Seven young explorers relive the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh. The team of twelve-to-fourteen-year-olds attempt to survive on their own in the rainforest for 24 hours.
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Seven young explorers are taking on
the toughest challenge of their lives -
an extreme expedition in South America.
That is mad.
They're attempting a series of astonishing world firsts...
Oh, my God!
..going where no children have been...
..to get to some of the most awesome places on earth.
We've reached the top.
The team are following in the footsteps of the great Elizabethan,
Sir Walter Raleigh, the first Englishman to explore Guyana,
as he searched for El Dorado, the lost city of gold.
Led by survival expert Ben Major
and record-breaking adventurer Polly Murray,
the epic journey will push the seven explorers to the limit, and beyond.
-It's all bad.
I hate you so much!
-Are you having a laugh?
-It's too scary!
Coming up, a Serious first -
the explorers spend a whole night alone in the rainforest...
We can't survive. I want to leave.
..and face-to-face with a killer crocodile.
Did you see its teeth?
Previously, the team have been learning jungle survival techniques,
from making shelters and beds...
You've broken it, Michael!
..to eating bugs.
But it was tiny ants that really freaked Michael out.
Oh, God, he got me again!
The leaders had a huge surprise up their sleeves.
We're going to bung you into the rainforest to survive...
-Oh, my God!
-Are you joking?
-But there was a twist.
-Not all of you are doing the survival.
The team had to vote for two to go on a crocodile survey instead.
As a lifetime reptile lover, Regan was desperate to be chosen...
I'm going to vote for Jake.
But Jake and Josh won the vote.
-I'm actually speechless.
-It's going to be fantastic.
Regan was gutted.
Bit upset about it,
but...what can you do?
Early next morning, Jake and Josh head off on their treat...
Have a good time.
..surveying black caimans - a huge type of crocodile.
Regan, take care, have fun, enjoy. We'll see you tomorrow.
See you tomorrow.
-This is the life.
-A little bit of luxury on the side.
-This is the first fizzy drink in about two weeks.
Regan, OK? Flint and steel, three bits of rubber, and a bit of gum.
The other explorers get ready for their survival night.
-They're allowed only basic tools...
..including a rod and bait to catch fish, a mosquito net and a machete.
-Now, get rid of that.
-No, I need it.
You can have that, you can't have the lippy.
Just checking you are not hiding any food underneath armpits and stuff.
I tell you, I've done this before and I've seen, literally, people with,
like, 15 packets of noodles hidden down their legs
and God knows what else. So I'm just double checking.
-You may as well have these.
-Yeah. ALL LAUGH
Before heading into the jungle for the survival night,
there's one crucial last detail.
Who's going to spend it with who?
Just out of interest, who here thinks,
"Whoa, this is just the most amazing thing, I want to go off by myself?"
-I'd love to do that.
-Not completely by myself.
-I'm, like, scared, and I'm with all these guys,
and I'm really scared. So if I was on my own,
I'd be terrified and I wouldn't feel safe.
Michael, you reckon you're going to be safe?
-I'll be all right.
-That a decision.
-Michael's going to be by himself. OK?
-And I would like Sammie to go with Megan.
-You two always go together!
-No, we don't.
-And I would like Nikita to go with Regan.
-I would rather be by myself.
He always gets on my nerves. Too much of Regan gets on my nerves.
I always try to be nice to him, and then it ends up in an argument.
You guys have got a real common interest in wildlife,
and that kind of stuff.
Sometimes you have to do stuff you don't want to do.
-- I know! I know!
-Think about his feelings.
And how much he wanted to go on the crocodile trip.
That didn't happen, and look at him now - he's fine.
Nikita, when I heard that we had to be together, I was unsure as well.
I know that sometimes we don't get on, sometimes it doesn't work.
But sometimes in life, you just have to see it through.
Who would you go with if you could go with anyone, Nikita?
-We can handle talking to a hat,
but we can't handle talking to a hat with no ears.
- We're trying to speak to you in a normal conversation,
so we can sort it out, and you are just going into Nikita mode,
thinking about yourself. You've got to think about everyone else.
