As Bear Grylls’ cameraman, Danny Etheridge, 37, spends his time following the country’s most famous survivalist on all kinds of dangerous expeditions across the globe. But while Bear is celebrated for his struggle, Danny’s is hidden behind a camera…
It’s my responsibility to take people on a journey. That gives me a bigger buzz than stepping in front of the lens ever could.
I’d be a rubbish host anyway. Bear is more than just a presenter. He instills confidence in the crew. That’s why he’s the main man.
My job’s about staying calm and focused. Sometimes your mind will be screaming at you to help out in a situation, but you just can’t. You need to separate yourself.
The camera, rightly or wrongly, makes you braver. As soon as I hit record, I feel like I’m wearing a bulletproof vest.
I didn’t feel so confident when Bear and I were left stranded with a 20ft shark. It looked like Jaws, and it began to circle us. It rolled on to one side, and I stared straight into the blackness of its eye. I thought, “Fucking hell, this is it. I’m dead.”
Unbelievably, it left us alone. The water stopped me recording, which was shit. My instinctual reaction to any sort of danger is to press that red button.
That’s what happened when we were stuck under a rock fall in Scotland. I fell to the floor, turned the camera upwards and only then did I consider my own safety.
Bear and I look out for each other. We’re a team, and just because he’s in the spotlight it doesn’t mean that I’m not there. We’re all vital.
I know people at home forget I exist. But I’m fine with that. I want people to sit on their sofas and immerse themselves in the adventure.
I would never go on one of these trips just for fun. My sole aim is to show people how incredible the world can be. A special moment caught on film will always be more important than one man’s ego.
Maybe when I’m old, I’ll pull out my videos and relive these adventures. And it’ll be through my eyes, just the way I remembered it.
Bear Grylls: Breaking Point is on the Discovery Channel Wednesdays at 9pm