A real honour last night to be back with most of the cast from The Island and also to re-unite with many of the Shine TV people and consultants that we met before, during and after the filming.
I was able to thank clinical psychologist Howie for his priceless advice on how to behave on The Island – “don’t be a prick” – and think I managed to take the lesson to heart.
Also an opportunity to meet many of the production team who worked with us in the Pacific, many un-sung heroes who edited and added music, light and other AV features back here in London – and to thank them all for the wonderful end product.
Heartwarming to hear many of them tell us that it was their finest hour to date professionally.
The news that applications for series 2 have now topped 77,000 (!) speaks volumes for the impact that the show had on the viewing audience of over 3 million – and perhaps more poignant is the fact that so many people want to relive our experience and, perhaps, test themselves or escape from their own reality?
I’m sure there must be many in that mix who are hoping to be “famous for being famous” and the challenge facing casting producer Kay Green and her team will be enormous.
Many of the original Shine crew have re-signed for the second series and there was a genuine buzz of excitement in the room last night as we all speculated on the, as yet, undecided format for the show – will it be all female, all male, mixed – nobody yet knows.
I’m sure that, whatever they decide, it will be an instant hit in 2015.
Talking to my fellow Islanders last night, we all felt as if we were at a wake – celebrating “the deceased” and toasting the body as we counted our own blessings. It was truly lovely to chat to everyone about “life after” and listen to their experiences and emotions since returning.
It was a bittersweet evening as most of us 21st Century males are now facing the return to our “normal” lives and the momentary celebrity will begin to wane.
There were some rumblings that a few of the guys are going to progress to more media exposure – I’ll keep that confidential for now as I don’t want to spoil anyone’s chances – and genuinely hope that those who do seek further TV adventures will succeed.
My final comments pick up on a Facebook post from last night – we were delighted that Bear Grylls came along at all – even more so that he found the time in a very noisy and bustling room to engage each of us with some words of thanks and encouragement for our own lives going forward.
My own conversation with him will remain private – but he listened empathetically, offered some thoughts on aspects of my legacy from the show and congratulated me on starting the process of changing my life for the better over the next few years.
Bear is a busy man “living” a global brand – but the sign of true leadership is to be able to engage on a 1:1 basis for a few minutes and leave the other party in no doubt that they were genuinely appreciated for that time.
That was the highlight of my evening and his comments will stay with me.
It really is back to “being Chris Barrow” today – not such a bad thing – but I’m missing The Island, starvation and all – and the friendships we forged.
Note to self – do something about it.