, is the wilderness. He’s read multiple books and attended several courses.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “Just standing out on the banks of the Mackenzie, I feel a tingle from my toes to the tip of my head every now and then, and I can’t tell if it’s fear, excitement or a mixture of both. It’s also hugely terrifying because I have to just grapple with the fact this may be the most amazing thing I ever do in my entire life, and I’ve hopefully got another 20, 30, 40, 50 years ahead.”

Laura. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Laura, 40, entrepreneur

Laura used to run a beauty salon but gave up “her bling lifestyle in an attempt to find the real Laura.”

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Laura went through a massive transformation as she reached her 30s, discovering the outdoors, fitness and adventure. Since then, she has taken on several endurance events, including rowing the Atlantic.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “I love a routine, I’m very methodical and I like scenario-planning and thinking of solutions. I’m also really good at self-care – looking after my body, because I’m a runner and I exercise – so that helps me stay injury-free. Plus I keep my mind healthy. So I’m looking forward to taking those strengths and skills out with me, because it’s not all about axe-work and knife, it’s about looking after my feet, looking after my mind and getting lots of sleep as well.”

Louie. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Louie, 28, builder

Louie loves wild swimming, camping and mountain climbing, and his dream has been to be dropped off alone in the middle of nowhere.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “A few years ago, Louie had a serious motorbike crash, which meant he couldn’t work for a year. He spent all of his savings on bills and couldn’t get out of the house. The feeling of helplessness Louie experienced after his accident is something he never wants to go through again.”



Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “A lot of people will expect me to build a huge amazing shelter straight away, but that’s not going to be the case. I’m going to kind-of build slow and, when I’ve got the calories to pay for the materials, as such, I’ll put an extension on it. That’s my tactic, so I’ve always got something to do. The last thing I want to do is build a big shelter and then just sit there for however long.”

Mike. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Mike, 49, carpenter

Mike, a father of one, is described as a master craftsman and a “kid in a grown-up’s body.”

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “In the late 80s, he was very into the acid house scene and struggled with drug addiction. It took him many years to get clean but he turned his life around and now loves spending time alone in nature, having trekked waterfalls, wild-camped and travelled around much of the world.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “I’ve just never really been that worried or concerned about the animals out there. I’ve got this strong belief that they want to stay away from us as much as we want to stay away from them.”

Naomi. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Naomi, 26, clothing designer

Naomi is a freelance outdoor clothing designer and is the studio manager of a fashion school. She has researched “clothing suitable for extreme environments.”

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Naomi has a three-year-old son who will celebrate his fourth birthday while she is away in Canada. She became a mother in her early 20s and says she is often judged for being a young mum. This has made her determined to live a life filled with adventure and opportunities.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “To be fair, if I saw a bear in the day I would think it’s the cutest thing and I would go out and want to touch it – which I won’t. The animals don’t frighten me in the day. I think the biggest thing that scares me is my own mind. So at night, if I hear a noise, I’ll just go into overdrive. I’ll instantly think it’s the worst thing in the world and they’re all coming after me.”

Pip. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Pip, 47, wild swimming coach

Pip served in the British Army for 17 years and became its first female commando (a form of special forces officer). She now helps out “at the family woodland centre.”



Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Despite being in some intense situations in the past, Pip believes she’s never really experienced a full survival situation and is keen to see how she’ll fare.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “The military has taught me to keep my stuff clean and organized, trying to make sure I know where all my kit is at one time. I think routine has always been really key for me too. I was at boarding school, so I had routine there, and the army just thrives on routine. Both of those elements are going to be beneficial for me on this experience.”

Tom. Matt Jacques/Channel 4

Tom, 39, expedition company director

Tom discovered his taste for adventure while mapping coral reefs as part of his degree. He says he has spent a long time trying to overcome bullying and a lack of confidence during his childhood.

Key quote from Channel 4 bio: “Tom was trained to deal with polar bears when he walked to the North Pole. He only encountered a mother and her cubs at long range, but after the race later learned he was being stalked by one due to prints on his ski tracks.”

Best quote from Channel 4 contestant Q&A: “I got a personal trainer for the last six weeks and started doing some core work and getting my mobility and strength better. I’ve also put on some weight. I’ve put on 18 kilos in seven weeks drinking coconut oil, double cream in my coffee, eating a lot of pork scratchings. So, getting fat and fit.”