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Hunting Chris Ryan

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Chris RyanI just watched the last in a 3-part series last night called “Hunting Chris Ryan”. Ryan was the member of the infamous Bravo Two Zero SAS squad that was compromised behind enemy lines in the 1991 Gulf War. He was the one who evaded capture and walked 200 miles into Syria, and he’s one tough son-of-a-bitch. The premise of the program was that he’d be dropped somewhere and given a mission. There would be a hunter force of other ex-special forces soldiers on his tail trying to capture him and prevent him carrying out the mission. It was run like a military exercise so the normal rules applied.

The first week saw Chris dropped in the jungle with a mission of picking up some information from a cache and escape on a boat pick-up at a certain point. Despite the fact that the hunter force got close to him (they included two US Navy SEALs, a Royal Marine and a Pathfinder) they never managed to actually capture him. It was easy to see on a map the clever diversions and deception trails he put in to throw the trackers off but when you saw what it was like on the ground you wonder how he managed to see the bigger picture and keep a clear head. He booby trapped the cache by putting a small satchel on it connected to a grenade. But knowing he had military people after him trained to leave that sort of thing alone he put in a secondary trap with a trip wire, hoping they’d be too busy looking at the bag to notice it. And so it proved, if it were for real he’d have killed the hunter force in one fell swoop. The end was tense as Chris was holed up in some trees as the hunter force patrolled to within metres of him. When his rescue boat came in he sprinted and managed to escape – quality viewing.

What was fascinating was that in all the video footage Chris took of himself he was constantly out of breath. When you watch these jungle SAS-style programmes you see how incredibly hard it is and the fact that Chris was able to push himself to the limit all the time is what separates these guys from normal people. He also spent 4 days in the jungle, his feet cut to ribbons, unsupported, dehydrated and being chased all the way. The hunter force had the option of being helicoptered out, had plenty of supplies and the directing staff giving them hints of information when they lost Chris. One of the ex-SEALs had to be put on a drip thanks to a touch of heat stroke and they were completely knackered by the end. Never mind that Chris was having a far harder time, but was able to put in a sprint at the end to escape. Very impressive.

Week two was set in Siberia where the temperatures dropped to -42C and Chris very nearly died of hypothermia. Due to the conditions he had to abandon the original mission of destroying a crashed satellite but had to escape instead. Once again deception tracks threw the hunter force off as they tried to track him through the snow and were it not for the directing staff telling them one of Chris’s RV’s they’d never have gotten close to him. As it was Chris managed to escape by the skin of his teeth and right from under the hunter force’s nose. Once again, Chris was pushing himself to the limit all the way and barely caught his breath over the 3 days he was out there.

Last night’s episode saw him trying to rescue a downed pilot in Botswana. It was clear from the start that the hunter force would be lucky to catch him so the Botswana Defence Force were called in to assist in the chase. The hunters had quad bikes, land rovers, fast boats and a helicopter to catch Chris – surely they’d get their man. Chris started by jumping out of a plane and landing in the bush. He then proceeded to a cache containing some water, a rifle and some clothes, but no food. He went down river and started going across country to the hills where the pilot was, with the hunter force hot on his heels. As they tried to skip ahead of him using quad bikes Chris stole a horse during the night and moved ahead of them (a nice touch). After much sneaking around and the hunter force trying in vain to follow his tracks (losing them on several occasions) Chris made it to the hills and climbed up high to watch the hunter force coming in. This was when he realised he had the whole BDF on his case.

As he climbed towards where the pilot was he realised that the hunter force had set up an ambush as the directing staff had told them where the pilot was (which I thought was particularly unfair on Chris). So he decided to can the mission and try to escape instead, realising that the rescue was impossible. On the next morning before sunrise he made his way to a hidden micro light to make his escape. However the hunter force were wise to it and managed to find it from the helicopter as Chris was about to take off. Just as he did one of the soldiers got right in front of him and had it been real he’d have been dead. So I guess you could call that one for the bad guys. Although I think the odds were ridiculously against Chris on this one, they wanted him to fail on TV!

