ok – its been a busy time but all great.
Ok so after seven seasons of huge adventure and many narrow escapes, we have wrapped up Man Vs Wild (for now!)
My Grandpa always used to say you have to finish things that you love five minutes too early rather than too late and that it is always best to finish strong. So in line with this, the time to start planning some new shows has come!
My goal remains the same: to make programmes that are high-adventure based, that empower people to survive in the wild and that continue to push the boundaries. So, on that front, watch this space!
In the meantime we have launched my autobiography Mud Sweat & Tears and in the UK and Australia it has hit the Sunday Times number 1 bestseller. I am so touched by people’s response to the book and never in my dreams did I actually believe it would even become a bestseller, let alone number 1 for 10 weeks – so thank you!
I have been busy recently supporting Scouts all around the world – that great worldwide force for good, some 28 million young people strong! What a privilege to be Chief Scout and to encourage young people to get out there, to live boldly and to follow their dream.
As a movement we are now growing like never before, and with the great encouragement and support from HRH Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, we are continuing to bring adventure to those who might never normally get such an opportunity.
I had the great honour recently of escorting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to take the Parade of some of the world’s top scouts who had achieved their Queen’s Scout Awards, at Windsor castle. Once again, a huge privilege to celebrate so many young people’s incredible achievements.
I have also been asked to represent TeamGB as we head into the Olympics 2012, along with 10 other UK Ambassadors. I feel super proud to have been asked to represent both our incredible athletes and our proud nation to the world.
I am going to be carrying the Olympic torch as well, as part of the relay to London – how and where and when we are keeping a secret for now, but the main goal is to keep the flame alight during the stunt!
We also had a blast launching TeamGB at the Albert Hall last week, rappelling the 180ft down from the roof of one of the world’s most remarkable buildings, and almost knocking out Prince William in the process!
Other updates: we now have a totally wild Bear Grylls movie in development which has been exciting to see come together, and we will announce details of this soon.
The BG clothing range has also been extended and launched into America. Our BG Gerber range of survival kit and knives is also growing hugely internationally, as well as continuing to maintain its lead position in USA as the biggest selling outdoor knife in the market.
Thank you to both teams for your continuing commitment to innovate, test, prove and then allow me to destroy! In line with our philosophy, all our gear is wrecked then rated. I like that. My life, and other lives, depend on the kit being the best it can be.
We are launching an exciting new BG game app to accompany our Bear Essentials Apps in June, as well as announcing a brand new partnership in the paddleboard space.
This BG Coreban range is primed to be the most innovative range of inland survival paddle-boards and accessories available, and I am so pleased we got this range made. There is so much adventure to be had with these and the prototypes look amazing! (More to follow.)
As a team, we have also partnered with Bushnell’s to bring out a great new line of Bear Grylls adventure GPS’s and binoculars. (More to follow.) These will be available soon – and even better – all these new and existing products will then be available from our own dedicated on-line store, as well as the normal high street shops and superstores.
Finally, we have finished the last of our BG Live stage shows, having performed to arenas in Australia, Scandinavia, the USA and UK.
They were, at times, full on and a little scary, but it has been so much fun to get to share some of the skills and stories with fans live on stage, and I am so grateful for such fan support in return.
So all in all, the team is growing in line with our values of empowering others to explore. And as for the new TV shows… well, watch this space!!
Thank you again for your loyalty and encouragement.
Oh, and a ps: I have been approached by Madame Tussards to have a BG waxwork done, but I am already worried about the day I then get melted down! So should I go ahead and agree to having it done!?
From the US edition of Mud Sweat & Tears… enjoy! (PRE-ORDER NOW)
Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since.
I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since.
But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen.
As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal.
But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong.
Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant.
The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too.
The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up.
I mean, what does a child know about faith?
It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known.
Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about.
Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg.
I was devastated.
I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life.
‘Please, God, comfort me.’
Blow me down … He did.
My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.)
To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies.
This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes.
The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life.
This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being.
Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree.
I had found a calling for my life.
This year has been a crazy one for us as a team but fun as well – despite
the odd nasty injury amongst the crew from various wilderness incidents!
But through it all we have emerged smiling.
We wrapped up season six of Man Vs Wild with some of the strongest shows
we have ever done, including eps from Borneo, New Zealand, iceland, Utah
Personal favourite from man Vs Wild for me was the Jake Gyllenhaal ep and
the behind the scenes show which is a real testament to how hard the crew
work and the risks they take alongside me.
We also started a new TV series for Channel Four in the UK called: Bear’s
Wild Weekends, where I took well known UK personalities on a wild
adventure! These included Miranda Hart in the Alps and Jonathan Ross in
the jungle. These produced the highest rating TV for Channel Four over the
Christmas period and are shows that I loved shooting.
We also have greatly extended our Bear Grylls Survival range of kit with
Gerber and the lead item, the Bear Grylls Ultimate knife became the
biggest selling knife in the world. A testament to the massive research
and testing we put the knife through on many many episodes of Man Vs Wild
and Born Survivor. Watch out for all the new gear out this coming year!
The clothing range of Bear kit with Craghoppers has also really
consolidated this year with some of our best survival and mountain gear
available. I am so proud of how this gear has stacked up in some of the
toughest environments on the planet and I love hearing fans’ stories of
using the kit in the extremes, Keep the stories coming!
We also started a world tour with the Bear Grylls Live stage shows -
starting in Australia where we sold out. It was a total honour to get time
to hang out and meet so many fans and young people who have loved the show
over many years. I found these evenings very moving and always love
hearing people’s adventures.
The shows are a mix of past expeditions, some military stuff, the Man Vs
Wild journey, including behind the scenes and much more. We had snakes,
fire and stunts, so I was always happy!
These Live shows now go to Norway, the UK and then USA. I can’t wait to
keep meeting people all over the world who have been encouraged by Man Vs
Wild, and I am always so grateful for so much support in return.
It has also been a busy year as Chief Scout, and I have loved meeting so
many Scout groups from all over the world. Whenever we have been filming
in some remote wilderness, I always make sure we get to hang out a little
with the local Scouts afterwards and their stories are always inspiring.
The highlight for me though was definitely the opening ceremony of the
World Scout jamboree with 45,000 Scouts from every country on earth
gathered together celebrating Scouting. So much energy, hope and
enthusiasm, and all in the pouring rain! (Or Scouting sunshine as we call
Some Scouts had cycled or walked from as far away as Kenya! Now that is
Indeed, as Scouts, we stand for something special: Friendships, family,
faith and adventure.
We also launched my autobiography Mud Sweat & Tears this year, which spent
nine weeks at the No 1 in the Bestseller List. (To my amazement!!) The
book tells my story from growing up, through to my time with 21 SAS,
Everest, other expeditions and then Man Vs Wild. We launch the book in
America in May.
This year we also filmed commercials for Degree and Sure deodorant, as
well as Dockers and Persil. Always fun messing about on set with good
The goal for this year is keep safe, get time with my family and keep
filming exciting TV shows that God willing inspire others.
It ain’t rocket science. Luckily!