The first season of Ten .’s new reality game show hunted came to a close on Tuesday night, with contestants Stathi and Rob taking a double win and taking home half of the $100,000 prize pool.
Speaking to news.com.au today, the two players opened up about their time on the show and revealed that life on the run was even harder than it seemed to viewers, with some key scenes not making the edit.
Namely, the apparent willingness of members of the general public to help panicked participants, sometimes dressed in bizarre disguises and always followed by cameramen, as they approached and announced, “I’M A FUGITIVE ON THE RUN, CAN YOU HELP ME?”
Time and again, complete strangers were shown on the screen spring into action, housing, transporting and feeding the refugees – but the winners explained that they actually experienced very little kindness from those they approached.
“No one wanted to help you when you’re looking for help on the street,” said Rob. “People would just look at you. You’d think a camera would help you, but it didn’t.”
Rob estimated that about “90% of the people” he and teammate Jake approached on the run would “tell us to pee” – from their first minutes in the game, when they had to find a phone to make their first call. commit.
“From the moment we got off at Federation Square, (hunted) didn’t show the 30 or so people who said no to letting us use their phones,” he explained.
Stathi said begging a largely indifferent public for help quickly became one of the most difficult elements of his 21 days as a fugitive.
“That rejection… it makes you doubt yourself and put you in that paranoid mindset, which is exactly what you don’t need when you’re on the run,” he said.
How the final went
Three contestants were left in the match en route to Tuesday’s season finale: friends Jake and Rob, and Stathi, who lost his buddy and teammate Matt on Monday’s episode.
All three had to call Hunted’s headquarters 24 hours before the 21 days expired to hear about the game’s “extraction point” in Inverloch, on Victoria’s southeast coast.
As soon as they called, their exact location was disclosed to the Hunters – yet another advantage for the Hunters, and one that some viewers saw as unfair.
Police officer Jake was soon tracked down to where he was staying, leading to a dramatic footrace between him and two hunters, who eventually captured him.
It was left to makeup artist Rob and humanitarian aid worker Stathi to make their way to the extraction point: a helicopter that had landed on the beach in Inverloch.
Both did this as stealthily as possible, with Stathi mingling with some local hikers as he approached a coastal path, while Rob rode straight into the helicopter from the car that had just dropped him off.
Both overtook the chopper with minutes remaining and with Hunters close behind – making them joint winners of huntedseason one.
Rob and Stathi revealed to news.com.au today that their helicopter rendevzous was the first time they’d properly met and were able to have a conversation – and Rob joked that, being the first to the helicopter, he was in the pilot was tempted to leave when he saw Stathi approaching.
Both players pledged to share their share of the $100,000 prize money with their fallen teammates, meaning both winners will take home $25,000 for their 21 days on the run.
It’s a small prize compared to the megabucks awarded to winners of other ten reality shows like Australian survivor ($500,000) and Great race Australia ($250,000).
The truth about those drag disguises
On Monday’s penultimate episode of the season, Jake and Rob wore elaborate disguises to evade detection by the fighters – a tactic Rob used again for the finale (although this time the fighters recorded his real identity on CCTV).
Rob said it wasn’t an easy move to make, admitting he was “terrified” the first time he got into drag in public.
“It was a huge, huge thing to do. I had that feeling of nerves, going out in public like that… I didn’t want to misrepresent anyone dressed as a woman either.”
Hairdresser Rob dressed himself and police officer Jake in wigs, makeup, breastplates and even facial prosthetics to turn into women for a visit to a local pub, where they successfully convinced the public to take them in for the night.
It was by far the most elaborate disguise in a season where contestants tried to go undercover in a range of cheap wigs, in-store dresses, and on one occasion even a nun’s habit. Then there was Stathi’s infamous “nonna” disguise — or, as he put it on news.com.au, “K Mart drag.”
602,000 viewers in the five metro capitals listened to the climax of last night’s finale — a respectable ending for a season that opened to an audience of 619,000 three weeks ago, then soared to a season high of 711,000 viewers for episode two.