Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands, Channel 4

by | Apr 14, 2008 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

If you get a kick out of watching bronzed hunks paddling about tropical shallows dressed in nothing more than a soaking pair of shorts, or the willowy, sunbathing frustrated models propping themselves up with their elbows as they smile and laugh at the blokish antics while furtively formulating fake affection stratagems behind their lead-lined sunglasses, then welcome. For everyone else it’s a protracted exercise in superficial futility.

What was good about it?

• The contestants, on first impressions, don’t appear to be wholly vile. Faith, Barrie and James were quite pleasant, although James was purged at the end of the episode when one member of each team had to leave the island for good.

What was bad about it?

• In Shipwrecked’s twisted philosophy, the initial inclusion of two overweight people – Katie and Barrie – was as momentous as FW De Klerk’s dismantling of Apartheid. Sadly it failed as Katie, an excitable 19-year-old from Newcastle, was subjected to the heinous visual torture of five, very slim and mostly pretty young women who couldn’t wait to slip into their bikinis and wade into the ocean while she was left peering solemnly out at the happy group. She lasted two days, and was replaced by Cerys, slim and Welsh, she even arrived wearing her bikini.

• Katie said she wanted to leave because she “couldn’t be herself”, but the brutality that she would have to physically compare herself daily with the rest of the girls was a cruel factor. It might not have been as bad if the reason for her and Barrie’s inclusion wasn’t so blatant – they were clearly chosen to be the ‘ugly’ people; and such people are only ever chosen for reality programmes like Shipwrecked to act as dumb stooges for the prettier, more popular contestants (popular, based on the fact that the people who watch are often as shallow as the contestants).

• The beautiful people then senselessly smother the ‘ugly’ people in hollow adoration, (“Oh, I really, really love Katie”, “Oh, Barrie’s so lovely!” would be the sort of thing you might have expected to hear) thus enabling them to appear to judge people on a whole by their personality while sticking their tongues indiscriminately down one another’s gorgeous throats, leaving Katie out (Barrie is the only gay on the island).

• But Katie’s early exit still served the group a purpose. For instead of ‘bonding’ (that now is such a misshapen, redundant word, meaning illusory, transient acquaintance than any real friendship) over how much they ‘loved’ her, a group of them formed into a whirlpool of acrid spite, with Susan as the frothing eye of the eddy, spitting out insults about how Katie was “pathetic”.

• Susan was also the abhorrent standard which indicated that this year’s bunch of contestants could reach the peaks of loathsomeness that characterised last year’s hobgoblins to the point whereby Shipwrecked becomes less of a game show and more of a way to smuggle the very worst inhabitants out of the country to a place far, far away to where these toxic pollutants are rendered impotent to British society.

• Of the other bad contestants: Jack comes across as the type of person who will proudly tell you he’s never read a book in his life – and truly believes he hasn’t suffered as a result despite the fact that every third sentence of his is “Thass how I roll!”; Danny seems to be a Robbie Williams fan in both mind and deed in that he hates music and loves sex, pointless sex; Char acted like a dizzy farming lass but she was part of the group sniggering at Susan’s snide taunts about Katie, she was purged at the end of the episode; Tom is a one-man walking justification for the unjustifiable Class War, posh and pompous he also has a Dutch Chest i.e. his pecs are about as mountainous as Holland; while Lara and Carly, despite a mutual propensity to break down in tears as if a Britain’s Got Talent double act, only annoy through acting as emblems of the way in which Shipwrecked is tipped in favour of teenagers who “have had a privileged upbringing” – about half of them have had “a privileged upbringing”, which isn’t a demographical share of British society.

• Marvyn, meanwhile, is a PE teacher, placing him above only property developers and stock brokers in the employment food chain, who seems to be begging for a teenager “with no life experience” to tell him what to do so he can exhale his full PE teacher wrath upon their unwrinkled brows, breathing fire with the same sanctimonious umbrage as thick people who “hate students” because they are the ever-present raven perched above their bedroom door who evermore remind them of their own wilful stupidity.

• The incessant, extraneous torrent of the word “def’nit’ly”.

• The contestants aren’t solely to blame, much of the culpability for this faux-fest can be traced back to amoral producers who believe that simply churning out and manipulating emotions and feelings somehow manifests as decent television, when in reality it’s the low-com denom of the schedule. Although, Shipwrecked isn’t alone in tyrannizing the viewer into feeling certain emotions, witness Manchester United v Arsenal where almost as soon as the ball hits the back of the net there’s a cut away to Wenger or Ferguson celebrating, demanding that you feel this same way, too; or Britain’s Got Talent, which epileptically flits to Cowell for his reaction to an act as if to suggest you must genuflect to this deified opinion at the sacrifice of your own feelings.

• Hugging used to be a greeting reserved for your loved ones or very best friends to show how much you cared for them, now, thanks to garbage like Shipwrecked, they’re absolutely worthless, handed out like flyers for a nightclub perpetrated by shivering, tanned entities to allay their enduring feeling of insecurity.

Shipwrecked Review Extra

A pointless and largely pointless behind the scenes waste of space that seeks to make you read it simply because it has the same title as the main review.

The phrase “furtively formulating fake affection” became a little upset. She felt that all the alliteration impinged on her individuality as a sentence; so to remedy this insecurity she is going to get a tattoo of a pink butterfly etched on to the base of her spine.

The paragraph “Of the other bad contestants…” is feeling insecure because his body is overweight and has so much flab hanging over his belt that makes him feel really ugly compared to the other sleek paragraphs. He’s going to get a personal sub-editor to try and lose the excess adjectives.

The paragraph “But Katie’s early exit…” is insecure as she was originally going to appear in a scientific journal about experiments on spinal injuries in mice. But she feels she’s given up that esteemed publication to become part of a directionless rant against how all young people are morons, when that clearly isn’t the case.

If you’re suffering the same problems as “The incessant extraneous torrent of the word ‘def’nit’ly’”, and you’re a sentence that has trouble keeping your word count above the healthy size of 10 words and you’re sick of all this size zero sentences stuff in the media, then please call Wordwise for advice on healthy composition (mobiles £3 per minute, landlines £2.50).

And we’re glad to report here at Shipwrecked Review Extra that the certifiably insane paragraph “The contestants aren’t solely to blame…” has been recaptured having absconded from the Literary Asylum last night. Please ignore everything he said, his views do not represent those of or any of its sponsors.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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