Alone Australia premiered on Wednesday night with a double episode that saw three people tap out, but one contestant was forced to leave the show against his will on day two.
The SBS show, based on the American version, sees ten contestants placed in remote areas of Tasmania with the task of surviving alone for as long as possible, with the longest-standing person being awarded a $250,000 cash prize.
More often than not, contestants will tap out by choice, but 22-year-old Jimmy from South Australia wasn't given the option to stay after testing positive for Covid-19 on his second day.
Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle, Jimmy shared that he didn't think it was much of a possibility to tap out due to Covid, telling us, "I didn't even really think I was gonna go when I tested positive! I thought, oh they said if you're sick you can keep going, we'll just see how you're going. But yeah, I don't know, I guess I didn't actually notice how bad I was, but I saw a bit of footage and man, I really went downhill quick out there."
When asked how he felt on day one, Jimmy shared that he was already incredibly thirsty when he got on the boat to be dropped at his location, and after a few hours of travel on the boat, he was really dehydrated and tired but didn't feel symptoms such as dizziness until the second day.
"I sort of had like tightness in the chest and stuff, I thought, I don't know maybe because I'm so hungry, my stomach's doing something! I wasn't really sure, I was just dismissing it," he says, adding he hoped to "push through" the sickness.
While it appears to be a fast process on the show, Jimmy revealed that he rang the medical team in the morning and wasn't picked up until around 3pm that afternoon as it's a three-hour trip on the boat, which was followed by a three-hour drive to the nearest hospital.
"I thought I'll just get on with my day and I'll see them when they come, and then every time I tried to do anything I was getting so tired and so I thought I'll just fish most of the day, but I wasn't expecting to leave, it just shocked me really," he says.
When he was taken out by the medical team, Jimmy was taken to hospital for a number of tests and was then put into quarantine for seven days.
Jimmy tried to convince producers to let him stay, explaining, "I tried, I asked them if I could stay just another night, and they came back and said, 'Nah, you can't, we've got to get you to a hospital, and get you checked out.'
"I even, once I left, because I had a quarantine period, I tried to talk to the producers saying what if I just go back in, but you put me in a different spot or something, because I was only there for a day, or two days I guess. But they said they had to talk to the people in America that had the licenses and they said, they couldn't do it."
When asked if he'd like to return to the show, Jimmy enthusiastically said he'd "love to come back", joking that he didn't get a chance to prove anything and "didn't even catch a fish".
'Toughest' part of the show
While being alone didn't feel all that tough for Jimmy, who jokes that it felt like a regular camping trip given it was so short, he did share what surprised him the most.
"I was surprised how difficult it was filming yourself all the time, it gave me a real appreciation for all the cameramen and everything like that," he says. "Like just carrying cameras around, lugging batteries, having to set up shots if we could do anything. I don't know how people do that regularly, that's tough."
He also explains that the contestants underwent a week of training where they learned how to use the camera and sound equipment, as well as things like basic first aid.
"I think that the cameraman and all the editors and everything were getting really stressed watching us, because none of us are really professionals going in there, then they're thinking, 'Oh no, what are we going to do with this footage?'" Jimmy jokes about the contestants' camera skills.
The farmhand adds another huge struggle the contestants were under was carrying around car batteries to power their camera equipment and satellite phone.
"I didn't actually realise that we have these huge car batteries we have to bring in with us because you have to charge all [the gear], you have your satellite phone and [the batteries] have to keep that charged," he shares. "And I don't know what it was – I think it was two or three car batteries in a box you had to sort of lug through the bush.
"And then when you get your medical done, you have to bring that back to the checkpoint which is another 20 kilos or something in batteries you've got to sort of lug back, back and forth – I did not even think about that, like that is a lot of weight to carry. I was only there for a couple of days and I was struggling a bit. If I hadn't eaten in a while, that would suck!"
When asked about advice for future contestants, Jimmy shares that people should follow in Mike and Gina's footsteps and gain as much weight as possible, with both of them putting on 19kg before entering the competition.
Jimmy jokes that while he tried to put on as much weight as possible, it only ended up being three kilograms, not quite enough to help him if he was alone for more than two days.
"I was eating so much, and it was like I'm not even doing anything here!" he says with a laugh.
He adds that Mike is his pick to take out the $250,000 prize money, "He did stand out as the frontrunner."
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