And then it snowed
Predictably things went from bad to worse. With more people giving up, the tribe were down to 13 by the time the next show was screened on Monday.
A sudden snowstorm and freezing temperatures left them cold, wet miserable and more or less trapped in their huts. Disaster.
After consultations with the producers, it was decided to temporarily abandon the project and remove the tribe to a place of safety. With hot showers, hot food and some well-needed rest the remaining members recovered their spirits and the time was not entirely wasted.
The survival experts and the producers finally realised that two days of training to live in the Stone Age was never enough. So, in the time available while the snow poured down they tried to expand the knowledge of the group. Some tribe members used the time well. Some members, having been reminded what life in the 21st century was all about, decided to leave.
The seven remaining tribe members seemingly bonded well and appeared determined to make a success of the experiment.
Lots of positives were expounded, but could these be translated into real progress?
Finally they got back to the camp as the weather moderated. The tribe promptly decided to sack Steve. Steve is the archer and a wise head on old shoulders. How would he react?
Steve decided to leave. And then there were six.
(aside – a recent news report concerned a proposed reality TV show. The purpose of the show would be to “select” members to join a mission to Mars – where they would set up a colony. The producers seem to think they can do this for almost no money (compared to the propose NASA budget for a Mars mission). This would, at least, be more realistic than 10 000 BC. Members of the tribe just quit; they leave the camp via a four-wheel drive vehicle, and they resume a normal everyday life. Put 20 people on Mars and then we'll see who can survive! Craziest idea I've heard in some long time!)
Left with six, three men and three girls, the tribe began to struggle, despite having their food stores replenished with 10 days supply of nuts and berries and yet another deer.
They managed to skin the deer and prepare it for making deer jerky. This is a good plan for the first deer was wasted because it was soon infested with fly maggots. They even managed to wedge it up a tree overnight to prevent animals feeding on the tempting carcass.
Paul Barnes (the leader voted in after the coup to get rid of Steve Nicholson got sick. Really sick. Constant coughing and short of breath. He was removed to the medical tent for assessment. Down to five.
Of the five, one of the ladies is a vegetarian. Great call producers! She is running out of food. (I didn't spend 10 000 years clawing my way to the top of the food chain to become a vegetarian!) Digging up the required roots for carbohydrates is back-braking work with no modern tools. She is going to starve!
John Paul was helping her to dig. He announced last night that he was leaving but the whole group begged him to stay, so he remains for the time being.
Melissa more or less takes over leadership as Paul's illness prevents him from playing an active part.
This looks like it could be a blessing in disguise. It is very possible that our ancestors lived in a matriarchal society. Men are hunting all day and women are raising children. Nagging has a long and illustrious history!!
Paul eventually arrives back at the camp but he is weak.
Last word to the Mirror:
“In just eight days they caught 10 tiny crayfish and – drum roll – a mouse. Enough to reduce everyone to severe malnutrition. Yay.
As more and more of them collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital, the on-site doctor declared a thoroughly modern medical emergency. Unless these ailing losers were fed fast the show was over.
Enter the programme’s hapless staff with a mammoth meal of jerky, honey, isotonic drinks and “for the first time in days”... fresh meat. A dinosaur-size slab of venison. What, no wine? A nice Bulgarian red to wash it down?
Wearing the panicked expression of a man whose mission was falling apart at the seams, producer Rob Rawlings lied: “The aim of this experiment isn’t to watch 20 people starve. It’s to see if 20 people can survive like a Stone Age tribe.”
Now I’m no expert, but I’d hazard a guess that when the going got tough for those real-life Fred Flintstones, there was no caring camera crew ready to provide them with tasty takeaways.
In other words Rob, the answer’s no. You have emphatically established that 20 people CAN’T survive like a Stone Age tribe. Your experiment has failed. On an epic scale. Get used to it.”