If your taste in reality shows runs more to grizzled guys doing crazy things in rugged surroundings, rather than tangerine-tanned humans cavorting in Essex, then have we got the programme for you.
There’s a Gold Rush on, you see, and you can catch all the action of Season 6 on Virgin Media right now, just in time for the brand new season coming our way on 18th October.
Here’s why you’ll be hooked on one of America’s top-rated TV epics…
It has a solid gold premise
The idea behind Gold Rush is as irresistible as one of the gleaming nuggets the guys are searching for. Think The Full Monty, only with less jigging to Hot Chocolate and more digging in the dirt. We follow a bunch of blue-collar guys who’ve lost their jobs in the economic crash, and – driven by desperation and the threat of total bankruptcy – turn to an outlandish solution to make ends meet. Namely: digging for gold. This is despite the fact they’re all “greenhorns” with little to no experience of mining.
Not the brightest or sanest of ideas, you might think, and… well, you’d be right. But that’s what makes this such excellent television, as we watch the burly blokes go for gold (and for broke) in Alaska, the Klondike, and other areas where Mother Nature basically has it in for the whole darn lot of ‘em.
The stakes are really, really high
The thing about Gold Rush is that it’s really, properly about a gold rush. A modern-day “reboot” of the desperate days of the late 19th Century, when adventurers, chancers, rogues and rapscallions all raced to dangerous areas to dig for victory. That sense of fear and excitement is palpable in the show – this isn’t just a game for these guys. They’re not just doing it to put on a good show. The gold, and the money, is a make or break deal for them, and you’ll find yourself willing them on (and wincing when things go badly, which is often).
Bear in mind that in one season alone, a crew on the show brought up over a million dollars’ worth of gold, and another season saw a haul of more than $1.4 million being discovered by some of the guys.
There are wonderful weirdos galore
You’ve heard of horse whisperers, dog whisperers and even ghost whisperers, but have you ever met a wolf howler? He’s just one of the guys who’s turned up on Gold Rush: a veteran of the backwoods with a penchant for striding around forests and hills and howling out to all the wolves out there. (He also makes chit-chat with the occasional moose, because that is also apparently a thing that can be done).
Then there’s Parker, who’s barely out of his teens but leads an entire mining crew in his uniquely volatile way. The trick is to calm him down by bringing him food (but no apples, because according to Parker, apples aren’t food). Oh, and look out for Tony Beet, aka “The Viking”, whose gold-nuggets of wisdom include “if the cat leaves the kitchen table, the mice dance on the table”. Wise words indeed.
The whole darn thing is nuts
Here’s what you learn about gold mining in Gold Rush: it involves falling down hillsides, doing battle with giant trucks, and punching other people in the face when they disagree with you. Yes, there are hulking deadly machines and fisticuffs a-plenty in this high-stress environment, which isn’t so great for the guys involved, but really rather awesome for those of us safely embedded on our sofas at home. There’s some genuinely emotional human drama as well, as younger miners try to live up to their forefathers, and the blood and toil of life at the literal coalface takes its toll.
Things are about to heat up
This is a perfect time to join the Gold Rush, because season 7 is on its way, and it’s looking to be taking things up a notch. One miner – the young buck Parker, who is barely out of short trousers – is investing more than half a million dollars on a giant bit of mining equipment, which could pay off big-time or leave him weeping into grubby t-shirt.
His girlfriend is also flying in from Australia to join him, which’ll either boost his morale or just make things even more emotionally weird than they already are. Meanwhile, a rival crew head to a whole new site in Oregon in a bid for buried treasure. But is fool’s gold all they’ll find?
Gold Rush season 6 is available now On Demand. Find it in On Demand > Box Sets.
Recommended for you