It was an interesting series and showed me how these SAS guys aren’t just tough (which they are) but they can think clearly when under pressure. They can look at their situation from the outside and take decisions on what they need to do. It all comes down to good soldiering and that’s what really separates them from the rest. I hear there’s another series in the pipeline so it’ll be interesting to see what else they can throw at him.

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

62 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. I didn’t see this series but I have seen some of the other SAS programmes. Is it just me? – I thought the SAS were supposed to be a secretive force and suddenly they seem to be all over the telly?!

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  2. They’re selling out.

    Must be cause military pensions are so pants?

    Still, always make you feel a little safer knowing we’ve got these guys secretly watching out for us.

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  3. It’s the guys who wrote books before the MOD banned ex-SAS guys from writing them. I doubt there’ll be any Afghanistan or Gulf War II books coming out soon.

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  4. I wouldn’t take it so seriously. You have to ask yourself what was the show about really. The SAS? The effectiveness of the Royal MArines, British pathfinders or U.S. Navy S.E.A.Ls? No.
    This was a show that brought to light so of the tactics and techniques it would take for a person to avoid capture from a group on his trail. It also showed some of the tactics his followers would utilize if helpful information was gathered or given to them during a pursuit.
    This could not have been a reality show purely because there were to many camera angles which says they were more than just Chris and the Hunter Force involved.
    The real question is, was is fun to watch?

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  5. Having lived with a member of the elite forces for 8 years I can assure you what we saw in the programme was more survival than the real life escape and evasion that these guys do. However my hubby did laugh when Chris stole the horse … to quote “that’s exactly what I would have done!”. If you read Chris Ryans books (most of which are fiction and bloody good!)you realise that he’s not given much away … at least he’s honest McNab is still using a pseudonym!

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  6. just to say top veiwing and my kids loved
    it too.glad to see when it got personal between chris and our ken(my big brother).love & miss you ken

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  7. Yeah, my favourite line was when Ken said something like “I hope he’s having a miserable time, his feet are shredded and he’s lost half his kit”. You can’t beat the military sense of humour!

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  8. Sorry, but “Chris Ryan” is a pseudonym….the only difference between him and McNab is that Ryan shows his face. Read BRAVO TWO ZERO and THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, note the diffrences in the story and decide for yourself.

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  9. chris ryan is the man..he is amazing..he survived his experdition in the snow…and nearly died…i dont like it howthe comments on here makes chris ryan look ‘pants..i would like to see you guys try and achieve what he has..

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  10. Both Mcnab+Ryan are awe-inspiring figures,who cares which is best? Top-notch T.V on the program, Ryan with the horse?classic! Enough picking these guys to pieces, ALL EIGHT of the bravo two zero lads are heroes…the same for any soldier whon risks his life for Britain!

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  11. i watched every one i fort it was fastanating how he kept is self going that takes grate determination

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  12. Great series! Really shows how hard it is to track a guy that knows what he’s doing. Personally I think the HunterTeam got to much help. But I guess they had to make it interresting on TV.
    GJ all !

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  13. I have nothing but the highest admiration for Chris Ryan – what an excellent programme. It really brings it all home when you see just how many hints and tip offs the hunter force need to come close! The work he puts in over the days he is being tracked is just phenominal – just to cover those distances in moderate conditions at a leisurely pace with all of that kit would be an acievement in itself – never mind the pace and the temperatures! These guys are very,very special and undoubtedly the best forces in the world.

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  14. this man is a outstanding soilder.Im facinated by his ability to push himself.something happend on the bravo two zero mission that split the group.I would have liked to be with chris on any trip.

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  15. why does chris use a pseudonym,when we know what he looks like,it can’t be for security?

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  16. I don’t think he does. Maybe you’re thinking of that Andy Macnab (not his real name). So far as I’m aware Chris Ryan really is called Chris Ryan.

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  17. but i’ve read that it is a pseudonym,also further up this site it says so,any one know for sure ??

