Hunted was trailed hard by Channel 4. Almost as hard as the fugitives were trailed by the all-powerful surveillance team in the control centre and their operatives on the ground. I’d been really looking forward to the show but found the first episode a bit disappointing. There wasn’t enough preamble about the format or why or how they’re doing it. I understand they’re trying to make the viewer feel something of the chaos the participants are thrown in to, but the speed and the panic of being forced to flee their homes with only 60 minutes notice (Go!Go!Go!) was exciting enough. A proper introduction would have been fine. Thank goodness the production team decided each set of participants needed a proper trained cameraman with them. If this was all filmed on shaky GoPros like a British Blair Witch Project I’d have turned off inside the first 10 minutes.
Points go to the extremely professional team made up of people from the intelligence services, counterterrorism officers, analysts and profilers. They made it feel very real. When the first fugitive Dr Ricky escaped their man on the ground I was expecting swearing and slamming fists on desks but for these guys it’s their job and no one acts like that in an office in 2015. It’s not Hollywood. They will eventually get their man, or woman, but shouting and screaming doesn’t help. They have a cup of tea and a biscuit, tap a phone line, watch out for useful CCTV footage and wait for their subjects to make a mistake. Their coolness under pressure and the bland normality of their office shows that Big Brother is really watching us all, not in some dystopian future, but right now in our everyday hum-drum little lives.
Hunted did make the viewer ask how would we do it? Could we escape and evade capture for a month with just £450. Would you run to the hills, as the first set of fugitives did, and get out into the countryside, or would your strange accent and sudden appearance in a small village community make you stand out. Would you find a squat in a city and try to stay put, blending in to the tourist crowds, avoiding CCTV for the whole time? Would there be safety in numbers or would you strike out alone? And could you resist phoning home? It is an interesting premise and I can see how you could get really into it and take it personally when you do get that inevitable tap on the shoulder to tell you that it’s game over. It’d be like flipping out over losing at Monopoly turned up to 11.
That’s it from me. I’m outta here. Where I’m going? I can’t say…