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Matt Brandon

A lucky escape

This is going to be very short for obvious reasons. On Sunday (11th I'm told) we went out of the hacienda to film some simple shots of the area. I was feeling rougher and rougher with my head pounding to the point where I just couldn't move. Everyone had their fair share of sickness, so I presumed that it was my turn.

By the time we got back all I could manage was to lie in a hammock. It was really hot outside, but I still needed a sleeping bag. The hammock swaying was making me feel worse so someone helped me to one of the small rooms with a bed. Zubin was having a kip in the bed next to me, which was comforting.

After a while he left because we had some filming to do, but there was no way I could get out of bed so the others took control of that. And that's all I remember until about a week ago when I woke up in an intensive care unit in Lima.

I couldn't speak and I couldn't stay awake very long but I do remember Zoe (my wife) and/or Zubin being there whenever I did wake up, and I felt very safe and knew that I was going to be OK.

It turned out that I'd had an abscess on my brain and been evacuated from the jungle (I have vague dream-like memories of a big white flag being waved - apparently to direct a helicopter in for an emergency extraction). I can't express how thankful I am to the whole team here and at home for getting me to Lima so quickly, and for looking after me so well.
Matt is evacuated by helicopter

My Mum and Dad and my brother have been out here. I've talked to my sisters on the phone, countless friends have sent their love and get-well wishes. Sam, our exec producer, and Steve have been out, and Steve is going to take over the rest of this shoot (I'm gutted not to be going myself, but the doctor laughed at me when I suggested it). I'm overwhelmed. Thank you all.

Matt in his hospital bed in Lima
Matt in his hospital bed in Lima

I moved rooms today (Zoe spotted one at the end of the corridor with a view and better light) - it's a bit like being in a hotel! Zubin's coming round to watch the England match later, and hopefully he's going to bring in a bit of pizza. Zoe's been staying in the room on a sofa bed most nights - I've never been in hospital before, and I hope that I never will again, but I've been really lucky this time.

This blog was written in December, after Matt had recovered from his illness and was able to write about the experience.

Read the blogs and see the video and images related to Matt's illness and evacuation


  • 1.
  • At 01:40 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Elchanco wrote:

hi Matt,

I wish you a quick recovery. Times like these put life in perspective! Hopfully you will be back enjoying travel soon :)

  • 2.
  • At 05:55 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Jane wrote:

Hi Matt,
rest, recouperation and a Happy Christmas. All the best for 2008 and many more adventures. Be well soon : )

  • 3.
  • At 07:53 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • cazfenny wrote:


Glad you are recovering, hope you are all better soon. Certainly sounds like a proper adventure!

  • 4.
  • At 08:55 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Szara wrote:

What a team and what a big celebration you should all have when you get back together in the uk.

  • 5.
  • At 09:30 PM on 19 Dec 2007,
  • Jenny wrote:

Hey Matt,
I'm so sorry to see you've been so ill, especially this close to Christmas. It must have been terrifying for you and I hope you get back to your normal self in no time. You and the team do a fantastic job and I can't wait for the new series! Best of luck for 2008, hope you feel better soon xx

  • 6.
  • At 08:30 AM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • Carrie Hunter wrote:

Hi Matt. Craig told me what happened and was totally shocked. I am glad that you have recovered and have been well looked after.I hope that you enjoy Christmas and new year with your family.
All the best, Carrie.

  • 7.
  • At 04:04 PM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • Rudi salim wrote:

Hi Matt.
I am sorry to hear that you have been ill. hope you are in full recovering soon. wish you and your family a very happy christmas and new year.

  • 8.
  • At 05:10 PM on 20 Dec 2007,
  • Michelle wrote:

Hi Matt,
I wish you all the best in your recovery. Stories to tell the grandchildren don't come better than yours. Merry christmas to you and yours and hope you are back with the crew asap. Michelle.

  • 9.
  • At 09:26 PM on 21 Dec 2007,
  • Nicola wrote:

Really glad to hear that you are recovering - it sounds like a terrifying experience (although perhaps more for everyone else seeing as you don't remember - probably best!!). Hope you are soon fighting fit and able to rejoin the team. Big kudos to them for realising the seriousness of your condition and getting the appropriate help sorted quickly.

All good wishes for Christmas and a swift return to full health.


  • 10.
  • At 11:10 PM on 24 Dec 2007,
  • Antonette Patou wrote:

Hi Matt.
Wish you a speady recovery. I know what it's like to be ill abroad. I suffered serious altitude sickness in La Paz and nearly lapsed into a coma because I'm thalassemia trait and wasn't aware of the dangers at the time, thinking, 'please don't let me die here, alone away from home'.. I love watching Bruce and feel like I'm there with you all minus the bites and all the discomforts that go with those kinds of adventures journeys

Thanks to you all. It's incredible what a difference a few weeks can make. Thank god the team were so good, I keep saying it, but without them who knows what would have happened. And the care everyone else has shown - people I know and people I don't - has been astonishing. Looks like I'll be back to full fitness and easing my way back into work shortly after Christmas, and I'm really looking forward to it. Thank you all so much. Lots of love, Matt

  • 12.
  • At 04:17 PM on 03 Mar 2008,
  • Kirstie Brandon wrote:

Hey Matt,

Very scary seeing that footage but we know you are now very well Indeed!

Please be safe this trip, all of you, and come home safely!

Of course remember to Enjoy!

Miss you & see you soon. Love to Zubin


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