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  18. I am also related to one of the hunter force, if jackie waterhouse reads this hello and hope you’re ok, remember the bankfield hotel….dad paid. ha ha ha but chris ryan is definately a pseudonym!!!!

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  19. Face it people if chris was captured early on it would’nt off been much of a documentry would it.

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  20. To hell with all that!! He’s fab! Is there going to be another series to watch and enjoy?!

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  21. Chris’s first name is … umm Chris … but you can all guess his last name! There are some things it’s hard to ignore … your name being yelled across the brecon beacons by wife and daughter for instance! Great guy … although I have been hearing rumours about slim fast … is this true … surely not?

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  22. Hello, does ayone out there have this series on tape that I could borrow/buy/copy? I loved this series and have been in touch with the BBC and they have no plans to repeat it or do a DVD. If you have, could you leave a message on here as I don’t want to leave the email address just yet! Cheers!

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  23. Hi

    I too checked with the BBC they told me to write to someone else and suggest that they release it. I doubt it would make a difference though.

    Also I know UKTV People aired loads f SAS stuff including hunting chris ryan over and over in October – wrote to them too and they don’t have any plans to repeat them as yet!

    hope this helps!!

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  24. Hi

    Just to let everyone know – UKTV People are showing Hunting chris ryan on 12th, 13th and 14th january at 9.10am

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  25. Don’t know if anyone watched teh repeats on UKTV People, but I’m sure they were seriously cut down!!

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  26. I managed to see them and they were definately cut.

    when they were shown on BBC1 in 2003 they were each an hour long – so 10 minutes were cut from each – not to mention the breaks for adverts.

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  27. Chris Ryan is the best of the best… I got all his books and love to have his how not to die serios…

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  28. chris ryan is the man i to wish that hunting chris ryan would come out on DVD his books are brilliant

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  29. Who cares if there stories don’t correspond, they both had different experiences in the Gulf, they both know what they’re talking about. I think that McNab can’t show his face because of the 2 years he was in N. Ireland. Either way its none of our business their probably very nice men, and if I were to ever meet one of them I’d probably shit myself with awe.

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  30. Ok, here you go.
    Andys name is Steve.
    Chris’s name is Barry.

    from a 2b26 ( work it out) buddy

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  31. I’m surprised I didn’t mention it in the article but I’ve actually met Chris Ryan and I can confirm that he is in fact a very nice bloke!

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  32. He doesn’t really look like a “Barry” anyway! Anyone know if there will be a DVD or not?

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  33. Having read all of chris’ books and Andy’s I admit to being a huge fan of both, but I always felt a chill when I read both authors talk as they do about some of their comrades and even the competence of the SAS command at the time (in Iraq). I have just finished reading ” The real bravo two zero” by Michael Asher. I highly recommend this book to all the other Chris and Andy fans out there. I am still in shock. Hey Chris and Andy, F-you!! only the lowest of the low blame and lie about the dead, especially when the people you blame are your brothers in arms and members of one of best (shout out to JTF-2 Canada) combat organisations in the world. You both are an embarrasment to the SAS.

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  34. Interestingly I saw a documentary a couple of years ago backing up what you’re saying about their accounts of the whole episode. A lot of the local Iraqis were interviewed and their version of events was somewhat different to those in the books. I guess that all events documented in history are open to interpretation and you have to take anything presented as fact with a pinch of salt.

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  35. I have read both books and the one who got away is gr8 bravo tow zero is shit and andy mcnab is his real name as if u look n the 1 who gt away chris mentions him

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  36. hi!

    anyone can tell the name of the music that we listen in this episodes?

    thanks

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  37. I saw a rerun of the first episode recently and they played ‘Born To Be Wild’ by Steppenwolf at the end. I’m guessing that’s what they played at the end of each episode…

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  38. thanks for the tip.but it aint the music i’m looking for.
    the music i’m looking for is on this video

    anyone can tell me the name?

    thanks

    Reply

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