AN ENERGETIC 66-year old businessman from Greenfield has taken on the ultimate survival challenge as a competitor in Channel 4’s ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’.
Frank Rothwell, who owns Manchester Cabins, is the oldest of 16 competitors selected out of thousands to take part in the BAFTA winning show, now in its fourth series.
The show sees ordinary Britons abandoned on uninhabited islands in the Pacific, facing treacherous weather conditions, severely limited resources, environmental hazards and near starvation.
This fourth series focuses on the generation gap and if the enthusiasm and energy of youth trump the experience and wisdom of age.
On one island, eight castaways aged between 18-30 are abandoned while on the neighbouring island is a group of eight older castaways.
The Islanders have to fend for themselves armed only with some survival training, the clothes they stand up in, filming equipment, medical supplies, some basic tools and fishing equipment and enough water for 24 hours.
Without spoiling the secrets of the show, Frank, who has sailed around the world in his own yacht, spoke to the show about why he wanted to take part in such a gruelling challenge.
“I am a person who always seizes the opportunity. An adventure like this cannot be bought. I am a doer. I could not miss an opportunity like this,” he said.
“This was another challenge and another box to tick off in the list of life. Later in life I don’t want to be in my rocking chair thinking I could have done that.”
Frank, who has worked since the age of 13, added: “I have done an awful lot in my life. I already knew my limits. It is in my nature to prosper and thrive.
“The toughest part was missing Judith, my wife of 46 years. I had mentally conditioned myself to realise I was going to go without food; so not eating was not an issue for me.”
He added: “The different age groups is a good concept. Having an under 30s and an over 30s group dynamic was interesting. The strongest group, I thought, was the older.”
Speaking about his latest show, Bear Grylls said: “I think it was the hardest season we’ve ever done.
“We had horrific conditions, beyond anything we’ve ever seen. Every hour brings a fresh twist and turn. And it’s a full-on mental, physical, emotional and spiritual assault.”
He added: “One of the things I always think is young people get a really hard time. Everyone’s got opinions about young people, and those opinions are not always great.
“So, I thought let’s see if the exuberance and passion of youth can triumph over the experience and dogged determination and hardiness of so many older people.”
Viewers can see ‘The Island with Bear Grylls’ Episode 1 on Channel 4 on Sunday, April 23 at 9pm then Episode 2 on Monday 24 at 9pm.