- I know. You've all told me
-a million times over!
-ALL TALK AT ONCE
-So are you going to do it or not?
-So are you going to go with Regan?
-Yes! I said that ages ago.
No-one else heard it!
It was all a bit a joke for me, because I knew,
no matter what, we were going to end up going together.
We've both accepted it now. We're going to go and get on with things.
I feel better about being with Regan now.
I don't know why I was like that earlier. I just... I don't know.
I just feel we have to get on with and carry on.
When the great adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh came to Guyana
to search for lost treasure,
he showed great courage to go where no Englishman had been before.
Guiding him at all times were local tribespeople,
who helped him survive in the hostile rainforest.
By attempting to survive on their own,
the Serious explorers are about to try something
even Raleigh never experienced.
Why are we making such a big fuss? It's only a day.
This is you guys. Yeah, this is it.
Good luck. Abandoning you in the rainforest!
The next 24 hours will push the explorers to their absolute limits,
both physically and mentally.
-You're not leaving us here, are you?
-Oh, my God!
-You are joking?
I am basically dead!
This is where I fall over.
The teams are dropped off in different areas.
-I will see you, hopefully, tomorrow.
-See you, Michael. Good luck.
It seems really weird just abandoning you there, I tell you.
Each team will be observed from a distance by a local guide
and by a film crew.
The explorers are not allowed to make contact,
talking instead to video diary cameras.
They'll only be offered help in an emergency.
Meanwhile, Jake and Josh have a surprise stop
on their way to the project.
-Oh, my God!
-That is cool!
-And all to ourselves.
MUSIC: "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars
BOTH: That is so nice!
-No eels, no anaconda.
-Never mind them lot. Stay here.
-I'm sure they'll be fine.
With just five hours to sunset, the others urgently need
to put their survival training into practice and make a bed.
But Sammie isn't being much help.
Don't chop that down! It's one of our supports!
I'm sorry, my concentration span's the size of a pea now.
How do you actually have the energy? I cannot be bothered.
Oh, I'm sweating like a pig.
But I'm going to keep going. SHE YAWNS
Otherwise, we will not have anywhere to sleep.
Michael, who's on his own, is taking a very laid-back approach.
I'll probably make a huge fire in a minute. Might make a bed, if I want.
But I might just wrap myself in my mosquito net and go to bed.
Using his flint and steel,
Michael finally gets on with lighting his fire.
While over in Nikita and Regan's camp,
Nikita has managed to smuggle something rather useful past Ben.
You know what could really help us about now?
-If you went and got us some palm leaves.
-I don't know where any are.
You could go looking.
The illegal lighter's been spotted by one of the jungle guides.
-I'm told you've got a lighter, and I need to...
-Oh, that's sad.
Thank you very much.
Honestly, don't know what to do now. This is terrible.
Starving already and I absolutely hate fish, so this is going to be...
Nikita, we all need to do something. So far, I've done everything.
-No, you haven't.
-What haven't I done? We might not catch food.
We can get water. All that leaves for us to do is have a decent shelter.
Getting a good night's sleep will be rather easier
for Jake and Josh, who have just arrived at the research centre.
Let's see where you're sleeping.
-Oh, this is heaven.
-Just too nice to be true.
-En suite. And look.
-What's that thing over there?
-Oh, how nice, though.
-What is it?!
-A flushing loo.
-I've forgotten how to use that.
Sparks go on you, then you light.
I'm talking to cotton wool.
Being alone in the forest is starting to get to Megan and Sammie.
-Oh, my God, there's a red spider on me.
-It's off, it's off.
They've spent nearly all their time so far building a sleeping platform.
Try sitting on it, see if it holds.
-Oh, that took us ages!
-Are you saying we give up?
Megan, I need you to stay positive, because I'm not positive at all.
I was always scared. Then I thought,
"What's the worst that could happen?"
This is basically the worst that could happen, and this is terrible.
I'm scared we won't have a fire or a bed made. Or anything to eat.
