“This is What Happens to Make Reality TV”

Jack Kibble-White interviews Julia Corrigan

First published November 2004

Five years ago this month, a group of 36 people were preparing for a year that would be unlike any other in their lives. These were the “Castaways” a community created by a television production company for the purposes of a groundbreaking project. Today, Castaway 2000 is one of British television’s great lost programmes. Buried amidst the deluge of reality TV that has followed in its wake, there seems to be little attempt to remember or indeed celebrate what remains one of the most ambitious television projects ever attempted.

Julia Corrigan, with husband Colin and daughter Natasha, constituted one of a number of family units who were selected for the project. In November, OTT caught up with her to reflect on what being a castaway meant to her and her family and also to gain a little of the insight into the makings of a television programme that she gathered during those memorable 12 months.

OTT: How did you first come to hear about the Castaway project, and what was it that made you want to participate?

JULIA CORRIGAN: We first became aware of Castaway 2000 through a double page spread in the Daily Mirror. Apparently, some fairly low key ads and articles had been running since the previous year (1998) but we were unaware of these. The article was the first we knew of the project. Colin was immediately taken with the idea and wanted me to read the piece – I’d already given it a cursory glance but he insisted that I read it because it was “interesting”. I didn’t for a moment think he wanted us to apply for it!

The reason he thought we stood a good chance of getting on the island was that the article mentioned that they needed somebody with butchery skills. Several of the people interviewed in the paper said they couldn’t kill anything (one man said he could turn aside whilst a fish died!) but Colin already had some experience of that and had worked for years as a butcher. It was that, really, that got us on to the project.

The reasons for wanting to go are more complex. He just fancied the adventure of it all but at first I wasn’t too keen. I hedged about writing the initial letter, although once I’d spoken to somebody from (the production company) Lion TV and we’d been for our test interview, I suddenly warmed up to the idea. Natasha was keen from the word go – as long as we are with her she is up for any old adventure that comes her way!

The project as it was portrayed in the paper, though, isn’t quite what it turned out to be in reality … no pun intended. We thought we would be building hay bale houses and getting our water from a pump, that sort of thing. It didn’t turn out quite like that though I am unsure of the reasons for this. Some of it could be because of the health and safety aspects of the project. Also, Lion was still busy formulating the whole thing. It was a massive undertaking and there was so much to be worked out.

OTT: One of the most memorable moments in the first set of Castaway shows (featuring the “audition” process) was when Dez Monks was caught on camera referring to Jack Holden as a “stupid bastard”. Were you aware of this at the time, and to what extent did the issue of how you would be represented on television influence how you behaved during those early days of the project?

JULIA CORRIGAN: This is going to sound incredibly naïve and maybe some people won’t quite believe this, but we were blissfully unaware at first of the importance of the filming of the project, especially in the very early days. When we were at application stage, the emphasis seemed to be fully on the “social experiment” side of things. Of course, when we were asked to London to do an interview to camera, we became more switched on to the fact that yes, of course, this was a telly programme. But even then, we were just so thrilled by the pictures we were shown of various Hebridean islands and hay bale houses, rather than by the thought of being on the box.

I’ve certainly been jokingly accused by people, since the project ended, of going on “the show” to get my five minutes of fame, but that wasn’t it at all for us. We wanted that whole trip, being cut off from civilisation and roughing it with nature. There was another thing that marks us out as gullible, as well. For some strange reason I had it in my head that this was going to be a low key programme, shown on BBC2 at some not particularly popular time of day. I had no idea that it was a big budget production and that our names would literally be jumping off the front pages of newspapers for months at a time in the year 2000. During the selection process, I was more concerned with impressing Lion TV so that we could get on to Taransay than with jumping in front of a camera and impressing the great British public. I am sure that this was the same for more or less everyone in the first selection group.

When Dez was caught on camera calling sweet old Jack a “daft bastard” I am sure he was unaware that he was being filmed at that moment. I don’t want to speak for Dez about this, particularly, but I know it caused a great deal of embarrassment to him when it went out in the first shows early in 2000, as it cast him in a harsh light. The thing is, Dez isn’t some hard-nosed manager type at all but he was certainly very gung ho in the early part of the project and in that I include the selection process. People probably don’t understand that the production company was whipping up a competition between the groups and that in itself created some stress. Before sending us off orienteering we were told to “win in whatever way you can”. This made us feel that our places could be dependent on the outcome of the various contests, so there was a feeling of frenzy bubbling under the surface. On top of that, there were so many powerful personalities in that first selection group that there was a real struggle going on between us all to find some kind of level in the pack! If you look at the first ads for the project, Lion was asking for people who could fight their own corner and really stand up for what they believed in. I think we took that VERY seriously!

