Excluding the likes of survivalists Bear Grylls and Ray Mears, would our contemporary menfolk – if presented with the opportunity – be able to achieve the same extraordinary feats of endurance as their hardened predecessors?
It turns out, yes, they would – or at least in the case of Channel 4’s new series, Mutiny, which follows a group of nine attempting to relive one of the greatest survival feats in naval history.
The tale begins 230 years ago, when British navy ship HMS Bounty was sailing from Tahiti to the West Indies. During its 17-month voyage, a poisonous rift meant Captain William Bligh and his loyal crewmen were cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean and left for dead.
In a remarkable act of seamanship, Bligh led his crew across 4,000 miles of ocean from Tonga to Timor. It would go down in history as the Mutiny on the Bounty.
To replicate the same gruelling journey for a Channel 4 show, nine men follow the same route on a replica 23ft open wooden boat, with similar equipment, the same food and water rations and the same basic clothing that Bligh’s men had.
“The worst bit was when everyone’s skin basically disintegrated,” recalls Luke Kane, one of the participants, who is in his final year of GP training. “The cold, wet period was quite long, and essentially our skin’s outer layer broke down.”
Mutiny, Channel 4, Monday, 9pm.