25 January 2023

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Channel 5



LONDON 25 JANUARY 2023: Channel 5 has announced today the ultimate survival experience in a new documentary commission, Ruby Wax Castaway (w/t). The two-part (2 x 60’) series, follows Ruby Wax as she experiences life as a true castaway on a remote uninhabited island off the coast of Madagascar, documenting her entire experience using her own handheld camera and body-cams.  

Produced by the award-winning Burning Bright Productions, Ruby Wax Castaway (w/t) sees the writer and comedian putting herself through the ultimate test in an extreme psychological and physical challenge. A respected mental health campaigner, Ruby has a particular interest in how modern urban life challenges us. This island experience is a chance for Ruby to explore how solitude compares to the challenges of busy contemporary lives – as well as being a highly entertaining and insightful experience as Ruby survives totally alone in the wild. Pitting her wits against the uncompromising force of Mother Nature, with only herself and a camera to talk to, Ruby’s everyday quest will be to source the four survival priorities - water, food, fire and shelter, as she documents her inner thoughts on her diary cam. 

Executive Producer and Burning Bright’s founder Clive Tulloh, made the original ground-breaking survivor experience for television with Joanna Lumley in the hit film ‘Girl Friday’. Before heading to the island, Ruby will be meeting with Joanna, for some first-hand advice to help prepare for the island experience. Ruby will also leave with a letter from Joanna, not to be opened until she is on the island. 

A camera crew will initially follow Ruby – as she is trained in a series of complex survival skills from an ex-Army survivalist specialist. The crew will capture Ruby’s initial reaction and preparations for her stay in unfiltered confessionals, with the aim to understand how she will function under pressure as the days and nights unfold.  Then Ruby will be left alone to live in total isolation as she explores the island and reflects on the experience of solitude – exploring the ways in which isolation affects her, and how her mind operates under pressure.

The production team will be stationed offshore, in case of emergency, and Ruby’s mental health and safety will be monitored as the experience progresses.  

Ruby Wax says: “If people are expecting Love Island, imagine how disappointed they're going to be … I like to do things that take me by surprise.  I'm used to doing something a little hardcore.  I know what it is in the beginning, it's hell but by the end you find out why you did it. That may happen ... or I may sue the production company”   

Channel 5 and Paramount + Commissioning Editor, Guy Davies, says: “Castaway with Ruby Wax (w/t) is a survival programme with a different perspective – Ruby has been very public about her own mental health and this process is chance for her to explore in solitude the pressure we all live under. Knowing Ruby, it will also be both hilarious, insightful and raw. We’re very pleased to welcome Ruby to Channel 5 for this fascinating process” 

Executive Producer and MD at Burning Bright Productions, Clive Tulloh, says: “I have been working with Ruby Wax on and off since 1989 I am thrilled to finally get the chance to abandon her on a desert island.” 

Ruby Wax Castaway (w/t) is commissioned by Guy Davies for Channel 5, and executive produced by Clive Tulloh and Louise Quayle at Burning Bright Productions. The Producer-Director is Gareth Prescott.   


For more information please contact: Jamila Atta – jamila.atta@vimn.com   

NOTES TO EDITORS: About Channel 5 Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK’s third largest commercial TV station. Launched in March 1997, Channel 5 has been part of Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) since its acquisition in September 2014. Channel 5 and its digital brands – 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select, 5ACTION and the on-demand service My5 – offer a diverse range of issue-led documentaries & popular factual celebrating the British countryside and drawing talent to the channel, accessible history, premium drama and critically-acclaimed children’s, news and current affairs programming. Through its agenda-driving commissions, Channel 5 leads on societal issues from inequality to homelessness and mental health, aiming to tell the story of modern Britain by reflecting the lives of people across the nation. In 2018, Channel 5 won its first BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald. The following year, Raped: My Story won best Single Documentary at RTS. In 2020, it won crowned Channel of the Year at the Broadcast Awards and by the RTS. In addition that year, it secured its first ever Grierson award win in the ‘Best Single Documentary – Domestic’ category with Suicidal: In Our Own Words. In 2021, it won best factual entertainment at the Broadcast Awards for Springtime on the Farm. It also won best drama at Voice of the Listener & Viewer for All Creatures Great & Small the same year. 

About Burning Bright Productions Established in 2011, Burning Bright Productions is an independent production company which was founded by Clive Tulloh and Peter Bennett-Jones CBE.  The company has a track record of producing high quality programmes for all the major UK broadcasters, and specialises in international filming and making entertaining, informative programmes.  These include several successful series with Joanna Lumley covering the Trans-Siberian railway, Japan, India, Haiti & Cuba and the Silk Road which was shot across Central Asia.   The award winning travel-reality format ’50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy’, and the highly regarded series  ‘Richard E Grant’s Hotel Secrets’, ‘Ray Mears: Close Encounters’ and ‘Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy’, filmed in a wide variety of international locations, from Australia to Africa, America and the Far East.  For Channel 5, Burning Bright have worked with Alexander Armstrong to deliver two travelogue series exploring Iceland and South Korea.  Following the covid pandemic, they made an insightful documentary with Esther Rantzen for C5 exploring the experience of bereavement and coping with grief.

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