Risky business

WHETHER IT’S SURVIVING ON A REMOTE ISLAND, SAILING THE HIGH SEAS OR VENTURING DEEP INTO THE JUNGLE, RISK MANAGEMENT COMPANY REMOTE TRAUMA HAS THE SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE TO KEEP EVERYONE INVOLVED SAFE.

As the latest survival and adventure programmes
show, TV has the power to transport viewers to distant and often dangerous parts of the world, but the crew and on-screen talent charting these unfamiliar territories are risking a lot to bring these realities to our screens.

Whether it’s Channel 4’s The Island with Bear
Grylls, which begins its fourth series next month, or
the latest version of the original global reality series,
Survivor, broadcasters and viewers are demanding
more and more from these kinds of programmes and
this thrill-seeking approach to content often means
close encounters with danger in a very real sense.


“There is definitely a greater appetite for risk,” says Alex
Bohanna, owner of safety and health risk management
company Remote Trauma, which has supported both
shows alongside a plethora of content for UK broadcasters, as well as Discovery and National Geographic.


“It’s partly because life for the majority has become
so much safer now. People can feel like they haven’t
really tested themselves and their perception of risk
doesn’t really exist.”


It can also be high stakes for the film crews working
in these challenging environments, and that is where
Remote Trauma comes in.

Bohanna’s 25-strong team has years of experience
across a wide spectrum of disciplines, from military to
medical, expeditions and security, and was set up
specifically to support production companies taking
on these trickier shoots.


“Every one of my team has dealt with serious injury,
illness and, on occasion, death, in their professional
life outside of TV,” Bohanna says. “Our people have
seen the real side of it, the physical and psychological
impact when it goes wrong.”


It’s not just this expertise that sets Remote Trauma
apart from the competition, it’s a mindset. It takes a
lot to deter them or, as Bohanna calls it, “PTP” – pull
the plug. “Our holistic approach, getting in at the early
stages with production and editorial, means we can
give advice about what works and how to get the ‘wow’
factor. I can’t tell a story or edit a show but I can
provide safe parameters to operate within while still
delivering the jeopardy. Anything can be achieved with
sufficient planning and the right kind of support.”
 

 

Bohanna points to a few scenarios: dealing with
extreme heat, humidity and tropical illness in a South
American jungle for SAS: Who Dares Wins (Channel 4/
Minnow Films) or managing severe weather events and
sea conditions on Shine TV’s The Island With Bear Grylls
(UK, USA, France, Norway, Spain and Holland series).

Channel 4’s current series Mutiny, produced by
Windfall Films and supported by Remote Trauma on
location, is another example and a sign of things to
come; C4 history commissioning editor Rob Coldstream
is calling for more pitches of “epic” re-enactments.


But this kind of programming doesn’t come easy.
Remote Trauma has responded to this demand,
carving out a niche as a specialist provider supporting
adventure and high-risk television-making in far-flung
locations.


“A number of my safety peers have said they do not
have the appetite or feel comfortable dealing with this
level of risk,” Bohanna says. “But my philosophy is, no
matter how extreme the idea, I know we can find a way
to help deliver it safely for everyone concerned.”

There are, naturally, some ethical boundaries –
if a participant has a particular issue that puts themselves
or others at risk, for example. But short of
“filming a reality show in a war zone”, there’s not
much that fazes Bohanna and his team.


“There are always things that come out of leftfield,”
Bohanna says. “You can’t always fully guarantee that
accidents won’t happen, but if you plan properly, the vast
majority of risks can be managed in the early stages.”


Contact Alex Bohanna
Tel 0844 800 9158
Email bohanna@remotetrauma.com
Web remotetrauma.com