What none (or at least many) of us suspected is that cameras would “sneak up” on us and record things when we were unaware that they were doing so. I think that that was our first real taste of what reality TV can be about and in many ways it is underhanded. But hark – I hear the braying laughter of those who think that we must have been stupid not to realise it in the first place. Point taken. But that was the situation.

I suppose I should have smelled a very large and decomposing rat when I found myself in the poo team, shovelling excrement alongside Ben [Fogle] and Ron [Copsey, two other Castaways], that Lion would get up to tricks. I had stated, in answer to the question, “what wouldn’t you be prepared to do?” that I didn’t want anything to do with human shit!

Yes, spank me for my gullibility yet again, but I thought it was an oversight … isn’t it funny how I ended up being in charge of the compost loos for the entire year on Taransay? Heck, I’m so gullible, I can talk myself into anything!

Representation on television was to become quite a hot potato at one of the pre-Taransay meetings. We talked for hours with Lion about what we could do about it if we said something that we realised later we really shouldn’t have said to camera. In all fairness to [Series Producer] Chris Kelly, he did tell us that we had no editorial rights whatsoever but he was keen in assuring us that a balanced view of everything would be given, which to some extent softened the blow. The first selection group, though, was very suspicious of motives and we played them up quite a bit.

OTT: The whole project seemed to be threatened early on due to a contractual dispute that took place during the sessions at Windermere. What was the nub of the issue, and how do you think it was represented on screen?

JULIA CORRIGAN: There were some very serious contractual issues before the project started. For one thing, we were banned from talking or writing about the series “in perpetuity” which seemed draconian to us. We had to give three months notice to leave the project, as well – which caused a lot of upset. We were afraid that we would be kept prisoner, against our wishes, and for some people that was too harsh a prospect. In fact we later saw what happened when Ray [Bowyer] wanted to leave and Lion made it incredibly difficult to allow him to do so. I can see it from their point of view now, from this distance in time – but in that situation, if you’ve had enough, you really have had enough. Similarly, when Ron Copsey got on a boat to flee, Chris Kelly (by mobile phone) told him to get off and actually ordered some of us to get him off, even if we had to carry him. Do I need to tell you that we refused to do so? Again, I can see why Chris wouldn’t want to lose such a powerful and charismatic character as Ron from the show – but Ron really had been going through it, especially when his dog died, and it was time for him to quit.

It was a nerve-wracking time at Windermere because nobody wanted to get booted off the project before it had even begun, but on the other hand, there seemed to be a sense of selling your soul to the devil to actually get onto the island. It was partly this that led to Ron excusing himself and leaving the meeting when we were all at Windermere (later he was persuaded to rejoin us all and he did so, but always with misgivings). On top of that, the contractual arguments were mainly coming from the hard-bitten first selection group – “us lot” – whilst the second group thought we were all behaving like spoiled brats. The Ben/Ron rivalry may have started then, too, in embryonic form, as Ben suddenly disassociated himself from any protests about the contract to the delight of the second group.

There were also some arguments about how much equipment we were going to be supplied with. The main bulk of what we were taking in our crates was paid for by ourselves, although Lion did get us boots, hats, jackets and sleeping bags. If that sounds whiney then remember where we were going – the Outer Hebrides. Ron was aghast at the idea of us all being dressed in the same style and he took a lot of flak for that – but it would have looked pretty silly if we had all been swanning around in uniform clothes, wouldn’t it?

I have to say that we were pretty much nailed to the mast when it came to money. Of the very large book advance, the Castaways only got £2,500 each and only if they made it to the very end of the project. Frankly, that’s pretty unfair isn’t it? If you were featured in the book and you lasted until halfway, why get robbed of the only financial reward you could expect? Not everybody made a killing from the press. The rest was kept to go towards production expenses, even though we were asked to keep diaries and contribute letters and mini-essays for the book, as well as be regularly interviewed by the author. As far as I know, nobody has received any royalties from the book. Financially, we found it difficult to afford to go.

