is a Canadian-produced television program, broadcast in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), and internationally on Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is an American satellite and cable specialty channel , founded by John Hendricks and distributed by Discovery Communications. It is a publicly traded company run by CEO David Zaslav...
and Science Channel. The show aired three seasons - 2004, 2007, and 2008.
The title refers to the host of the show, Canadian filmmaker and survival expert Les Stroud
Les Stroud is a Canadian musician, filmmaker, and survival expert best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman...
, who used survival skills
Survival skills are techniques a person may use in a dangerous situation to save themselves or others...
and knowledge to survive for up to seven days alone videotaping his adventures in remote locales where he brought with him little or no food, water, or equipment. According to the show's website, each location was scouted and pre-planned extensively by Stroud and his team who consulted with survival specialists and natives of each area. The fact that Stroud spent his time alone without a production crew is a major focus of the show.
During the videotaping of each episode, Stroud was alone and operated all the cameras himself, while his support team monitored him from a distance. He was equipped with only his clothes, camera equipment, his harmonica
The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...
, a multi-tool
A multi-tool is any one of a range of portable, versatile hand tools that combines several individual functions in a single unit...
, and often "everyday items" relevant to the episode's particular survival situation or locale. For safety purposes, Stroud carried an emergency satellite phone
A satellite telephone, satellite phone, or satphone is a type of mobile phone that connects to orbiting satellites instead of terrestrial cell sites...
and normally had daily radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...
contact with his support crew that was always within rescue range. However, Stroud has stated that while videotaping several episodes, there were times when his emergency phone did not work, leaving him totally alone and has mentioned his concern that his rescue crew may become stranded with him. On a few occasions, Stroud has also been provided with a rifle
A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...
for safety reasons or as part of the survival situation; in Season 1 Episode 05 - "Canadian Arctic," the local experts he consulted insisted that because of polar bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...
s they would not let him go without a rifle.
can be considered a sequel
A sequel is a narrative, documental, or other work of literature, film, theatre, or music that continues the story of or expands upon issues presented in some previous work...
In media, a spin-off is a radio program, television program, video game, or any narrative work, derived from one or more already existing works, that focuses, in particular, in more detail on one aspect of that original work...
to Stroud's earlier project, Stranded
, a five-part series that was shown on the Canadian Discovery Channel in 2001.
Les Stroud stopped videotaping Survivorman
after the third season due to what he described as the significant physical toll of videotaping each episode. On November 23, 2011 his website announced he was returning for a series of specials in which he would "up the ante" to surviving alone in 10 day stretches -- three more days than his previous episodes. As of 2011, reruns from the first three seasons are still broadcast on OLN.
In each episode Stroud places himself in a unique survival situation. The show is meant to demonstrate how one might survive alone in a remote location with minimal supplies until being rescued. Finding food, water, and materials to make fire and shelter pose the main challenges of each episode.
According to its official website, the show includes Stroud dealing with the aftermath of unsuccessful or inappropriate survival techniques and decisions. The reasons for these errors can include time limitations, being unfamiliar with a technique, or misjudging weather conditions, all frequently encountered by people in survival situations. While acknowledging the errors and the negative effect on his emotional state that they can create, Stroud usually remains calm, which is described as being vital to successful survival.
In addition to the physical challenges posed by each survival situation, Stroud confronts the psychological effects of isolation, physical injury, and exhaustion. Throughout the episode, Stroud narrates to the camera, commenting on his physical and psychological state, providing survival tips and making jokes. Stroud also often dismantles available equipment (e.g. bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....
A snowmobile, also known in some places as a snowmachine, or sled,is a land vehicle for winter travel on snow. Designed to be operated on snow and ice, they require no road or trail. Design variations enable some machines to operate in deep snow or forests; most are used on open terrain, including...
, airplane) that he happens to come across in the wild and puts it to another practical use.
