A few weeks ago finished one of the best TV programmes that I’ve seen lately. Unfortunately, I didn’t had the chance to follow the weekly broadcast, but I could catch up watching all the programmes online.
The name of the programme is ‘Tough guy or chicken’ and it’s been created and broadcasted by the BBC. It is a kind of reality show programme but without famous people or individuals aiming to be famous. And also, the main objective of the programme is to show different cultures and places in the world rather than showing a competition in between individuals, even though there’s a competition.
‘Five young brits are heading the bare world’, that’s the sentence that resumes the programme. They’ll face different challenges all around the world, and every challenge will require strong mental and physical skills. It’s the survival of the fittest, nor the strongest.
The first stage is Ecuador and the local cowboys whom have to drive their flock of brave bulls at 4000 metres of altitude. Some of them won’t resist the tough duties they’re asked to do and, step by step, three of them will be out of this first competition.
Next is Siberia. They’ll have to do something similar like they did in Ecuador, but now they’re facing temperatures of -50ºC and driving flocks of reindeers. Again, they don’t only have to show physical skills but respect and adapt themselves to different lifestyles; they’ll have to eat animal brains in order to withstand the cold.
The third programme takes the guys to Mexico. They’ll have to dive into subterranean caves, completely blind and with the unique help of a rope. Orientation and keeping themselves concentrated at all times will be key points to pass this stage.
After Mexico they go to Brazilian Amazon. They’ll have to take the same physical, mental and spiritual tests as the youths of an aboriginal tribe take when they step from being a child to being a man. They’ll have to take natural drugs, hunt crocodiles, snakes and let themselves be beaten by carnivorous ants.
Then it comes Namibia. The desert. No water, no food, and very long walks in the search of them under a very hot sun. And at night, they’ll have to face cold and wild predators. They’ll be dehydrated, tired, and they’ll have to spend one night alone trying to make fire to frighten off the predators. Only one will achieve that.
Bahamas is one of the most amazing episodes. They’ll have to swim with sharks. Step by step they’ll learn how these animals behave and one of them will manage to hold one of them and to stroke one specimen.
Afterwards they go to Bangladesh. This is one of the most dangerous episodes, where a mistake can mean a sure, instantaneous and painful death. They’ll have to catch a deadly cobra with the help of one of the best snake charmers in the world.
Lastly, they go to Japan.They’ll have just six days to become Buddhist Yamabushi monks and take part in one of the toughest pilgrimages on the planet. Both physical and mental tiredness after four months of travelling and challenging will be a plus to the tests that the Japanese monks put them.
Why is it a good programme?
It is mainly because it’s aim is to show people different cultures and nature, but also because it gives a contrasted viewpoint between British (western) citizens and people from all over the world. And the challenge of the contenders is not only to pass the tests, but also to convince their local trainers that they understand they way of life that they’re learning and that they respect it by adapting themselves to it.
But also, the viewer can tell the huge differences and similarities that exist in between people who live in extreme climatic situations. In example, the Buddhist monk understands as a personal defeat that one of the guys cannot continue the challenge, and he openly starts to cry, because he knows that the British guy wants to continue but he’s not physically strong enough to do so.
So, if the programme is seen as something more than simple challenges for western civilised people, the viewer can learn and understand loads of different ways of thinking and living. It is full edutainment.