But this was private and personal and really, I feel uncomfortable talking about it even now. My personal feelings are that Lion should have avoided including any of the contractual issues in the programmes, as it was “behind the scenes” stuff. In fact, what interest was it to anyone to film any of that Windermere stuff? Maybe a few bits, but it seemed inappropriate to me. The main programmes were supposed to be about what happened when we got there, not how much we were inflamed with greed and lust for fame when we got to read the fine print! I feel the same way about some of the Castaways vs Lion issues that occurred on the island, too – it’s behind the scenes stuff and it dilutes the whole thing.

OTT: Much has been made of the “selective editing” of footage. Do you think Lion Television deliberately distorted the truth through their editing, or is it simply that the process of editing will always result in an incomplete and therefore untrue representation of the subject? To what extent were events on Taransay contrived in order to produce good television? What were the biggest untruths told about the life of the Castaways during that year?

JULIA CORRIGAN: Any questions about “selective editing” are pretty tricky to handle, because on the one hand I object to it when it leads to a totally false or in some way harmful impression being given, yet on the other, I realise that these people had a programme to make. But cutting to Ron to give the false impression that it was Ron who had upset Ben was a pretty evil thing to do in my humble opinion! For one thing, it was me and Col who had upset our wonder boy … Ron was definitely an observer at this point.

Later in the programmes the voiceover and a bit of fancy stuff with some chair legs gave the impression that Ron had chucked a chair at Julie Lowe. He sued the BBC and Lion for this, as he felt that he was branded a woman-beating monster by that particular piece of editing. For one thing, Julie Lowe was not even in the room when the chair throwing incident occurred and for another, Ron’s falling out with Julie was never properly explained in a balanced way at all throughout the programmes. There are others who would mutter, “so what?” to this, but fair is fair, after all. But the main point is that there was enough going on on Taransay so I don’t understand why that bit had to be made up to sensationalise what had already been an upsetting event.

There was a lot of discomfort about editing and portrayal during the project. For one thing, we were exceedingly aware that certain people were being featured a lot and in a highly favourable light, whilst others were almost non-existent in terms of telly time. People would write to us asking why we were hardly ever in the shows. I mumbled at one stage that I was very miserable that footage about the running of the horrible loo system wasn’t covered properly (although I and others filmed plenty) and somebody said that anything filmed on the little cameras by the untrained would hardly ever make it to the programmes. Not true – I’ve seen plenty of stuff that I filmed myself in the various episodes, so that can’t be the explanation.

I hate to admit it, but the television company obviously thought that some people/incidents were a lot more interesting than others in terms of storylines! Yet the darker side of that is that there was a bit of harrying going on to get us to do the things they wanted us to do. In the latter stages, there were lists on the wall about what we should talk about in video diaries. We did feel that events were being manipulated … oh sorry, I have to qualify that – some of us felt that events were being manipulated. (Peter and Sheila Jowers, for example, thought that we were being paranoid but you know, even now, I am sure we were right. Call me suspicious, but I definitely get the impression that this is what happens to make reality TV.)

There was the farcical situation with the delivery of goods whilst we were in the early stages of growing our own vegetables. We ran very low on fruit and vegetables; the supply boat just wasn’t bringing the stuff we had ordered out of the budget. Lion claimed all kinds of reasons/excuses but when we heard that an extra boat was coming to bring a rotovator, we asked if they could put on our missed vegetable order. They said “no”. This meant that we would have to take pot luck that the next boat (in two weeks) would bring the right food. Very kindly, other people pooled their fruit and veg rations for the kids, but this would still have meant being very short of the basic elements of a healthy diet for the children and this incensed the parents – especially Roger [Stephenson, a GP] who knows about these things!

Could it be – I ask myself, quizzically, that they actually wanted to see what mayhem the lack of supplies would cause? Conspiracy theories used to fly about all over the place.

It was this that led to Sandy [Colbeck] and Roger going to the supermarket after hitching a ride on a visiting boat. Some of the community members were angry that they had done it off their own backs and it led to a great deal of bad feeling. (Never mind that they had no real objections to contraband whisky, but that’s another really long story!) This was made worse by Lion taking the view that this was a serious breech of the rules, yet [the producer] Jeremy Mills had, only weeks before, gone around saying, “we don’t care what you do – as long as you film it!” Mixed messages were a big problem – even now, most of us can’t agree on what the project was meant to be about.

