Bear Grylls under fire again after 'horrifying' failure to wear helmet on new TV series

Grylls is seen as an inspirational figure by many aspiring young adventurers

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The Independent Culture

Bear Grylls has incurred the wrath of a cave rescue team after failing to wear basic safety equipment on his “horrifying” new TV series.

The popular adventurer hosts Britain’s Biggest Adventures with Bear Grylls, which sees him undergo hazardous activities to give viewers thrills. 

One episode saw him explore Yorkshire Dales cave system Long Churn without a helmet, despite people having suffered fatal accidents there, prompting the Cave Rescue Organisation to complain to ITV.

Heather Eastwood, chair of the local team, raised her concerns over how Grylls’ “total disregard for safety in the outdoors, especially in relation to water and caving” might impact the many young people he inspires.

“I am struggling to express my horror,” she wrote. “To depict caving as something that you can just turn up and do is both irresponsible and dangerous. The fact that [Grylls] had no safety equipment in the form of appropriate clothing, a helmet and a reliable hands free torch which are a basic necessity in caving was an elementary mistake.”

Eastwood drew attention to the potential risks involved with caving, including hypothermia from cold and dampness, head injuries, slipping, dangerous drops and holes and the possibility of becoming lost and disorientated.

“I and many of my colleagues feel that ITV has disregarded safety and common sense in favour of sensationalising the activities to draw viewers, and would appeal to you in future to show a moral responsibility and depict and promote these activities in a safe and responsible manner,” she concluded.

Britain's Biggest Adventures airs in a post-watershed slot and carries a warning ahead of the programme. ITV insists that all activities are fully risk-assessed and specialists are on the ground at all times.

 “We take our responsibilities to the viewer extremely seriously," a spokesperson said. "Each episode of the series begins with a very clear notice to the viewer explicitly stating that Bear Grylls carries out a ‘range of extreme activities’, pointing out that he is a ‘trained professional, supported by an expert safety team’ and advising viewers not to ‘attempt to copy any of the dangerous activities in this show’.

“In the cave sequence, Bear makes the dangers involved explicitly and repeatedly clear to the viewer, including citing the number of fatalities that have occurred and the particular dangers during flooding.”

Representatives for Bear Grylls are yet to respond to our requests for comment.

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