It's getting crucial now. I don't think we're going to make it.
What do you think of the shelter?
-It's all right, but it's still letting rain through.
That's cos it's not finished.
Leader Ben secretly visits each team to check on how they're doing.
I can easily light my own fire, cos I can get a flame straight away.
Don't do it now.
If you're not even going to use the fire, there's no point.
-There we go, the flame's on it already.
-Now we're wasting stuff.
-It's only one piece of cotton wool.
I think they could remain dry, if they're lucky.
But at this current rate, they won't have a bed off the ground,
so they could get bitten really badly tonight.
Lots of mozzies, lots of ants, lots of insects.
And they won't have any food.
-So, pretty miserable.
-OK. On the last one, we put leaves on top.
Don't fiddle with all the bits that have already been done.
The other side of this.
At last, Nikita starts helping Regan out...
Twist this round here.
..and the sleeping platform begins to take shape.
-Bish, bash, bosh.
-Now we're working on a base together.
I'm just happy that she's helping out now and I hope that carries on.
Nikita, you see that thing there? That support beam?
-Try not to knock it on your way out.
-All right, I won't.
Sorry for saying that, I just... No, it's all right.
At first glance, Michael's camp looks very organised,
but he still hasn't actually done a lot.
There's about an hour left of daylight, and all he's done is
rig a mosquito net and put a couple of banana leaves on the floor.
He's got a fire going, which is fantastic, but...
it's going to rain tonight, and he is going to get absolutely drenched.
It's a bit boring being here on your own.
No-one to speak to, so you speak to yourself, really.
Not sure what the time is, don't have a watch.
Don't have any way to find out.
Ben has found Michael's fishing rod
and feels it's important enough to briefly break the no contact rule.
-You might need this. Propped against a tree.
-And also, can you feel the humidity?
It's going to rain tonight. I'll say no more.
Despite Ben's warning, Michael does nothing
but put a few leaves on top of his mosquito net.
I think he's a little bit scared, actually.
He doesn't want to go out into the bush and cut lots of plants.
Cos he is worried about snakes, worried about spiders.
That's his biggest phobia, but the way he's going about it,
they're all going to come to him.
It's one hour to nightfall, and having also failed to make
a shelter, Megan and Sammie are now trying to catch some food.
Oh, oh, oh! It's a crab!
-Let go! It won't let go!
-Come on. Catch this one for dinner.
-Ooh, ooh, ooh.
-Got one, got one!
-It's a fish!
-Our first fish!
-It's too small. Put it back.
Here, boys, these are for you.
And... Don't say, don't say... Oh!
-Beef burgers and chips! Woah.
-The best dinner ever.
-Is it real?
-It's not cardboard, is it?
-To accompany, a little selection.
-You've got to have ketchup.
Do you not feel bad?
I do a little, but I think they should be all right
because they learned quite a lot from the lessons what we did.
But I think all they'll have is a faulty shelter, really rank fish.
-Here's to a good night. Cheers.
In contrast, Megan and Sammie have caught absolutely nothing
for their supper.
-This might sound stupid, but I'm so scared.
-Don't worry, I'm scared too.
TEARFULLY: I'm trying to get a fire going,
because otherwise we have absolutely nothing.
They've got their priorities completely the wrong way round.
They tried to fish when they haven't got a fire, or a shelter.
And now it's pitch black.
Tonight is going to feel like the longest night of their lives.
They're getting overwhelmed by their situation.
They're in such a state that Ben decides once more
to break the rules of the exercise and step in to help.
-What's going on?
-I'm really scared, I don't like it.
I don't want to be here at all.
I'd rather jump into the middle of the ocean then be here.
We've got no food, no base, the fire won't start.
It's all going wrong and it's just too scary. I don't like it.
-I don't want to stay here.
you are winding each other up at the moment into panicking.
You're going through what people in real survival situations go through.
That is human nature, that is normal, OK?
The point is you have to be able to pick yourself up from that.
You know what I mean? Megan, are you all right?