The unbalanced side of that episode is that the lack of supplies wasn’t properly covered nor the reasons for it. In fact, I get the distinct impression that the whole thing was slanted to make us look a bit silly. There’s Sandy complaining she hasn’t got the stuff to make a cake, for instance! It just looked like Roger and Sandy had gone for a jaunt to get goodies. In fact they came back loaded with cabbages, carrots and tomatoes etc. Sheila pointed out that we could have been creative and eaten the green tops off the growing radishes … but for a month? Not sure about that one! Whatever, Lion got some great footage out of it in the end. Liz [Cathrine] got very cross and upset with Roger, Roger seemed to be laughing about it all and wouldn’t apologise … big, serious meetings were held about how wrong it was for some people to make decisions without the rest of the community knowing what was going on. It caused mayhem between the Castaways and took a long time for the wounds to heal, too. When a passing fisherman gave us two huge salmon some Castaways wouldn’t eat them on principle as they had not been caught by us and, I suppose, came into the same category as supermarket food. Repercussions, always repercussions …

I think there were a few blatant untruths told (the Ron vs Julie Lowe incident) and a lot of material was given the subjective treatment – but no, the story of the project wasn’t properly told. Characters were not portrayed as “whole” people until damage had been done. Ron, for example, did have his complaints but he was also incredibly entertaining and comical. He was also fantastic with the kids, but I haven’t seen any of that in the programmes, or not enough for it to make an impression. Roger and Rosemary are lovely, lovely people, but early footage, especially, made them look like whining snobs. Yet I don’t have that view of them at all. In reality (ahem -there’s that word again) they are kind, generous and loving.

I am not entirely convinced that it ever could have been told as it was, given how much was going on and the amount of airtime available to it. Even the most brilliantly talented of programme makers are going to be hard pressed not to be subjective. You have to cut down the material, after all, and everybody has a different view of what is going on. Call us mere humans, but that is what we are! Anyway, it was a massive undertaking and the original plans for broadcast in 2001 were ruined by media pressure to have it all out in 2000. It didn’t give them an awful lot of time to consider the bigger picture so they were knocking programmes together without the timescale needed to do a really excellent job of it. Judging by the response we got when we arrived back in real time, they didn’t do too bad a job of it because people obviously loved it.

As a viewer (which isn’t easy, given the position of myself as a Castaway) I thought the selection process episodes were good, the first few programmes were exciting and then they got a bit inconsistent. It was difficult to work out what it was the programmes were really about. Some were incredibly entertaining but others got a bit maudlin. The social experiment was long gone and instead we had “who is dating who” as a bit of relief from the “Ben Fogle Show”! Some of the little “comedy” sketches with Toby (Waterman) and Trevor (Kearon) still have the power to make me cringe and look for a bottle of the strong stuff. (What was that all about? “Through the podhole with Toby and Trevor!” Sorry, guys. I love ya but I hated that!) They also did a spoof on the toilet system, which caused some aggravation too. Dez felt very strongly that Lion should have featured “proper” footage of that and not a jumped up little skit. I agree with him, but only because they were “my” toilets! Ye gods, what a claim to fame.

The very last programmes with Julia Bradbury were dreadful – I hated them – they were totally misplaced if you look at the original conception of the project. How they got that one past us I will never know! I think we were all worn out by then. You want to try arguing with clean and tidy production people, when you’re smelly, damp and scruffy and the weather is hollowing your bones out!

But to actually point to incidents as being “untrue” is difficult (with the obvious exceptions) as it is a little more subtle than that. For one thing, the voiceover guides the viewer so there is that to be taken into consideration. Also, material was slanted and it left me feeling that it wasn’t actually how it was – but then it is difficult to unravel what it is you don’t like about it! That’s the problem with subtlety, isn’t it? Throw in subjectivity and you have a boiling can of worms on your hands. I hated the twee music and the way Robert Lindsay’s voice (oh, my hero!) directed the viewer to accept the footage in a certain light. I hated the way they used a sigh of mine to support a discussion I had nothing to do with. I hated knowing that my video diaries were being chopped about and used in any way they wished to further a thread or storyline idea. But overall I loved the whole thing and what did I think they were going to do with my video diaries – pickle them in aspic?

I suppose the way some people were represented as being foremost in events was annoying too – Trish and Trev got a lot of coverage yet as community members they were conspicuous by their absence. They were busy falling in love, I suppose, as well as writing books and scripts. Ben hogged most of the limelight and you can’t blame him for that personally … can you? He has all the qualifications; he’s practically royalty – if Lion was able to, they made every storyline into a Ben affair and it worked out all right in the end. Also, the very real split in the community was left well alone so I don’t think anybody is particularly aware of it. Maybe it was too difficult to deal with by the latter stages. But at least we all came together beautifully for the Christmas programme. It’s loaded with irony and subtext, courtesy of the cast, but I doubt the viewers would have noticed.

