Castaway on a Bear’s island

Tony Fletcher
Tony Fletcher

A retired police chief inspector is one of 13 men to be stranded on a desert island for Bear Grylls’ latest TV show.

The Island with Bear Grylls has been called the ‘ultimate survival experiment’ with the aim of finding out if modern man has lost the ability to be practical - even if their lives depend on it.

The first of five one-hour shows aired on Monday. It saw the group, including 70-year-old Tony Fletcher from Little Smeaton, cast away on a remote island in Panama and stripped of all the comforts of civilisation except the clothes they stand up in and some basic tools.

During the next four weeks, viewers will see the men battle to survive, completely on their own to the point where they even have to film themselves.

Mr Fletcher, who began his police career as a constable in Castleford in 1958, and went on to become chief inspector at New Scotland Yard in London, wanted to go on the show to prove you can have a challenge at any time of life.

He said: “I learned that at my age, I can still ‘cut the mustard’ and that my wide experience of life was very valuable on the island.

“It confirmed for me that it is still possible to move forward and continue to learn.

“I felt I gained a great deal from being with the team, particularly the five young men under 30 with whom I spent a lot of time hearing about their issues, problems and social habits.

“The experience has changed my perspective. The thing I found most tough while on the island was the total loss of contact with my wife and family. It is easy to take that for granted, which I know I have been guilty of in the past.”

Fellow castaways include a leakage engineer, a dental business consultant and a hairdresser.

The next episode can be seen on Monday, May 12 at 8pm on Channel 4.