It is going to be a bear of a season when world-renowned survivalist Bear Grylls returns to his wild roots later this January with some of Hollywood’s most beloved celebrities in tow. The hit adventure series Running Wild with Bear Grylls finds its new home on National Geographic beginning Wednesday 22 January at 21:00 with more action, stunts and visceral moments than ever before.

This season, Grylls goes all out with some of the most entertaining superstars who push themselves beyond their limits by leaving civilisation behind for a no-holds barred journey through the most extreme environments on the planet.

“The Running Wild team is so excited that our adventure series has really found its home on National Geographic with our fifth season,” says Grylls. “I am so proud that each Hollywood A-lister, who joins me on these journeys through the wild, always has such a life-affirming experience. That is what the wild does; it often takes us to the edge but then rewards courage and determination with a pride that money cannot buy.”

“Audiences are in for an exhilarating journey in this season of Running Wild with Bear Grylls as this adventurist extraordinaire takes an impressive host of celebrities into extreme environments. These challenging situations in some of the wildest places on earth test the limits in more ways than one, making for nail-biting, edge-your-seat television” said Evert van der Veer, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa.

Bear gave us some insight as to his feelings about the new season of the ground-breaking show.

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Who was the most surprising guest to work with this season?

Each of the episodes this season was special to me but I think it was Cara Delevingne who really surprised me. She’s such a survivor at heart, and she truly brought that spirit to the wild. The positivity and determination she has shown in her life helped her so much on our journey and getting to know her personal story was so powerful. Despite the huge challenges she has faced in her life growing up, she shows us all that true resilience comes from within and that courage is all about facing the difficult and always moving forward towards it.


How do you choose a location or adventure for each celebrity? Do they have to go through tests?

There are no specific skills test, but we do ask about their abilities, what they’ve done and what they’d always dreamt of doing. When we’re in the wild, it’s always in such a dynamic situation that you have to be on your game, and obviously as a crew we can only anticipate so much out there. Our team usually scouts a location ahead of time and we map out a journey, with the goal of having an adventure that is based on what will provide each guest with a truly unforgettable and empowering experience. That’s it. Let the wild reveal and then empower.

How has the show changed by moving to National Geographic?

I’m just so pleased that we have brought the show to such a strong global platform now as National Geographic. Nat Geo are synonymous with adventure and a true appreciation for our planet. It feels a little like coming home. Overall this season feels bigger and bolder than we ever did before with tougher missions, wilder locations and the most incredible line up of fan-favourite celebrities. It’s been a memorable one for me for sure. And a huge privilege as ever.

Do your adventures help turn audience attention to issues like animal and environmental conservation?

If my travels have shown me one thing it’s just how precious this planet is and how fundamental nature is to humanity. I think you have to see it to believe it. This is why it’s so important to get outdoors so we can all forge a stronger relationship with the natural world. You don’t have to look far to see first-hand the devastation that is happening. That's why for example US President Obama wanted to go on the journey with us on Running Wild – he’d studied the science and he said, "I've seen all the data, I understand that, but I want to see it first hand and experience it." Ditto Prime Minister Modi of India who after I took him on a journey to the rainforest, announced his vision to ban one use plastic in India. These moments are the seeds of change. Because when we stand up close and we see first-hand the effects of climate change, then that's the best classroom.

What do you hope viewers take away from Running Wild? 

To get out there in the wild, and embrace all that adventure can do for us. It is about learning from nature and developing a never give up spirit that you take back to everyday life.

Who inspires you?

My late father, a former marine who taught me the spirit of adventure at a young age.

What sets this show apart from other nature shows?

I’d say it’s unique in terms of taking these super well-known individuals so far outside of their normal life, far beyond their comfort zone in order to experience something beautiful and empowering that they normally wouldn’t. People love watching their idols tackle the wilderness, face some tough moments, and to see how they change and grow in confidence along the way, it’s always inspiring.

Are you ever nervous or scared before an adventure?

It’s always scary to tackle new things, and especially in a wild environment where things are super unpredictable. I’m probably just as nervous beforehand as the celebrities, but the key is to be willing to face your fears head on and to keep moving forward. It seems that I’m daring and wild, but in fact, I’m quite cautious and very aware of the risks for both my guests and myself. The hardest part of Running Wild I think is for the guest to probably just committing to it all 100% from the get go and having to trust me from the very beginning. Trust takes time in the wild but on these journeys these stars have to take that initial leap of faith whilst we have only just met. That always adds an element of added adrenalin and excitement for sure for both of us.

Which new locations would you want to go to for your next adventures?

I am excited to film more shows in India and China this year as well as Australia. All such diverse, beautiful and remarkable countries.

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The full line up of multi-award-winning actors, entertainers, comedians and superstars include the following:
  • Alex Honnold – professional rock climber and the first climber to free solo Yosemite’s 3,000-foot El Capitan wall (Free Solo)
  • Armie Hammer – Golden Globe-nominated actor (Call Me by Your Name, On the Basis of Sex, The Social Network)
  • Brie Larson – Academy Award-winning actress (Captain Marvel, Room, Unicorn Store)
  • Bobby Bones – US radio personality (The Bobby Bones Show), winner of Season 27 of America's Dancing with the Stars
  • Cara Delevingne – world-renowned model, social media powerhouse and award-winning actress (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Suicide Squad, Paper Towns)
  • Channing Tatum – award-winning actor and dancer (Foxcatcher, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike)
  • Dave Bautista – action star and former professional wrestler (Avengers: Endgame, Stuber, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Joel McHale – actor, comedian and Emmy-nominated on-air personality (Community, Santa Clarita Diet, The Soup)
  • Rob Riggle – actor and comedian (Night School, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy, 21 Jump Street)
  • Zachary Quinto – Emmy-nominated actor (American Horror Story, Star Trek Beyond, NOS4A2)

Running Wild With Bear Grylls starts on 22 January on National Geographic (181) at 21:00



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