It’s a slippery question that, and everyone would give you a different answer to it.

OTT: Characters such as Ron Copsey, Ray Bowyer and Roger Stephenson seemed to get a pretty rough ride in terms of their portrayal on screen. Do you think this was at all attributable to the fact that each had had some kind of disagreement with the production team?

JULIA CORRIGAN: Yes, without a doubt, I do believe that if you were out of favour with Lion you got the dirty end of the stick. Is there a way of guarding against that, I wonder? I once disputed that if this was an experiment then Lion was sticking a dirty finger in the petri dish. Peter told me that was rubbish and we argued that one endlessly. Maybe we were unreasonable at times but as an experiment, shouldn’t the production team have been a lot more objective? I thought they frequently got their peeves mixed up with what was going on between the Castaways. Naturally some people were going to be more popular than others. And we (the cast) also got far too close to members of the team, too. (Well, hey – Tanya [Cheadle] and Paul [Overton, assistant producer] just got married so it isn’t entirely a bad thing!)

OTT: Ben Fogle emerged from the Castaway programmes as the star of the series. Was he a prominent figure in island life? Who did you think were the most visible people on the island? Also, Hilary Freeman seemed to feature little if at all in the TV programmes, did she make much impact on the community?

JULIA CORRIGAN: Ben has done very well out of his time on Castaway, but then again, look at his family credentials! His mother is actress Julia Foster who starred in films such as Alfie, Half a Sixpence and I am sure many more, not to mention a popular TV series in the late ’70s (The Wilde Alliance) and his dad is “celebrity vet” Bruce Fogle. I suspect that Ben went on to the island with a full media team supporting him on the QT, but that was evident (to us … well, we thought it was fairly obvious …) when we saw all the requests for Ben to be photographed coming out of the sea, looking off into the distance and generally acting like a bit of a heartthrob. He is a bit of a heartthrob, isn’t he? Vanessa certainly seems to think so! He didn’t need much training, though, did he? He’s posh, handsome and has a fantastic pedigree so it was obvious he was going to be the programme makers’ dream “contestant”. And if you think about it, somebody was going to be their star, so why not Ben?

I’m sure there was a little bit of jealousy from the other men (the young ones, especially) but it never really reared its ugly head because Ben is so popular and can charm you easily with that smile of his. I got angry with him once but it didn’t last very long. By teatime he was giving me a cuddle and everything was okay again. I saw him get cross a few times too, but again, it was short lived. He had an altercation with Roger on one occasion, about the dogs, and threw his dinner plate into the pigs’ scrap bin. But he couldn’t keep the frown up for long and even laughed as the plate hit the mushy scraps pile. I went over and retrieved the plate quickly and gave him a raised eyebrow look. He skulked off, giggling at his own unaccustomed volatility! He was always very careful to keep a foot in each camp when the community started to divide, along with a few others, and that’s just good politics, isn’t it? We may have ranted about it at the time but it was sensible of him really.

Hilary Freeman wasn’t in shot much and that was her choice. She actively avoided the cameras as much as possible – as did some of the other less well known Castaways. Some people went to the island with the express intention of remaining as anonymous as possible to the viewing public. Hilary was a popular member of the community, though, and we were really sad when she decided to leave. She said that the project wasn’t what she had thought it would be (and the in-fighting about luxuries was getting on her nerves) but she was also desperately missing her family. The younger men rather liked her, too and called her Yummy Mummy for quite a while. The funny thing about that was that nobody would tell Mark McCrum (author of the official Castaway 2000 book) who “Yummy Mummy” really was and he came to the conclusion it was me. When I told him it wasn’t he was aghast at his error and said he had to change some of his words!

OTT: Do you think the arrival of Big Brother changed how the BBC and Lion viewed the Castaway programmes? Did it pull the rug from underneath it?