-You're huffing and puffing.
-I think so.
-Just got to get that flipping bed made.
-Let's do that.
Ben helps them get started on re-making their bed.
Did you get that one as well? I'm never camping ever, ever again.
You've got a roof, you've got all the uprights for the bed,
and then let's rig your mozzie nets.
-What do you reckon?
-Sorry for being...
-No, no, no.
The key thing is that if you feel like that, take a deep breath
and go, "Hang on a minute - we're fine. What we need to do here?"
Now we're going to have a good night's sleep.
I'll leave you in peace.
We don't actually know why we got upset now,
we feel like proper stupid idiots.
We're a bit hungry, but we have a lovely bed and it is all amazing.
Jake and Josh are finally heading out with researchers
on their unique black Caiman survey.
What would you be doing on a Sunday night at home?
Getting ready for a Monday!
The fearsome South American crocodiles are most active at night
and the project aims to capture them briefly to find out more about them.
The idea is that you're trying to get one out in the open,
one that's bold enough and stays up on top of the water.
Sir Walter Raleigh knew the dangers of these
ancient reptiles only too well.
"I had a very proper young fellow,
"who, leaping out to swim in the river, was in all our sights taken
"and devoured by one of these Caimans."
-There is one. There is one.
-We've got a baby Caiman.
The first Caiman caught by the survey team
is just a few months old.
Is it rare to bite or does it bite a lot?
-At this size they won't try to attack yet.
-Oh, that's cool.
-They go sideways, look, watch.
-They lengthen sideways.
-That is cool.
Do you want to hold this one behind the head here?
It's not too bad, it's just like a big lizard.
Don't want to find his mum though. Oh!
Before long they're lucky enough to spot an adult Caiman.
Look at his teeth!
This is so crazy.
-Watch, watch, watch.
-It's just so huge.
-This is to close its jaws.
-You can imagine swimming in the river.
-I don't want to swim in the river any more.
-With that beast.
Black Caimans are the biggest type of crocodile found in South America,
and this one is very big.
-Jake, he is twice the size of you.
-That is scary.
Three, two, one, lift!
It's not off the ground. It's still not off the ground.
Ooh, that's heavy.
It weighs almost twice as much as an adult human.
Josh and Jake help record other Caiman vital statistics...
-OK, step back, guys.
..before the powerful creature is released back into the river.
-That is cool! That is cool!
-That was phenomenal.
-It was great, it was so close.
-It's been brilliant, every second of it.
After their earlier differences,
Nikita and Regan are now working together as a closely knit team.
Quick, start getting sticks on there.
Me and Regan finally got the fire going - that is impressive.
So, yeah, I think I'm going to go to bed now.
It's not as bad as I expected. But, you know, that's the way it rolls.
None of the explorers on the survival night
have succeeded in finding any food.
-You OK? Yeah.
-I missing food so much.
-I'm actually so hungry it's unbelievable. You?
Some days I have more than two dinners.
Just about to go to bed.
Hopefully it doesn't rain at night and I get soaking wet
and get eaten by loads of ants.
Night night. Peace out. Bullet ant, eurgh!
Unfortunately for Michael, Ben's weather forecast proves correct.
At 1am, there's a torrential rainforest downpour,
and he's built no shelter to protect himself.
My back's a bit wet, but otherwise pretty good.
While Sammie and Megan get a little wet,
their shelter keeps out the worst of the rain.
Thank God we built a roof in the end.
The only team to sleep right through the storm are Nikita and Regan.
Their shelter holds up perfectly.
And they're finally woken by the jungle dawn chorus.
I'm so happy we got the shelter in the end because we had so much rain.
We only got through it like a team.
-I think we did the best out of everyone, maybe.
I'm still alive. Megan's is still alive.
We made it through the night, we made it through the night!
We made it. We made a full night in this beautifully horrible place.
I can't wait to eat something, because I'm absolutely starving.
I just can't wait to get out of here.
After five solid hours of rain without any shelter,
Michael has had by far the worst night.
Last night did not go to plan at all.
