Shipwrecked, Week 6: A Twisted Fire (Non) Starter

Tristan secured his place as the island knob, Joe smuggled some rice pudding in an unfortunate place and six weeks in, Shipwrecked failed to light anyones fire.
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Sun, sea, sand and six packs. Not much has changed since I first started watching Shipwrecked eleven years ago. All the ingredients are still there. Gorgeous scenery, easy on the eye contestants and a ‘struggle’ for survival. What has changed is me. Years ago I’d happily have buggered off to the Cook Islands for a few months to live on rice pudding and coconut surrounded by a bunch of similarly adrift student types. Now the thought fills me with horror. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to up sticks and sail off to a remote island, but I’d rather take Tom Hank’s talkative ‘Cast Away’ chum Wilson with me than any of the whiny bastards from the 2011 season of Shipwrecked.

The show is back after a two year break and has dropped the previous Tigers versus Sharks theme, meaning the contestants are all together on one island. Six weeks in and it’s very much trouble in paradise for this year's contestants. The cast so far is made up of Anna, Ashlie, Bear, Brimes, Danni, Dominique, Joseph, Kate, Kitten and Tristan. Though, halfway through the episode I’m only really sure who a couple of them are. It’s easiest to spot the newcomer Ashlie, her tan hasn’t quite reached the same ‘bronzed Christmas turkey’ level that the others have nurtured.

A new week on the island and new leader Dominique had woken up to find the island a tip. ‘Ladies man’ Bear emerged from a hastily built shack made of leaves after having “special cuddles” with Anna all night and Tristan announced he was retiring from fire related duties; despite being the only one there who can actually light the thing.

Kate reckons Tristan has a game plan. Yes, a plan to become the island knob.

To assert her new authority, Dominique introduced a naughty stump where people must go to be punished and no one could talk to them. Based on the sparkling conversation so far, I sense a queue may start to form.

Across the island, in a not at all set up situation, Kitten found some hidden rice pudding tins in the veggie patch and the conspiracy theories started. The collected group came up with a cunning plan to move the tins so whoever put them there couldn’t find them. They would then in no way confront the rest of the group. Clearly Kitten and his pals haven’t read the script or the reality show commandments. Thou shalt always confront housemates/campmates/fellow islanders on all matters no matter how trivial. It’s the law.

I’ve only known her a few moments but I can just tell Anna’s a real people person.

Despite spending six weeks surrounded by the South Pacific, everyone in camp was surprised to find water lapping up on the beach. Tragically, Bear and Anna’s love shack was flooded. Desperately keen to dig a trench to protect her beach hut, Anna announces “I can’t dig on my own. I don’t know how to dig!” Bear took his sweet time coming to his distressed damsel’s rescue and was oddly reluctant to save his shag-den from further damage. I’m guessing Bear may not have rated Anna’s performance in the sack else he’d be rebuilding that shelter quick sticks.

The tide continued to rise and before long everyone was clambering to rescue their essential items from the “tsunami”. Despite the very small wave going through camp and flooding the fire pit, Tristan decided now was the perfect time to stand firm on his refusal to light the fire. Tosser.

With the camp littered with stray flip flops and the tattered remnants of the group’s respect for Tristan’s principles, a crisis meeting was called. Tristan crowed on about his house building skills. Everyone was too busy muttering knob under their breath to hear or care. He crumbled under a thimble full of peer pressure and came out of retirement for fire lighting duties.

The islanders moved off to try and build new houses in the wake of the moderately destructive freak wave. Kitten and Joe broke the sad news to Anna’s group that they were moving away to another part of the island. Anna was beside herself with glee. “I can’t bear to sleep near those other people at night because they stink.” I’ve only known her a few moments but I can just tell Anna’s a real people person.

More fire news. Someone other than Tristan (they all look quite similar under their grubby chimney sweep-esque faces) was trying to light a fire, but all the ‘black stuff’ was missing so they couldn’t. £20 says Tristan’s had the tinder stashed in a secret crevice. Speaking of Tristan, he decides now is the perfect time to pipe up “if you want a fire just say.”

Away from the group he revealed he wants people to realise he’s indispensable. “Now’s not the time to be difficult with people. If they want fire, I’ll give them a fire.” Sadly, despite his very best efforts, he failed to light anything other than the islanders burning hatred for him. Desperate to claw back some respect Tristan complemented Dominique’s handling of the days events, but everyone was too busy to listen as they were probably planning how to kill Tristan and hide his mutilated body in the long drop.

While some of the others were off pretending to fish so the producers could set up a chat scenario, Joe decided to raise the issue of the hidden rice pudding in the veggie patch. As conflict goes it’s a complete non-starter and the surprising voice of reason was Tristan. “I’m glad he tells me things, I just don’t wanna listen to him.”

Desperate for food with the rations mysteriously dwindling, a few plucky islanders decided to catch a chicken for dinner. War paint on, they start the hunt declaring “the way to catch a chicken is to think like a chicken.” The slight problem was the main thought going through the chicken’s mind was that it didn’t want to be caught.

On the other side of the island Dominique suspected something was going on and wasn’t at all tipped off by the crew. Wandering over to the veggie patch she discovered Kitten, Ashley and Joe up to no good. Joe had a strange bulge in his ‘veggie patch’ and all credit to Dominique for knowing instantly it was a tin of rice pudding. The tucker was quickly confiscated, but seen as none of them look like they’ve washed for six weeks I think I’d have been happy to let Joe keep his rice pudding where it was and say no more about it.

After the week’s trials and tribulation the islanders finally bonded around a massive bonfire. Tristan must have been livid.

All that remained was for next week's leader to be chosen. Danni, Ashley, Bear, Kate, Anna and Tristan all threw their hats into the ring, but Kate won them over with her promise of a ‘Lads on Tour’ theme for the week.

Remember though islanders, what happens on tour, stays on tour (and E4).

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