A new BBC series sees British couples vying to win a home in Alaska – but why are the owners leaving and what do they know that we don’t?
It was during a trip home to my parents’ house in Edinburgh last weekend that I stumbled across something completely different to the normal tellybox shows I write about.
The trip didn’t get off to a great start, however, as I forced my mum and dad to watch last week’s episode of The Masked Singer then promptly became an orphan.
This was followed by my mum and I catching up on Love Island (my brother and I corrupted her with this several series ago and I had no idea she still watched it) while my dad, bless him, sat watching it with his ear defenders on.
But eventually we settled on a new BBC series, Win The Wilderness: Alaska, in which six British couples have to compete in a variety of challenges in order to win a house.
The five-acre estate is nicknamed Ose Mountain, after its owner Duane Ose and his wife Rena claimed it and hand built their own home, runway, greenhouse and guest cabin.
It’s an impressive feat, despite being 100 miles away from the nearest road or person.
What I do find baffling, though, is why Duane and Rena want a British couple to take on their home rather than another Alaskan family, and also why their own children are unable to take it on.
Have they noticed a niche in the market since Brexit happened? Do they think that most Alaskans wouldn’t be able to handle it? Do they know something we don’t?
Anyway, regardless of their reasons, one of the six couples taking part in the show will win and get to live on Ose Mountain. But in order to do this they must undergo a series of challenges while living at Lost Lake Wilderness Camp, 100 miles east of Ose Mountain.
The winning couple from each challenge – as chosen by Ose pal CJ who skypes the duo with his observations – gets flown out to Ose Mountain and are put under observation by the pair for 24 hours while earning their keep.
Duane and Rena then decide whether that couple get shortlisted or sent home.
Their challenge this time around was to hike using a map and compass, to roughly replicate the 15-day journey Duane took 30 years ago to stake a claim to the land. Except it would take the teams, who’d been split into men and women, two hours for their journey.
Farmers Mark and Emily won the hike challenge and emerged as the natural leaders.
After flying out to Ose Mountain, they impressed Duane and Rena with their teamwork and lawn mowing skills. But the pair were a bit sceptical when Mark and Emily revealed they are busy transitioning their farm to Mark’s sons, so won’t be able to live on the mountain for a few months. However, they did eventually decide to keep them on
This means there are only two chances left for the remaining four to get a chance to make it on to the shortlist. And only time will tell if that will be Theo, who keeps falling short at the final hurdle.