Show Discussion: Survivor UK

By | October 27, 2023

Saturdays and Sundays after Strictly (8-ish),
BBC1 and iPlayer

21 years since we last did it, the BBC resurrects Survivor with Joel Dommett, 18 players will try and survive the elements AND EACH OTHER for 34 days to win £100,000… cash. a £900,000 reduction in prize from the original, but six days fewer so that’s alright then.

I mean we all know what Survivor is, I’ve written already that I think this ought to be perfectly decent but I think it’s been scheduled quite badly. We have yet to find out how much Joel Dommett will lean in to Jeff Probst-isms but I’m prepared to kick my telly in if he uses “zip”. A journalist will inevitably write something trite like “the viewers have spoken” when it starts clashing with I’m a Celeb in November. I’m expecting this series have basic, light twists like hidden idols but I don’t think you’ll be seeing Mario Party like you get in the US.

I have set up a #survivorchat channel in the Discord, but feel free to let us know what you think in the comments.

36 thoughts on “Show Discussion: Survivor UK

  1. Brig Bother Post author

    I want this to be good. Genuinely I do. But ultimately I fear as a “new” format it’s not offering anything we haven’t seen in the missing twenty years – survival has been done, voting people out is passe, the fact it practically invented these things sadly not that relevant. It might be because I’m Survivor-ed out (blame the Aussie version on Prime), but if I didn’t say I was feeling an element of *shrug* for tomorrow, I’d be lying.

  2. Kass

    I’m personally really excited for this.

    As long as they don’t attempt to be Big Brother In A Jungle, and appreciate the evolution that US has done, I’ll be really happy.

    (So basically I’m expecting Australian Survivor 2016 again.)

    1. Greg

      Why do we need music in the background of every single thing going on?

      Joel’s comedy vibe is also not welcome here

      Why do we onscreen graphics of the tribe name?

      This is so far from what I wanted 🙁 and what I expect from Survivor majorly disappointed already. People making this clearly do not understand the show . I’m actually embarrassed this is the UK representation of Survivor.

  3. Greg

    I hate this constant background music and odd sound effects. I have not been so annoyed by a TV show since the Crystal Maze reboot. I know what this could have been and we get this. It worse than I had imagined it ever would be.

  4. Kass

    Thoughts about Episode 1:

    Yeah, that was definitely not too good.

    Massive shame they couldn’t get Ancient Voices on. The generic theme is really nothing special, and Ancient Voices would definitely help the show stand out in the sound department.

    I like the selection of challenges, clearly they had a lot of inspiration from US and Australia, glad to see some classic iconic challenges soon to come that haven’t been seen for a long time in America.
    They’ve also clearly nicked the contestant introduction videos from Australia as well, though the Australian episodes are longer so they don’t take up as much of the run time there.

    The editing was rather appalling, especially for the tribe life after the Immunity Challenge section – ideally that would be one of the major parts of the episode, instead it was crammed into a 5 minute brief with red herrings for the Tribal Council vote being blatantly and suddenly stated with no context or reason for them – very very bad form, but I still hold hope it’s some premiere episode teething problems.

    Poor Richard, great shame he went first as he seemed like someone that would be interested in being strategic down the line, very sad early casualty.

    Overall, very mixed feelings about the episode, not something I was hoping for, but hopefully they can still recover and deliver a quality product.

  5. Brig Bother Post author

    I liked it. As someone who has watched a lot of quite stodgy Survivor (Aussie and South African ones) this felt light and fresh, it’s almost the entire opposite of our rather more po-faced one from twenty years ago. It’s not like The Crystal Maze where we’re getting less game for our buck, and seeing as 90% the country won’t know anything to do with Survivor (other than it’s a thing that exists) it makes sense to begin with the basics.

