Joel Dommett
Joel Dommett

Joel Dommett

  • 39 years old
  • English
  • Stand-up comedian and presenter

Joel Dommett talks about hosting Survivor

Survivor. Joel Dommett

Physical and psychological challenge show Survivor is back on TV, with the new version now on BBC One on Saturday nights.

Hosted by Joel Dommett, this brand new series of "the ultimate physical and psychological game" promises viewers "a compelling test of brains, brawn and betrayal as players compete to outwit, outplay and outlast their rivals to be crowned the Sole Survivor".

As a reminder of the premise: 18 people, carefully selected from across the UK, are marooned in a tropical location where they are divided into two tribes, competing against each other in a range of physical and mental challenges for reward or immunity. One by one, players are voted out of their tribes at the iconic Tribal Council until the two tribes eventually merge and the game becomes a head-to-head battle. Ultimately only one person can triumph, winning the cash prize of £100,000 and the title of Sole Survivor.

Here, Joel explains more:

Survivor. Joel Dommett

How would you explain what the show's all about?

The way I'd explain Survivor is that it's as complicated or simple as you want it to be. At its essence, Survivor is people surviving on an island trying not to be voted off by their tribe in order to win £100,000. That is it at its absolute simplicity but then there's loads of really amazing layers to it; you have hidden immunity idols, then you have immunity challenges, you have reward challenges.

How do you feel to be hosting it?

I'm aware of how much of a huge format it is around the world, it's probably one of the biggest and to be trusted with it is a huge compliment. I think it's really great, and hopefully long may it last, it feels like it's a really good time for it. I feel like there's a lot of shows that happened over the last 20 years that led us to this point and I feel like people are going to welcome it with open arms. Anyone who knows the Survivor format already will know they're in for an absolute treat, and if you don't then I'm confident you're going to love it.

The camps are hit by a massive storm during filming, how bad was it?

Yeah, it was really huge. I mean, it suddenly just came in and then you really see the importance of being able to make a shelter, and whether one camp had a shelter and one didn't. It is mad in these tropical places, it's like beautiful sunshine and then suddenly it's the most epic rain you've ever seen in your life, like thunder and lightning.

It's a real mix of people from all walks of life, was that important to you to have that eclectic mix of characters?

Yeah, I think it's really important. And also without phones, without communication, they're just there surviving which is fascinating to watch. It was amazing and, I think, completely life-changing for everyone that was in there. I mean it was life-changing for me, let alone the people who were torn away from their homes for seven weeks. I think once you've done something like Survivor, you'll never forget it.

Survivor. Joel Dommett

When it comes to surviving out there, is it all mental or is it a physical game?

In Survivor itself, I think it's definitely 60:40 in terms of mental to physical strength. I think you've got to be able to survive out there and be good enough in the challenges but being able to have that mental resilience to be able to withstand the disloyalties, the backstabbing and the talking behind each other's backs. It's all about being able to control groups of people without them feeling like they're being controlled, that is the most important thing in Survivor. It's fascinating to watch from the outside.

How do you think you'd cope?

I'd be awful at it. I think physically I'd be okay because I love that sort of stuff. I don't mind getting down and dirty with things and going to that dark place in your mind where you've got to hold onto something for seven hours or whatever it is that they put you through in Survivor. But it's that mental side of things that I would say I'm very bad at. I wouldn't be very good at manipulating a group because I can barely manipulate myself! No poker face for that, I'd be awful.

How competitive does it get?

Really very competitive, especially between the tribes! They become, very quickly, very loyal to their bunch. Of course that's what makes Survivor exciting because then it gets to the point where both tribes merge together and become one tribe and that's very exciting because it puts an entirely different dynamic on things.

Survivor. Joel Dommett

Can we expect to see injuries as things get tough?

Yeah, there were bits and bobs but luckily no huge ones. But it's kind of part of it, that's the amazing thing with this whole experience, obviously we want them to be as safe as possible. We don't want any injuries to happen, but you're putting them in a really perilous place in a really extreme scenario, and so injuries are going to happen. In the latest Australian version, there's this person who breaks their collarbone and they have to go home. It's absolutely mad, it's incredible. Luckily, we didn't have anything that big, but yeah, it's dangerous.

You lead the Tribal Council, so do you stir the pot a bit?

Yeah, that's my job, I'm the pot stirrer! I'm asking those questions that they don't want to ask themselves and they have to answer. So I'm basically just teasing stuff out of them, it is so much fun. What's beautiful about it is that they might go to Tribal Council and they all are confident, they're like, "Yeah, we all know what's going to happen". Then by the end of Tribal Council, they think something completely different because it all goes out the window as one person says something or another person says something accidentally. It's like throwing the cat amongst the pigeons a bit. My job is create a little bit of havoc!

Published: Saturday 28th October 2023

Share this page