Mind over matter

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Real Survival Stories review

Production company – Noiser

Rating – 5 Brains

In the search for new, trending shows to review, I stumbled across this podcast. It seemed like a nice change from the folklore and true crime I usually fill my days with. This was more than I was expecting though. Before the first episode was halfway through, I realised that this was unlike anything I had in my podcast collection.

It sounds interesting, I’m sure you’ll agree. So without further ado, let’s head into the realm of human folly and the will to keep these fragile bodies in as close to one piece as possible.

So what’s it about

The name says it all really. Each episode (or sometimes two) is devoted to a gripping tale of people’s tenacity in the face of certain death. From being adrift at sea, stuck up a mountain, or lost in the wilderness, this show has it all.

Told in dramatic and sonorous tones by John Hopkins, and interviews with the people involved, you can’t help but be gripped by these stories. They are diverse for sure, but can be divided into four main categories: Lost in the desert, Stuck up a mountain, Adrift at sea, or Attacked by a large animal. There are one or two that don’t fit neatly into these boxes, but for the most part, the stories will be one of these themes. Thats not to say they are repetetive. They certainly aren’t. This show wouldn’t have had such a high rating otherwise.

You can take these episodes at face value, and have exciting, dramatic tales of incredible danger or you can dig a little deeper. Each story goes into great detail about the sheer force of will needed to survive these situations. Some are absolute luck, episode 1 for example, but most are gruelling mantras designed to force your body to carry on in the face of insurmountable odds.

Is it any good?

This podcast is the stuff of nightmares. If it can kill you slowly and painfully or quickly and bloodily, then it’s featured here. Although as you can see by the title of the show, these people survived, although in quite a few episodes there is plenty of death. The sense of grief and loss, and usually guilt is palpable. I suppose getting yourself into (and out of) a dangerous situation is one thing, but losing friends or family must be a terrible feeling. They don’t call it “survivors guilt” for nothing.

There are 25 episodes so far, plus the trailer. Due to the fact that some are two-part tales, there are 20 survival stories as of today (21/1/24), and out of those 20, there were only two that didn’t literally have me on the edge of my seat. I’m not sure if that was because I was a bit burnt out having listened to the whole series over three days, or whether they were just a bit similar to other previous episodes.

It reminds me of the 90s BBC show 999, but scaled up to the nth degree. As the first episode gets underway, you know that these are not merely trivial situations.

Final thoughts

These tales are totally gripping, and the descriptions of severe injuries will no doubt make you cringe. There is no doubt that these people have had miraculous scrapes with death, but there is one nagging feeling I have.

These people, either directly or indirectly, are responsible for their situations. Many of these people are very experienced, and more than capable of getting in and out without hitch. With experience comes complacency though, and cutting corners really can have serious implications. This was my main comparison with 999. As soon as the interviewee says “I was only going to be out for a few hours, there and back” you know it’s going to be much more than a few hours.

This show makes me glad that I sit on my arse and review podcasts in my spare time, rather than climb mountains or sail across the sea.

You can get Real Survival Stories here


If you want to discover many more great podcasts, then I recommend GreatPods

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