JULIA CORRIGAN: Well yes. It did have an impact and I strongly suspect that Lion TV was groaning aloud when the realisation hit that what was going down well about BB was the almost continual coverage and hidden cameras. They did try to persuade us to have web cams posted around the site but about three quarters of the community fiercely opposed it. The feeling was that a “social experiment” wasn’t the same as a game show, but it’s about viewing figures, isn’t it? Anyway, they didn’t get their way for some time. Towards the end though, they got very strong about it and installed live equipment – a satellite dish suddenly arrived looking like something from outer space, the community numbers were swelled by extra crew – not to mention Julia Bradbury, our “presenter”. It was then that a lot of us really lost heart. We went along with it because it had to be done but when I look at all that “live” stuff you can just see that we were like a fish out of water.

True it was right at the end of the project, but my own feeling is that it spoiled the whole thing. We were expected to do live television work, which was really difficult. I think if they had their time all over again they would have the steading wired up for pictures and sound, and a few cameras posted around the site in general. Not sure if I could handle shower cameras though! I haven’t got Nadia’s way of showering in high heels for a start.

To be absolutely truthful, if I were in charge of a project like that, I would most certainly have had the steading spied on – especially the kitchen which is where most of the gossiping, flirting and rows were happening on a day-to-day basis. It is true to say, though, that the list of Castaways would have been different had that been the case. I don’t think Hilary would have been there at all and possibly Monica Cooney and Warren Latore, as well. Maybe even the Stephensons would have said a firm “no” to it. The Corrigans would still have gone for it though – we were of the opinion that the camera stuff was the necessary evil in the whole deal and even if I didn’t always like what was happening, I tried to remember that it was all about making a telly programme. Mind you, out there in the middle of nowhere, it isn’t always easy to keep a good perspective on that kind of thing.

OTT: I get the impression that Castaway 2000 the series ended up being neither fish nor fowl. Since its original transmission there has been very little shown of it (indeed Lion Television’s follow up series The Heat is On was completely different). Do you know if there was ever talk to mount another series of Castaway, and why do you think the series has received so little air-time since 2000?

JULIA CORRIGAN: I don’t know the reason why it has died out so completely since its final programme, but people continually ask me when there will be repeats (as if I would know!) and where they can buy a boxed set. I think it was political and it was probably BBC politics at the bottom of any problems in scheduling, which didn’t seem consistent, and its suddenly being blanked. It all started to go spooky after Peter Salmon lost his job and Lorraine Heggessey took over. For example, we used to tune into Terry Wogan – who always had a comment to make about last night on Castaway and he was hilarious in his view – as he always is. But later on in the year, when a new series had started there wasn’t a mention of it from him. Now, maybe he just got bored with it – who knows? But not even a passing reference, as far as we could tell. We were big into conspiracy theories on the island and this was one we muttered about a lot. We thought Heggessey was trying to squash the programme as flat as she could because it wasn’t her baby.

OTT: Finally, the year on Taransay must have taught you quite a lot about life in general, but what would you say you learned about TV from the experience?

JULIA CORRIGAN: Television is a cutthroat business so beware of getting into it if you are sensitive or vulnerable in any way! However, the Corrigans had a fantastic time – the year, overall, was exciting, warm (forget the weather!) friendly and bonding. I know that sounds drippy but when I cried on the day we all left, it was because I couldn’t bear to see the disbanding of such a strong community force. I loved it all – even the bad bits, in retrospect, and I loved being on that island. I grew very attached to quite a few members of the Lion team too and am happy to report that we have a healthy communication scene going on. And the Taransay jungle drums are always beating (is this un-PC now … well, maybe it should be called the rumour mill?) Little rumours still filter through and we all get on the phone wanting to know, “is it true …?” or “have you heard …?” What I learned about life is that people will step on your head to get a foot up the career ladder, they will smile in your face then wield a blooming great axe as you turn aside and that you have to learn to forgive people – even if they have just chopped you into a million pieces with the kitchen cleaver. If you don’t, you have to cart a great big ball of angst around behind you. Far better to cut it loose and move on to the next bout of hostilities feeling fit and fresh for battle! Only kidding but don’t you just love hyperbole?

The other thing is that we are all so very, very different and I knew that before – but on Taransay, it was a point made very forcefully that humans are incredibly individualistic and, most of the time, we want to get our own way. It caused a lot of arguments but it was worth it. Every bit. We were disappointed in Jeremy Mills because he got us doing all kinds of things, like getting a working party to come up with a Taransay cookery book, with illustrations and anecdotes. We really put a lot of effort into it but when I called him about it once off the island to find out what was happening, he appeared not only to have forgotten about the cookery book but also about the Castaways. Sob. He had already moved on, something I think many of us have found quite difficult to do. Anyway, I really wanted to do that cookery book!