Unfortunately, as ever with reality television, our focus is drawn to interpersonal relations as opposed to the unique situation presented in this show. Despite having the potential to be an in-depth look into prehistoric life, Two Tribes is only a few gold stars away from being identical to I’m a Celebrity. The basic premise of the programme is simple: 24 Brits are transported ‘back in time’ and expected to live as if it was the Stone Age. New to this series of 10,000 BC a second tribe is introduced, presumably to encourage a tribal mentality through inciting inter-tribe conflict. Despite being billed as ‘TV’s toughest social experiment’, and claims that the participants would be fending for themselves, the first episode featured them not only being given clothing, food and shelter, but also advice from the resident survival expert. Immediately it becomes obvious that this programme is less about survival and more about human interaction.
However, the interactions between the camp members are predictable from the start. It is hardly a surprise when there are tensions between the practical A&E consultant and the superficial younger members of the tribe. Or in the case of the second tribe, between the middle-aged pub landlord with antiquated views on the roles of the genders within camp, and the two young female graduates.
Whilst they are left largely to their own devices, the mixture of volunteers in each tribe feels hugely orchestrated to create conflict for our entertainment. Arguably, this is what makes the programme interesting to watch, however it pulls away from the programme’s unique selling point. The coverage is largely dedicated to petty squabbles and spiteful comments in individual interviews, aligning this programme more with reality shows like Big Brother or I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here than others of its type, such as Channel Four’s The Island.
This programme is unique in concept and has the potential to provide a real study of survival, but is reduced to decidedly average reality television.
Image: David Baron