Limpopo – After a four year hiatus Survivor SA is back on our screens.
The sixth season was filmed in the picturesque Republic of the Philippines, and from Thursday, 3 May at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101) we will see 18 castaways outwit, outlast and outplay each other to become the ultimate survivor.
Channel24 was treated to an exclusive screening of the first episode at M-Net’s Local Content Showcase in Limpopo on Tuesday.
If the first episode is anything to go by viewers will be glued to their screens as the drama kicks off right from the start.
After the screening, host Nico Panagio, producer Handrie Basson and commissioning editor Terja Beney sat down for a Q&A session.
On what makes this season different, Nico says that every single one of these players are switched on from the get-go and that makes it very exciting to watch.
For Handrie, it was the importance of casting fans of the show: "We wanted to cast people who loved the show and who would also be memorable TV characters."
FROM 27 TO 39 DAYS
Survivor SA ups the ante this season by extending the days spent on the island from 27 to 39 days.
“If you watch the American version you can see how emaciated the contestants are and we could never achieve that in 27 days. I pushed for 39 days to allow more time on the island, produce more stories and for the contestants to simmer,” says Terja.
Nico added: “As the host of the show it makes a huge difference because you really get to immerse yourself into the show. 39 days is perfect for the journeys the contestants go through. Just like a story it has a beginning, a middle and an end.
"Everything leads up to that final push in the last week, when you see in these people’s eyes the transformation that has taken place and the contestants also get a chance to know the new person, the survivor they have become. You will see the difference in this season, that final week is just incredible.”
WHAT’S NEW THIS SEASON
Another new feature this season is a virtual reality experience for viewers which will take them into the world of Survivor.
Handrie explains: “Virtual reality is very new and it hasn’t been done before. We had a VR team capture the world of Survivor for the audience.”
There will be a weekly experience in which viewers can go through camp life and the challenges and a weekly competition with great prizes up for grabs.
“For us that was an incredible experience to be able to tell the audience, ‘This is where we are, go see for yourself and step into the shoes of these survivors and navigate the islands as we filmed them,’” adds Handrie.
Another first this season is the extended vote reveal sequence that will be available online.
Handrie explains: “This season for the first time after every episode that airs, the extended vote reveal scene will be posted online. You will hear what every person has to say when they write the name down on the parchment.”
The firsts keep on coming this season as the popular Ponderosa - which is a special holding area for Survivor contestants before and after being voted out - will also be a feature.
“Once we get to merge, Ponderosa is happening online as well," says Handrie.
He continues: “When the voted out contestants became members of the jury we spent some time with them as they integrated back into reality, have their first meal and see themselves in the mirror for the first time and also how they integrated with the rest of the jury members.”