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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Survivor starts TV ratings battle
Survivor contestants fishing
Contestants had to hunt and fish to survive
A scheming contestant became the first casualty of one of British TV's most talked-about new programmes, Survivor, when he was voted out during the debut show on Monday.

ITV's Survivor chronicles the struggle of a group of contestants to survive on a desert island - Pulau Tiga in the South China Sea, off Borneo - and win a 1m prize.

Nick, Survivor contestant
Out: Nick was told to "extinguish his flame"
The 16 contestants were seen scheming against each other in the struggle to stay on the island.

The first episode saw Nick, a 38-year-old manager for a pharmaceutical company, voted off by his Ular tribe members who were annoyed at his bossy style.

The 38-year-old said he was "devastated" as he had been building a team of what he thought were loyal colleagues around him.

He had already decided he would spend the 1m prize on a luxury break in Dubai.

ITV hopes that the programme will be a ratings winner, beating Big Brother 2 which starts on Channel 4 on 26 May.

Forbidden

About 17,000 people applied to be contestants on the show.

It is produced by Nigel Lythgoe, the man who took the Popstars format - which began in New Zealand and was a success in Australia - and made it a hit for ITV.

The contestants met just five hours before being dropped off and were forbidden to talk to each other.

They had to make their own way on to the island three miles off the coast taking only what they could carry - and one luxury item.

The gruelling ordeal on the island, which was filmed earlier this year, lasted 40 days.

Coping

In the first episode viewers found out how one of the contestants, former police officer Mick Easton from Kent, managed to smuggle sausages on to the island.

Survivor contestant
Contestants struggled to find food
As well as coping with each other they had to trap their own live food and try to avoid the perils of sandfly, termite and mosquito bites - and dysentery.

Every three days one challenger is voted off the island by team-mates in a secret ballot, the winner being chosen from the last two survivors by a vote of all their team mates.

Viewers will see an interview with each evicted contestant the day after every show, in which they discuss their experiences with John Leslie.

Only producer Nigel Lythgoe knows who has won the struggle to survive.

And contracts with the contestants are designed to ensure that details of what has happened in each show do not leak out.

The US version of Survivor, aired on CBS, attracted 60 million viewers for the final episode.

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09 May 01 | TV and Radio
Networks clash with reality TV
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