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23rd Mar 2017

The bizarre story of the reality show whose contestants have been without an audience for months

Remember Eden?

Darragh Murphy

Put yourselves in the shoes of the contestants of Eden, the reality show that started filming last year.

You return from the Scottish Highlands, where you’ve been without internet, telephones and contact with the outside world for 12 months, only to find that the show you were “starring” in hasn’t been aired in seven months.

You’d be pretty pissed off.

Chances are you, the average television viewer, will only have a vague recollection of Eden, which was pitched as a kind of social experiment in which the contestants built a self-sufficient community for themselves based on the foundation of the most basic food and living materials.

The concept was that 23 people would be left stranded in the Scottish Highlands with four crew members and cameras would document how people would survive if they had to start all over again without modern technology.

The contestants knew that they would be away for a year, from March, 2016 to March, 2017.

Well March, 2017 is upon us and the cast members have left the site… to some very strange news.

No, it’s not the update that Donald Trump is President of the United States of America or that the UK is set to leave the European Union.

But they will have learned that the show they were filming over the past 12 months hasn’t been aired on television since last August.

Four hour-long episodes were broadcast on Channel 4 between July and August of last year but not a peep has been heard since, with the programme’s social media channels having gone radio silent last October.

A number of contestants left the show in that period but given that the concept was that there would be no contact with the outside world, the remaining participants were never told that the show had stopped airing.

Ratings were what was said to have halted the broadcast of the hour-long episodes as viewing figures dropped from 1.7 million to 800,000 during the first four shows.

This is not to suggest that those who held firm and saw out the series will not be seen on our screens again as Channel 4 confirmed to the Telegraph that the show will return at some stage in the near future to catch up with how the contestants coped.

“Filmed every day for an entire year Eden will return to our screens soon to tell the full story of life in the community and how they have fared.”

Something seems very fishy though as it is not common practice for reality shows to release an initial batch of four episodes only to drop completely off for seven months, before returning at some indeterminate date to catch up.

“It was never announced when Eden was going to be back on but a decision had been taken to revisit the show when everyone has come out, after the experiment is over, which will be March 23,” a source told the Telegraph.

Interestingly, among those who left the show in the period it was off the air, was Tom Wah, an outdoor instructor who replied with the below to a curious viewer.

More than half of the original cast had left the Highlands prior to the completion of the experiment, with grim reports emerging in recent months about the participants’ diet.

Local resident Maria Macpherson told the Mirror: “Some of the participants were even seen in the dentist at Fort William needing treatment after eating chicken feed grit. It has not done this area any favours – it has just not lived up to expectations.”

Who knows what happened to the show and what factors, other than a drop in ratings, resulted in it disappearing from the airwaves for so many months.

All we know is we’ll definitely be tuning in if – and it’s a big if – it returns to explain what went wrong.


Channel 4,Eden,TV