Series 1 - Episode 1: Australia

Ben Fogle and David Glasheen

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As the series begins, Ben travels to a remote island in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to live with former Sydney businessman David Glasheen. David lost $10 million in the stock market crash of 1987, which also cost him his marriage and his home. With the last of his savings, David bought the lease on part of Restoration Island, which is a 40-minute boat ride from Lockhart River, the most inaccessible indigenous Aboriginal settlement in Australia.

Apart from his dog Quasi, he is now the sole inhabitor of the 100-acre volcanic island, living like a real-life Robinson Crusoe in a house made of recycled material. Although David collects barely enough rainwater to survive, he turns some of it into beer to trade with passing local fishermen for fish. It is a valuable lifeline for David, but before he and Ben can start trading, they must repair the only suitable boat that David has to get them out to the trawler men.

In one of the world's last remaining areas of genuine wilderness, Ben learns how to pick oysters and dance with the locals as well as finding out how it feels to truly live alone.

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Comments (20)

  • Joao

    24 days ago


    great show !!...hands up to channel 5 !!...but the adverts are a little too much !!...


    7 months ago


    I've only watched the first two episodes so far. From what I've seen, I think that the concept of the series is great, solid human/sociocultural interest plus beautiful locations; it's therefore a real pity that such a neat premise -so full of possibilities- gets consistently (and consciously?) spoiled by an extremely annoying, tactless and hypocritically biased "presenter" (or maybe it's just the scripwriter's wording & lack of sensibility to the subject matter that condition him, in which case I apologize to the "adventurer" in charge of the interviews). I do believe the series would dramatically benefit from less "irony" and more respect in the treatment of its main protagonists and the choices they've made to conduct their lives, more so given that this is precisely the chosen focus of the program! You don't have to agree 100% with the opinions of the people you are interviewing, nor even approve of the lifestyles they follow, but a nicely rounded, balanced & respectful neutrality would surely enhance the quality of the exchange. After all, we can learn enough about the glories of our "civilization" tuning randomly in any tv channel at any time, and not only in the evening news... So we surely don't need to hear more propaganda about it on a tv show that purports to introduce us to people that are earnestly looking for alternative paths. Don't you worry, Mr. Fogle, it doesn't seem that governments will lack taxpayers any time soon, despite the "evasion" of these few "crazy", "wild" people.

  • Gipsi

    7 months ago


    I would love to go and help David Glasheen. How do I get in touch with him?

  • Jason

    10 months ago


    The adverts work really well - shame about the rest of the program.

  • Ben

    11 months ago


    Wow.. what an amazing existence far away for the daily grind of capitalism. What it costs Dave to live on a tropical island for an entire year would only cover rent for a studio flat in London. The man should be allowed to live his life in peace as its all he know at his age. Power to you Dave!!!

  • 1300beetle

    11 months ago


    @Bill Greaves @TanyaEgerton your answer is a VPN

  • Anthony

    12 months ago


    @umbrellashade - I live on Waiheke Island in New Zealand. It's sub-tropical - about 25 degrees in summer, 16 degrees in winter. Plenty of sun and rain. 7,000 live here and we all collect all our water from rainfall. Further out is Great Barrier Island, look it up. It's a beautiful island, more remote than Waiheke, very self sustaining community. And of course as this is NZ there aren't any crocs, poisonous snakes or spiders etc.

  • umbrellashade

    12 months ago


    One thing saddens me, though: Dave bought this island with the last of his savings. He should have been allowed to live there as he wishes, not need to build a tourist resort if he had no wish to. He could not afford that. He should be allowed to live out his life in peace there. There should be a petition in Australia to allow him to live out the rest of his life there. Clearly he loves the place.

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  • Angela

    12 months ago


    Really interesting. fantastic way to live, but only lacking in that the level of isolation is not healthy..

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  • Dolores devlin

    12 months ago

    Dolores devlin

    great programme,worth watching.

  • Bill Greaves

    12 months ago

    Bill Greaves

    I have to watch this prog but the powers that be wont let me 'cos I'm in The Irish Republic - HELP !

  • TanyaEgerton

    12 months ago


    how can we see a copy of this in Australia, I'm trying to view it on this website but it won't allow it for my location! Dave's amazing, I lived Lockhart for 6 months and had the pleasure of meeting Dave and going to Resto Island. This man's heart is in the shape of this Island and there is no one more deserving on being there then Dave. x

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  • Rich Smale

    1 year ago

    Rich Smale

    I am good friends with his nephew Cian. I have only ever known Dave's brother (Cian's father) Phil... but will be watching Monday as i've heard all about Dave and his stories of the island!

  • Cheyenne Morrison

    1 year ago

    Cheyenne Morrison

    To see more about David Glasheen and Restoration Island go to