    I was certainly surprised with the more pop-rock soundtrack they’ve tended to employ, and I was certainly surprised when we started getting narration from Joel, and then even more surprised when he started throwing jokes in – a host that doesn’t just keep repeating the same phrases over and over, what a revelation. A sixty minute programme that didn’t feel dull or outstay its welcome – it definitely felt like more screentime was given over to the challenges which I’m fine with, but yes the lack of camp drama/scrambling was noticeable and it has to be said that neither of the first two Tribal Councils *felt* especially dramatic – having found myself OK with the soundtracking for the main part of the show, it felt a bit off during TC, which really is the bit you need to get right unfortunately. They could do with doing more confessionals early doors, I’m still not entirely sure I can remember all their names.

    Seeing the lighter tone it’s gone for I understand its place after Strictly a bit more, but I still think it’s the wrong place for it in the schedule.

  6. Andy

    As a bit of a super-fan, I surprise myself by enjoying Episode 1 despite the changes they’ve made for the UK market.

    The only one I’m not sure about is the narration, but I enjoyed the music actually. It felt like they were trying to mix The Traitors with Australian Survivor and that’s fine by me.

    I would like them to introduce idols to make sure the gameplay isn’t super straight forward, but if they introduce anything else it will be too much for this stage.

    It felt different, but if I hadn’t seen much Survivor from elsewhere, I think I’d have enjoyed it.

    1. Andy

      Although I do think it was a poor immunity challenge to start the season with. I think that a more physical one with a bit more going on would have benefitted families more.

    1. Andy

      Ah good.

      I think that’s enough. It just does enough to prevent one alliance getting railroaded by another,

  7. Daniel

    Painful watch. way way too heavy for Saturday nights especially after strictly the show to me was like watching wet paint dry just watching a team light a fire and hold barrels is not entertainment as much as i love Joel Dommett i feel for him as to why he is hosting this rubbish sorry but it did my heading last night i was glad when it was over the music at the end in the build up to who was leaving was giving be headache It was far too much. wasted an hour watching and i won’t be wasting anymore time. wrong time slot it should have been 9pm three nights a week, Episode 1 dragged out so those watching the full series god help you. Bring back THE WHEEL ASAP i am not happy to be put through this every weekend not good enough BBC

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      2.6m (just) and 17% for episode 1. Below expectations I’d have thought, and a pretty disastrous knock-on for Blankety Blank, down at least a million on last week. It’s not a weekend show!

  8. Whoknows

    I’ve seen a lot of clips of Survivor over the years but never actually watched a fully formatted episode (well I did watch both series of the original UK one but I honestly can’t remember a thing about them!). I was really struggling to give ep 1 my full attention, it really did feel like a midweek show and I just wasn’t in the mood for it last night, I really do think they’ve scheduled it awfully. And what a risk if England had gone to the Rugby World Cup final!

    I remember the first week of The Traitors was so odd and not hugely gripping, and yet there was something that kept me watching till episode 4 (and thank god I did) whereas with this I really didn’t feel any interest in coming back at all. I think this one’s going to be flop.

    IMO it could have done with missing an elimination in ep 1 as it didn’t feel like they had enough to go on and he hadn’t really featured enough to know if they’d made the right decision.

  9. Whoknows

    I don’t know how accurate or how regularly updated it is but Survivor’s currently only number 11 on iPlayer’s Most Popular section which I’d suggest isn’t great.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      Yeah interesting, looks like it updates daily but it’s difficult to know what the long tail is – looking at the last set of numbers EastEnders typically adds 700-900k an episode in +7, Have I Got News For You about a mill, Planet Earth, Race Across the World 1.5m+. Probably not a great sign it’s being outviewed by RuPaul’s Drag Race which was doing 500-600k in catch-up last time I saw figures for it, but would have been on a few days earlier.

      1. Daniel

        It will stay on the schedules for this week but then i reckon if the figures continue to drop the BBC might have to make a decision on it’s future because compared to other Saturday night shows this hasn’t done anywhere near as good. Reality shows are just not suited for Saturday nights where as The Wheel is that needs to come back and then they need to find another slot for survivor in the new year too reality heavy this autumn. As the article says they had a perfect Saturday and Sunday night schedule then they make room for this new show and the figures flop even Blankety Blank took a tumble last week due to survivor and also because of the rugby final. The wheel needs to be on to keep Blankety Blank at the 3.3M mark

      2. Daniel

        I’m really interested to see what ratings survivor get’s this weekend. From the viewing figures we get we will be able to see if viewers have hooked onto the format or not last week was just a taster. I can see the figures flopping even further if i’m honest we’ll see though. if you hear anything please keep us updated.

