Ten ordinary people are blindfolded, bundled in a van, and dropped off in an unknown location. Their task is simple, evade capture for 25 days, and win £100,000. They are being hunted by a team of former and serving police, intelligence personnel, on-foot teams, and helicopters. Using the same powers used by real security services, their job is to track down and capture the ten fugitives.
Filming for the Hunted is unlike any other programme we shoot for. The fugitive’s drop-off and extraction locations are known to us in advance, and are filmed like any other TV project. However, due to the nature of the show, any additional filming we do depends entirely on where the fugitives flee to, how they get there and how close the hunters get.
Outside of the opening and final sequences to the series, we’re mainly on hand to assist the hunters in apprehending the fugitives. The contestants can run and hide anywhere in the country, and most of the time, even the fugitives don’t have a set plan of where they’re headed. Because of this, the call for shooting some sequences can come very late, sometimes just the night before. This is where our large fleet of H125 and AS355 helicopters comes in. While we normally have at least one helicopter reserved for aerial filming work, any of our seven single and twin-squirrels can be rigged with our GSS C516 camera system.
Nearing the end of series 5, the location of the extraction point is revealed to the fugitives. This year the remaining contestants had to reach a harbour in Anglesey. A boat would be there waiting to help them complete their escape and hand them £100,000. This information is kept from the hunters, but they’re hot on the heels of the fugitives and so get a rough idea of where they’re headed. With the end in sight, we’re back in the air and aiding the hunters. In our AS355N helicopter, G-CMRA, we pick up renowned hunter Karl Beverly, and race towards Anglesey. After spotting the escape boat that the fugitives are heading towards, we quickly land nearby so Karl can jump out to pursue on foot. We get back in the air to film the dramatic finale as the remaining fugitives attempt to make their escape.
Filming for the Hunted is always an adventure and we look forward to each series to see how our work played out in helping capture the fugitives. The programme is created by Shine TV and is aired on Channel 4.