The second series of Channel 4′s high-octane reality programme Hunted will see 10 new contestants go on the run and do everything possible to avoid being found by an expert surveillance team.
The fugitives must go completely off-grid for a month in the UK with minimal funds and belongings, while having no contact with friends and family in order to evade capture and to win a newly-introduced £100,000 prize.
Despite this monetary motivator to succeed, and the benefit of having watched the show last year, it was a far tougher experience for some than expected.
Actress and office worker Lolly, 34, said she was “a bit cocky” for thinking she could improve upon previous attempts, but admitted it was more of a shock that she had bargained for.
She told Press Association: “It’s so easy when you watch it. I was obsessed with the last series. Certain things, I thought I wouldn’t do, like I obviously wouldn’t get on a train or call home.
“But it was snowing and ice cold, and all I wanted was some warmth so I did end up going to a friend’s at one point.
“When you’re tired, cold, hungry and vulnerable, you do things you wouldn’t expect.”
She added that previously watching Hunted “lured me into a false sense of security”, because the hunters employed new tactics this time that she could not prepare for – such as the utilisation of dogs and drones.
A major part of the process is relying on strangers for help, something Lolly found easier than anticipated due to the “massively helpful” members of the public.
She said: “People drove me really far out of their way and one guy got someone else to pick his kid up from school. People were giving me food and money.”
The generosity of strangers is something forces veteran and amputee Kirk, 37 – who was joined by fellow member of BLESMA (British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association), Jeremy, 57 – agreed was the most surprising thing about being on the run.
He said: “We met some fantastic people during our time on the run. We were helped by local farmers, land owners and people we just met.
“I think there is a common anti-establishment, ‘let’s put one up to the system’ thing going on and everyone we met tried their best to help us.”
The programme highlights the levels of surveillance across the UK and why it is so incredibly hard to off-grid with CCTV tracking, social media and the monitoring of card use among the methods of observation.
Kirk dismissed the idea that being under a watchful eye is a negative thing and said that the public “only hear the bad side of what the surveillance world has to offer”.
He said: “If you think your privacy is being invaded then ask yourself, ‘did I sleep safe in my bed last night?’. There are plenty of people in countries I’ve lived and worked in that sleep with a gun under their pillow.
“I’d rather have men and women keeping an eye on our safety – and the bottom line is, if you’ve nothing to hide then why worry?”
Hunted starts tonight at 9pm Channel 4.