Survival show contestant from Saffron Walden shares view on ‘controversial’ wealthy and working class divide

PUBLISHED: 14:48 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 09 April 2018

Tan Avital stars on The Island with Bear Grylls. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Tan Avital stars on The Island with Bear Grylls. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


A man from Saffron Walden who appeared on the latest series of The Island with Bear Grylls said it was the “toughest experience” of his life, but disagreed with the “controversial” decision to divide the two teams into wealthy and working class.

Nathaniel ‘Tan’ Avital was one of 16 participants to be abandoned on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean for the fifth series of the TV show.

Tan, 27, said he went on the show as a challenge, but he didn’t realise how emotionally challenging it would be.

Tan said: “Nobody really gets this opportunity to push yourself to your absolute limits and really understand what you’re capable of.

“It was absolutely amazing, but the toughest experience I’ve ever had.

“We didn’t eat anything for 10 days - we have so much these days, I’ve never experienced that hunger before. It totally takes over your body.

“It was incredibly physically and mentally challenging.”

Tan, who works as a donation manager in Cambridge, was selected from about 50,000 applicants and each series features two groups who go head-to-head to see who can last the longest on the island.

This series sees a divide of ‘wealthy’ versus ‘working class’, with the two teams split between those who have an average wage of £100,000 and those who earn less than £27,000 annually.

On being selected for the show, Tan said: “I think it’s because I’m quite ambitious. I think anybody can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.”

However, Tan said he thinks the ‘rich versus poor’ divide was controversial since those in the ‘rich’ group were meant to be earning more than £100,000 and many were not.

Tan said: “I don’t think it’s a fair theme - not everybody was earning £100,000 a year, we had a junior doctor on our team who certainly didn’t earn that. Also, people forget £100,000 is the average.

“In the application process we were given the impression that it was a test on the wealth spectrum - I thought it would be people at different stages of their career.

“I don’t think it’s a real, clear cut, fair experiment. It’s a controversial divide and I don’t think that the experiment met its actual purpose and I knew as soon as I met the other group that we would be slated.

“People are now writing comments assuming that I earn £100,000 - it’s an average and the scale of earning on each team should be taken with a pinch of salt.”

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