Channel 4 have commissioned a six-part documentary series, “Ed Stafford’s Kings of the Jungle”, from Twenty Twenty Productions.
In the series, Ed Stafford, a famous explorer and former captain in the British army, creates an extreme survival school in which struggling modern fathers and their children are subjected to some of the world’s most difficult outdoor trials.
Ed said of his reasons for the project: “Increasingly the odds are stacked against you as a parent. You find yourself having to swim against the tide to simply do what’s best for your kids. For me connection is everything; this isn’t about parenting techniques – that stuff is instinctive – rather this is an extreme fast-track to a deeper connection between dads and their children in a modern world where that is more tenuous and harder to achieve than ever.”
Essentially Ed Stafford fears for the welfare of today’s British fathers. They’ve forgotten their duty as role models for men and have become too coddled, complacent, and risk-averse. Ed is convinced that it is his duty as a parent to exert as much pressure and difficulty on his children as possible so that they may emerge stronger and more capable individuals. This is why Ed and his family of five—wife Laura and their three small children—will spend the next year living in the Costa Rican jungle. However, they won’t be traveling solo.
Ed wants to help struggling modern fathers and their children by putting them through some of the harshest outdoor experiences on the planet through an extreme wilderness adventure school modeled after programs he has participated in here in the UK. Ed hopes that his wilderness camp will help them rediscover the meaning of fatherhood by removing all the modern day distractions.
Following the first group of students to attend Ed’s wilderness survival camp, this new docuseries from Channel 4 follows the students as they learn survival skills in the great outdoors. Ordinary, struggling, and out-of-their-comfort-zone British dads, each bringing one of their kids, will spend several weeks in the heart of the Central American jungle, sleeping in makeshift shelters, catching and cooking their own food, digging toilets, building fires, avoiding spiders, snakes, and scorpions, and dealing with boiling heat, biting insects, and sky-high humidity.
Still, that’s not all. In addition to fighting the extremes of daily life, the protagonists in each episode will face a wilderness challenge crafted by Ed to put their mettle and their relationships to the test.
Every obstacle they face, whether it’s bungee jumping over deep ravines, paddling through the dark of a jungle at night, or being abandoned in the woods to fend for themselves, will put them to the test in ways they never have before.
Ed believes that risk-taking, resilience, and adventure are all essential to children’s growth, but that they are in jeopardy in today’s culture. British men are losing touch with the traits that make them helpful, whether out of fear, ignorance, or a lack of role models. This is happening while they are fixated on social media, true crime podcasts, and diet programs, but it will have irreversible consequences.
James O’Reilly, Twenty Twenty Creative Director, said, “We all know Ed as a legend of survival and adventure, but he’s also a father who is incredibly passionate and thoughtful about his role in his kids’ lives. We’re thrilled to be working with him and Channel 4 on this new format which promises to be a transformative experience for ordinary dads in Britain. We can’t wait to bring it to the screen.”
Commissioning Editors: Anna Miralis and Madonna Benjamin.