We love Ray Mears - he's a survival GOD. He eats insects. And enjoys it. Ray spent years and years honing his survival skills in some of the world's harshest landscapes - we'd rather pop down the pub of course, but it's fascinating watching someone else travel to the most inhospitable and dangerous places on earth and try to exist on next to nothing.
Growing up, Mears was desperate to be outside all the time and would often sleep on the trail of foxes in his local area of Surrey. Unable to afford camping equipment, Mears would simply fashion a shelter out of whatever he could find lying about. Being in Surrey that was probably a few discarded Egyptian Cotton sheets, but let's not spoil the illusion. In his shows, Ray regularly introduces us to people we'd never, ever meet and takes us to places Easy Jet simply don't fly to. Plus, he lets us in on some invaluable survival secrets. After all, you really never know when you'll be stranded somewhere with a penknife in one hand and a caterpillar in the other.
In Ray Mears' Bushcraft, the SAS survival guru pops along to the Amazon jungle, Tanzania, Canada, America and Sweden, and explores the important role played by bushcraft in the survival of indigenous people. He puts his own resourcefulness to the test as he lives alongside people such as the Yekuana of Venezuela and the Masai of Tanzania, learning new skills like making buckskin. All the while we struggle to stop our biscuits dropping off into our mugs of tea, ahem.
Ray Mears' Extreme Survival and Ray Mears' World Of Survival finds our khaki clad hero journeying to extremely remote and untouched parts of the earth, where the terrain is unforgiving and yet, against the odds, there are still people surviving there. Mears invites us into their world and explores the way in which they've adapted to their hostile environment by utilising only the surrounding natural resources – it's a bit like how we learn to survive in Harrods when there is a sale on, just a tad less hostile.
Mears is the kind of person you definitely want to be there when your boy scouts issued mikey mouse compass stops pointing north. Able to survive on pretty much a diet of bugs and berries, Mears has also proved himself to be a pretty worthy first aider. When a helicopter containing Mears and his crew crash landed, Mears leapt up, covered in oil, to aid his fellow injured passengers, seemingly with no thought for his own health and wellbeing. Just call him, Action man.
Testament to his testosterone fuelled survival instincts, Mears was even asked to help police when a fugitive killer was on the loose. He's a bit like Rambo really – if Rambo had been eating Krispy Kreme donuts for the last couple of months that is.
Mears has previously complained of being type cast, with shows rarely deviating off of the survival route, which leads us to the slightly worrying assumption that it won't be long until Mears pops up on Strictly Come Dancing or something. We hope he sticks to the survival gig though – who else is going to teach us which part of a stinging nettle from the deepest darkest parts of some weird and wonderful land is ok to eat? This is clearly important day to day knowledge. Forget doing your tax return, learn how to survive in the wild with our favourite man about the jungle, Mr Mears.