Three episodes in, you know the basic premise. 14 ordinary men and women have to hide from the government for 28 days. They can't break the law and they can't leave the UK. Will any of them make it?
Martin Cole and Stephen Hardiker
Whilst, the Hunters are still celebrating catching Doctor Ricky Allen and I'm still recovering from the shock of it, two more fugitives are still on the run. The midlands based Martin Cole and Stephen Hardiker are best friends and are now my new favourites to win the show. They're my favourites, because they are clever and likeable. It is obvious that they're best friends, as they have a great camaraderie with each other which makes them very entertaining to watch. That notwithstanding, this episode shows that they are not as smart as I originally thought they were. Whilst Martin Cole, an IT manager, makes the sensible decision of taking his laptop with him, as he knows the Hunters can use it to find him, Stephen carelessly leaves his phone behind. The Hunters find it and discover an email talking about the pair's plan to travel to Wales and hide out in Stephen's caravan. They also find a receipt for a book about two guys who blag their way across the UK. This is essentially what Martin and Stephen try to do and they do it well. Redeeming himself for his previous carelessness, Stephen, a plumber, blags himself 2 free bikes, after fixing a leaky sink in a bike shop. I assume he also got a third bike for the cameraman, but this isn't mentioned.
The pair are so likeable due to how they are loyal to each other. Unlike Lauren and Emily, they don't constantly bicker. The pair's primary concern for reaching the caravan is the booze that Stephen has stored there. However, the cracks begin to show, when Martin wishes to contact home and speak to his girlfriend who isn't happy that he has gone on the run. Despite Stephen's reservations, Martin says they can do it without being caught by using a VPN to set up a private Twitter account with an email address that disappears after 24 hours, which is exactly what happens and the pair escape the Hunter's detection. The pair then make another smart decision by using Britain's canal network to reach Wales and Stephen's caravan. They do so just narrowly missing the Hunters. However, the pair are tipped off that the Hunters have just been looking for them, so once again, the pair go on the run and their current whereabouts are unknown. I think what I like so much about them is their devotion to each other and their families. Stephen says that the reason he became a fugitive was to find some adventure, which he felt was missing from his homelife. However, it is whilst on the run does he realise that the true adventure is at home with his family. Whilst this is cheesy and corny, it is certainly true.
Status: At large
Time on the run: 13 days
The next fugitive is the Welsh NHS Support Worker Adam Young who, like Ricky Allen, goes on the run on his own. His plan is to have his best friend Lauren drive him to Yorkshire, which is when he'll go off-grid. Adam says he wants to do this to make his father proud of him and know that he has raised a good son. I thought that this was adorable and it made Adam likeable. From the outset, it is clear that whilst Adam is sweet and well-meaning, he is clueless and naive. He brings way too much in his survival kit: three bags packed to the brim with God knows what, which he then has to sort out and leave items behind.
The Hunters then use ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) to track down Adam's accomplice Lauren and then they question her. However, like any good friend, Lauren lies through her teeth to protect Adam. The Hunters then begin a Wanted campaign complete with social media, newspaper articles and a reward to find Adam. In the village of West Witton, Yorkshire, Adam goes into a local pub to buy some dinner for him and his camera-operator. Within the pub, Adam finds out about the Wanted Campaign from the pub staff who have seen his picture in the local paper. However, one of the pub waitresses, grasses Adam up, after he fails to tip her. Knowing he has to make a quick getaway, Adam with the help of some new found accomplices, travels to Edinburgh to stay with his aunt and uncle. He uses one of the accomplices' phones to call his uncle and he also gives his accomplice his credit card to use, to make the Hunters think that he is still in Yorkshire. However, the Hunters aren't fooled for a second and contact the accomplice who helped Adam, who in fairness, does nothing to help the Hunters. In turn, the accomplice tells Adam about this and lets him know that the Hunters are coming for him. Spooked by this, Adam decides to catch a coach south to Birmingham, which is where the Hunters track him down and catch him.
Time on the Run: 7 days
In the last episode, Emily Dredge left her best friend Lauren English to continue hiding on her own. As such, I will be documenting their progress in separate sections. This episode focuses very little Emily. All we see of her is at a seaside town where Emily, increasingly paranoid, jumps of a moving tour guide train and making a break for it. Was there any threat? No. But this just goes to show, what the paranoia can do to you. I just pity the poor camera operator who had to jump off the same moving train with all of their camera equipment.
Status: At large
Time on the run: 18 days
Just like Emily, this episode hardly focuses on Lauren. All we know is that she is missing and is continuing to hitchhike to stay off the Hunter's radar.
Status: At large
Time on the run: 18 days
Any episode without a lot of Lauren and Emily, whom you might have guessed I don't like very much, in it is a good episode and this episode is no exception. It features the sweet if extremely clueless Adam Young and the very likeable Stephen Hardiker and Martin Cole who are now my new favourites to win. Again, my only criticism comes with the practicality of the camera operators. I assumed when Stephen blagged bikes for him and Martin, he also blagged one for the camera operator. But how practical is it really to film something, whilst cycling, or even to carry a heavy film camera? Furthermore, how did the poor camera operator cope jumping off the same moving train that Emily did when she lost her nerve?
Top 3 tips for going on the run
1. Mask your digital trail. When Stephen and Martin contact home, Martin does everything to cover his digital tracks. If the Hunters have access to your computer and internet accounts, they can easily find where you're going to go and where you're hiding.
2. Pack smart and pack light. Remember, you're not on the Walking Dead. It isn't the zombie apocalypse. Adam wastes a lot of time due to how he has to dispose of the sheer amount of unnecessary things he brings with him.
3. ALWAYS TIP THE WAITRESS. Despite it leading to a socially awkward situation, you should always tip the waitress if you don't want her grassing you up to the Hunters.