  10. Brig Bother Post author

    Plus 7 officials! 3.077, 2.707m, added less than half a mill in catch-up. Blimey.
    First two episodes. TV only, so maybe a little more with devices but I’m not holding my breath.

  11. Greg

    What the hell was that reward challenge?

    First of all why is a 6 foot plus bloke taking on a female opponent in that challenge?

    Then we have the challenge cancelled for a medical reason, why did they not just do another round?

    I am also really starting to get annoyed by the whole overproduction of this show. We are now allowed to see the challenges play out? We have to have constant shots or Joel or the tribes. I want to see the action not a presenter saying his lines or the tribes cheering.

    Its like the people making this do not know what makes Survivor gripping to watch. We don’t need constant muzak or onscreen graphics telling us something that has just been said or relaid in voice over.

    The casting has also been very poor

    I’m also not a fan of the whole cuddly vibe. I want to see people seeking off for idols rather than another pointless staged chat with production. We are not seeing enough of the game.

  12. Brig Bother Post author

    Week 2 officials: I can’t tell you, because neither have made the Thinkbox Top 50 (*). Less than 2.6m.

    Less than 400k on catch-up presumably.

    (*) Telly only, doesn’t include devices.

  13. Greg

    Over 40 cast chats with production in tonight’s episode, usually just explaining something that has just happened too. We are getting so little of the actual game due to this and long challenges that on the whole are quite boring.

  14. Brekkie

    Feels like in this series the Sole Survivor will be the last person watching.

  15. Daniel

    Interesting tactic here from the BBC. Both the semi-final and final of survivor land on the same day, Semi-Final is Saturday 17th December at 6pm-7pm and then the final is 9:05pm-10:05pm either side of the strictly final. Considering Picture Slam did well before Strictly i think they are putting Survivor there to try and increase ratings hoping those that are waiting for strictly watch survivor before it it’s also to avoid a leak of the final results because before these episodes they showed an episode on Saturday and put the one for Sunday on i player before it aired but here i think they’ll not put the final on i player to stop spoilers. No weakest link that weekend 🙁

  16. Daniel

    TV Zone reporting a second series of Survivor. The BBC must be going mental haven’t they seen the backlash and negative feedback about this program don’t they ever learn. They wasted £30M on the first series and now they fancy their chances at another big blow out on series 2 if this goes ahead it better not take up Saturday night slots. Not happy with this news

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        1) It is extremely unlikely the one series of Survivor cost £30m to make. That would be £2m an episode, way way higher than anything the BBC will pay for when £500,000 would be more standard for high-end entertainment.

        2) Yes it would be an extremely easy thing to beat the BBC over the head with, especially if it flops second time around. And there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t. It was a better show post merge, but this didn’t really reflect in the numbers. Hint: have a back-up in case your letters from home element goes on longer than five minutes.

        3) It did do better than that Gordon Ramsay thing, and that got two series.

        4) There’s nothing wrong with the headline, the BBC site itself says “potential” second series. This does not definitely mean it has been commissioned – there’s also an advert for that Wedding Planner’s thing and I don’t think that’s coming back – speculative callouts happen.

        5) Despite everything I quite enjoyed it. Perhaps they’ll cut it to 12 players and have an ex-cricketer host it, Freddie Flintoff’s big TV return.

  17. Henry R

    Considering the Destination X tender was worth £20m it’s not out of the realms of possibility that Survivor cost even more.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      We’ll find out how likely it is they’re going to get their money’s worth next week, it starts on France’s M6 on the 28th.

  18. Brig Bother Post author

    Well, they’ve stopped the application process more than a week earlier than planned, which suggests to me bad news.


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