Prior to each episode, Les relies heavily on local experts to brief him on flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...
and key survival techniques unique to that particular location. Drawing upon this local knowledge and guidance, Stroud shows the audience how to find viable sources of nourishment, avoid dangerous or unhealthy ones, and utilize them appropriately and efficiently. Stroud frequently explains that gathering food in this manner should be reserved for true survival situations in order to preserve the environment
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....
Stroud's survival situations are reported to have helped 2 real people who find themselves stranded in the elements to survive.
Except for footage of him arriving at his new setting, and being retrieved at the end of the week, the content of each episode is taped entirely by Stroud himself using several DV
DV is a format for the digital recording and playing back of digital video. The DV codec was launched in 1995 with joint efforts of leading producers of video camcorders....
cameras that he must carry with him everywhere that he goes (he later switched to a number of HDV
HDV is a format for recording of high-definition video on DV cassette tape. The format was originally developed by JVC and supported by Sony, Canon and Sharp...
cameras.) The burden of having to carry, place, and retrieve the camera equipment for each shot adds to the challenge and difficulty of each survival situation, and in several episodes Stroud chooses to leave a camera behind, videotaping him as he departs the area (the camera is retrieved later), and in one episode taking place in the Amazon
The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...
, Stroud is forced to flee his camp and abandon all but two of his cameras due to fear of a stalking jaguar
The jaguar is a big cat, a feline in the Panthera genus, and is the only Panthera species found in the Americas. The jaguar is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion, and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The jaguar's present range extends from Southern United States and Mexico...
. His camera and audio gear typically weigh about 50 pounds (22.7 kg) in total. During the "Behind the Scenes" episode, Stroud explains that "setting up or tearing down all of my camera gear takes about 65% of my time." The episode also explains that Stroud and his team extensively scout their locations ahead of time and consult with survivalists and natives to the area. The goal is both to ensure Stroud's safety and to sketch out interesting scenarios and techniques that can be illustrated on the show. He later records a voice-over commentary in the studio, where he explains his decision-making process and details of how he accomplished various tasks.
On July 16, 2007, Stroud and a support crew of four in the nearby safety camp were cited by the United States National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...
for commercial videotaping without a permit at Taroka Arm, a seldom-visited area at Kenai Fjords National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park is a United States National Park established in 1980 by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The park covers an area of approximately on the Kenai Peninsula in southcentral Alaska, near the town of Seward. The park contains the Harding Icefield, one of...
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...
. Investigators found a driftwood shelter surrounded by multiple cameras on the beach. The support crew was camped near a sensitive archaeological site. Stroud paid the required application, location and monitoring fees, totaling approximately $2,800 USD.
|Season||# of Eps.||First Airdate||Last Airdate
| Season 1
|| April 6, 2005
|| June 8, 2005
| Season 2
|| August 10, 2007
|| September 21, 2007
| Season 3
|| November 7, 2008
|| December 19, 2008
||No# of episodes
- Surviving Urban Disasters
Surviving Urban Disasters is an American reality television series that premiered on August 27, 2006 on the Science Channel. Host Les Stroud demonstrates survival methods for urban disasters such as flood....
, a similar series hosted by Les Stroud.
- Beyond Survival
Beyond Survival is a Canadian reality TV show hosted by survival expert Les Stroud.-Episodes:-See also:* Survivorman, TV series starring Les Stroud* Survive This, TV series hosted by Les Stroud-External links:* * *...
, another series hosted by Les Stroud that looks at the survival techniques of the last indigenous tribes.
- Man vs. Wild
Man vs. Wild, also called Born Survivor: Bear Grylls, Ultimate Survival, or Survival Game, is a survival television series hosted by Bear Grylls on the Discovery Channel. In the United Kingdom, the series was originally shown on Channel 4, but later series were broadcast on Discovery Channel UK...
, a similarly themed Discovery Channel series hosted by Bear Grylls
Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls is an English adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is best known for his television series Man vs. Wild, known as Born Survivor in the United Kingdom...