As the premiere of Australian Survivor 2022 draws closer, beloved host Jonathan LaPaglia is promising a season more brutal than the last.
With the global pandemic making serious changes to the way the series was shot, production took place in Australia late last year for the second season in a row.
While earlier seasons were filmed in the likes of tropical Fiji and Samoa, last year's season, Brain Vs Brawn, filmed in far north Queensland, presenting new challenges to the castaways. While temperatures soared above 40°C during the day, they were then left struggling through freezing nights.
"It was even more brutal, if you can believe that," Jonathan says of the new season, Blood Vs Water.
This year, the series has moved from Cloncurry to Charters Towers, which offers a little more vegetation and bodies of water, but not much relief from the heat.
"The terrain is still very rugged and tough for the players," Jonathan tells our sister site WHO.
"But the biggest difference was the temperature … I mean, it was really hot in Cloncurry, but it was excruciating in Charters Towers where we shot.
"That was really the toughest thing … We had a number of players and crew collapse because of the heat," he reveals.
And as if working in extreme temperatures weren't enough, the production team had to fight their way onto set, with COVID again causing troubles for the show.
"Once we were in Queensland, we didn't have any issue getting [COVID], [but] getting the crew and the cast to Queensland was really tough. We were basically delayed by about a month trying to get people across the border," Jonathan explains.
"It was during Delta, and when everyone was closing their borders, that had a huge impact on the show… which was really tough, because we have a really tight schedule anyway."
While the new cast were dealing with issues getting to set, and extreme conditions once there, the nature of Blood Vs Water proved quite brutal itself.
This season will be pitting family members and best friends against each other to answer the classic cliché: is blood thicker than water?
And surely, something like that is going to cause conflict.
"We definitely have a psychologist on the team that assesses and deals with any kind of issues in that area," Jonathan confirms when probed about the season.
However, when asked if any families fell out, he laughs. "I haven't had any follow-ups," he says.
Some of the families we can expect to see will be very familiar to long-term fans of both Australian Survivor and the international franchise.
Samantha Gash and Mark Wales, who met and fell in love on season two of the Australian franchise, have since married and had a son together. And now, they're returning to the wilderness to again prove their Survivor prowess as a married couple.
Meanwhile, Sandra Diaz-Twine, the only person in Survivor history to have won the show twice, is headed down under to try her hand in the Australian outback, with her daughter Nina in tow.
It's been a while since we've seen so many familiar faces come out for a season, and the excitement is palpable. Bring it on!
Australian Survivor: Blood Vs Water will begin airing on 10 from Monday, January 31st.
This article was originally published on our sister site WHO.