It absolutely hammered down through all the night.
I got absolutely soaking wet. See, even my hands are shrivelled up.
My feet are drenched. But I'm safe.
Oh, my God, that is the biggest spider I've ever seen.
It's gone up the tree. Yep, go on.
Don't stop there.
We were told we would be picked up at noon.
And we're pretty sure it's past noon.
So I don't know what is taking so long.
-Me and Megan are both really hungry.
-Our last resort is beetles.
I'm not eating a beetle. I'm not that hungry yet.
I can't wait to get out of here, get dry, get something to eat.
-Can you hear it?
-I can hear it!
-Oh, my God. Is it them?
-I think it is, I think it's them!
-Were going, we're going, we're going!
-We're being saved.
Didn't I say it'd be three o'clock? 2-3 o'clock.
-Is it about 2:30, three o'clock?
-It's half-past 11.
-Are you joking?
-What time did you wake us up?!
-But you survived the night.
-What do you mean, just?
-We've gone mental.
I think the key thing about this exercise is it teaches you
They will take from it that they have got to remain strong
-when circumstances are against them.
-I just don't like it!
I was quite annoyed with myself
because I don't normally get upset about things that easily.
I was telling myself, "You are so stupid". Why cry over a bed?
I hope they don't make us stay here!
I do feel quite silly about it now
because I realised it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be.
But I was just so scared I couldn't contain it.
-So, what happened?
-I got drenched.
But it was all right, I actually got loads of sleep.
He took the easy option yesterday, didn't build a shelter,
thinking it wasn't going to rain. But he got through the night.
A testament to his character, but I think it has taught him
a valuable lesson for the future.
I was kind of disappointed in myself. I always think I know best.
I should have listened to everyone else and made a bed.
It would have made it a lot more enjoyable and easier.
But I am really proud of myself for sticking through it even though
I was sopping wet.
-Did your shelter work?
-We slept really well.
But, more importantly, how did you two get on?
We got on actually very well after the initial couple of hours.
That's a good thing.
Spending time with Regan seems to have changed my mind a bit.
I seem to be getting on well with him now.
After the rocky start, we just started working together.
If we had been against each other, it would have been horrible.
Sometimes I can think stuff like, "Oh, I really don't want to do it."
But when I do it, it's really fun.
So I really should try to not do that,
because it annoys me afterwards. I was like, "I was so pathetic."
They have used their heads
and through adversity have come together.
That was a turning point for them as a pair of people.
Being able to tolerate and get on with one another.
The young explorers return to base a little wiser - and a lot hungrier.
None have eaten for more than 24 hours.
Josh and Jake have arrived back early,
and have quite a surprise in store.
Right, so we went out last night.
We went out fishing, out hunting, and we caught a few hotdogs,
-a few pizzas.
And then we got some bread, freshly baked.
We had to wrestle it out of the water though.
And then I went fishing and caught some crisps.
My favourite chocolate bar!
We've got hot dogs and everything. It's like a dream.
It tastes 10 times better than it usually does because I'm so hungry.
Every crisp is like, "Ohh!"
They brought us so much lovely food today, I'm thankful for that.
I'm really jealous though.
I would have loved to go on the Caiman experience.
But the last 24 hours have proved Regan is a serious jungle survivor,
gaining him fresh respect among the team.
So, who built the best shelter? Nikita and Regan?
No, Regan, because Nikita only helped with the last part.
'He is a really nice person, making the hut and stuff.'
He was, like, absolutely amazing last night.
Next time on Serious Explorers...
An epic challenge - paddling 75 miles down a jungle river.
My bum absolutely kills, I just want to walk the rest of it.
And a rare encounter 100 feet up.
She's checking me out for dinner.
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This episode sees a Serious Explorers first, as the twelve-to-fourteen-year-olds attempt to survive on their own in the rainforest for 24 hours. The demanding exercise tests them to the limit physically and psychologically, proving the longest night of their lives. Two of the young explorers get a unique treat, helping with a survey of black caimans, a huge type of South American crocodile.