Shropshire man Tan ready to take on Bear Grylls' Island
Shropshire’s Tan Avital is set to become a television star as he battles with hunger, creepy crawlies and living without any of our modern day luxuries.
Tan, or Nathaniel, who grew up in Oswestry, is one of the contestants on The Island with Bear Grylls which launches on Channel 4 on Monday.
The 27-year-old former Oswestry School student says the hard work of his parents, who run Upstairs Downstairs cooking shop, stood him in good stead for the extreme challenges he faced.
He and 15 others were abandoned on an island for a month, having to find their own food, build their own shelters and deal with whatever came their way.
This year’s series takes the theme Rich v Poor, with one team made up of contestants earning the minimum wage, the other earning an average of £100,000 a year.
Tan, who studied law at Aberystwyth University and now works in management in Cambridge, said he was not a fan of the twist in the series and said he hoped the filming would show that there was not a divide when it came to survival.
“It is all about attitude. What is important is having the determination and working hard,” he said.
“I can only thank my parents and Oswestry School for giving me the mindset to do both.
"They definitely helped me to cope with the time on the island. I thought about them and my fiancée, Alice, a lot while I was there.
“My parents run the Upstairs Downstairs store in Oswestry and have worked hard all their lives to build the business from scratch. Oswestry School taught me to be resilient and to work hard.”
His time on the island was full of challenges and although he can not give anything away about the outcome, his experiences included having nothing to eat for 10 days.
“It has completely changed my relationship with food and changed my attitude to everything.”
The creepy crawlies were also a constant challenge.
“We built our shelter above the ground but we were still bombarded with mosquitoes and sandflies.
"And all night we could hear things crawling around beneath where we were trying to sleep. One of the contestants was stung by a scorpion. That was pretty scary.”
He said one of the highlights had been meeting Bear Grylls.
“He is totally down to earth and very professional. He is totally normal while being incredibly inspiring.”
The series begins on Monday and as well as watching you can follow Tan's take on the show on Twitter at @njavital.