Naked couple gets engaged while filming reality show where they battle it out in the nude



Travel can put any relationship under stress, never mind ­trying to survive for three days in the Highlands of Scotland dressed only in your birthday suit and armed with a knife while being filmed.

Given one couple tackled this very ordeal on a new reality show, it is maybe no surprise that following their nude stint in front of cameras they immediately became engaged.

Jenny Pearce, 38, and Steven, 37, were among 24 contestants taking part in E4’s Naked, Alone and Racing to Get Home, which will feature teams competing against each other for a £5,000 prize.

Each week, they are tasked with navigating themselves around some of Britain’s toughest countryside, carrying only a knife, water bottle, basic sleep liner, map, flint and steel.

Jenny and Steven
'Going naked on TV was far tougher than I ­envisaged,' Jenny said ( Channel 4)

They must set up camp, use branches and moss to build shelters, make their own fire and find food – all while roaming the land in the buff.

Eventually on the final day, the two teams must reach a town as their goal is to be first back to win the prize. They use leaves over their private parts to avoid upsetting people.

While this scenario might read like many people’s worst nightmare, the experience proved life-changing for Jenny, of Plymouth, and Steven.

Jenny says: “Going naked on TV was far tougher than I ­envisaged and easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s made me much stronger. The best thing is Steven proposed.

“We are getting married in July.”

Mike and Merel
Mike and Merel ( Channel 4)

The couple decided to apply for the show not because they dreamed of being TV survival nudists but because they wanted to push themselves.

Jenny says: “Steven runs an ­outdoor activity company and he wanted to prove he could do it. Going naked on TV didn’t cross my mind because I didn’t think we’d ­actually get picked.”

When the time came to take off her clothes, Jenny admits: “I did think, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ That only lasted a couple of minutes. I knew there was no going back and then the nakedness completely disappeared.”

Even standing in front of the opposing team, chef Mike, 37, of Essex, and Merel, 24, a Dutch ­sociology student, didn’t phase her. “I was focused on what we had to do,” she insists. “Not once did I think about being naked.”

Jenny and Steven being filmed in a field for Naked, Alone and Racing to Get Home
The couple said they did not dream of being survival nudists ( Channel 4)

Being starkers brings extra ­difficulties – being bitten by insects, trying to walk barefoot across rough terrains while avoiding stinging nettles and coping with the climate – even if it was filmed in summer.

“It felt like my bones were frozen,” says Jenny. “It was horrible and so tough. It was the longest night of my life. I didn’t sleep.”

And it has made her appreciate every mod con even more – especially clothes, she admitted.

“It makes you realise how much we take for granted,” says Jenny. “And it definitely makes you appreciate your clothes. Being warm was like winning the lottery. I had the best shower of my life.” Their opponents, who only met each other when they arrived to start the challenge fully naked, loved it too.

Explaining why he signed up, Mike says: “I have a temper and I can snap a lot if I don’t get my own way. I feel like a need to learn to cope in an incredibly tense situation. I am trying to be better.”

Mike and Merel
'We put our differences aside and went, ‘This is it.'' Mike said ( Channel 4)

Merel insists it was the chance to learn new skills that ­interested her.

“I’ve never lit a fire,” she says, joking she will only resort to romantic tactics if she is desperate to get warmer. “I am not spooning when naked unless we are dying from the cold.”

As well as the pressures of the weather and terrain, Merel and Mike found working together as strangers ­inevitably led to bickering.

“But we put our differences aside and went, ‘This is it’,” says Mike as he reveals the survival test was one of the best things he has ever done.

“I’ve learnt so much about myself. No matter what your body type, you can go on and push it. It’s been fantastic and lifted me to a position where I can start believing in myself.”

As for Jenny and Steven, will they be walking down the aisle dressed? “It’s the maddest thing we’ve both done but no, we are not having a naked wedding,” says Jenny, laughing.

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“My friends couldn’t believe I was doing it. But my mum is interested and keeps asking me about it.” She admits while her parents are open-minded, she doesn’t expect her dad to tune in. “I think he’ll say he has got another show to watch,” she says.

“It’s really good Channel 4 decided to make a programme like this.

“I have no regrets and hope people can see it is a survival show rather than just about how everyone is naked. I didn’t do this programme to be judged on my appearance. I did it to be judged on my skills.”

Naked, Alone and Racing to Get Home starts on E4 and All4 on Thursday, April 6 at 9pm.

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