What drives you to extreme environments where the odds are stacked against you?

There is a strange attraction to places where life becomes very raw and "unfluffy." In those difficult moments, I always feel a sharpening of the senses. You are caked in mud, it is pouring with rain, the vine you are climbing up is breaking, and you have to think fast ... I like that!

As a kid, what was your favorite TV show to watch?

MacGyver, of course … and the A-Team!

What is your most treasured adventure memory?

The summit of Everest, at 7:22 a.m. on May 26, 1998, as the sun rose over Tibet, with my best buddy Neil Laughton. Four climbers had just lost their lives on the mountain. We were alone, very high and very vulnerable, but we had a strange strength that we found together. It was a very poignant moment for me, full of much emotion and the culmination of a dream I had held onto since I was a kid. Having broken my back two years beforehand, a big part of me doubted I could ever achieve this; but somehow here I was, and I knew my late father would be smiling. Of that I was sure.

What is the worst food you've eaten in a survival situation?

Raw frozen yak eyeballs; camel intestine juice; raw goat testicles; live snake; maggots as big as a hand, pulsating with yellow pus; and giant live spiders.

How do you cope with media interest, especially criticism of shows? For example, allegations that the show deceived viewers that you were stranded when actually not?

Any criticism is always hard, and I am probably a bit too overcritical and sensitive on myself as well, which never helps. But ultimately what I do as my job feels very right. It is hard work, in tough places and away from my family a lot, but being in the "right" place often is hard. I try to remember that the show touches many people worldwide and helps them get out there and live boldly. That counts for much in my eyes. I am immensely proud of the team I have around me making these shows; they work very hard in some nightmarish conditions, for very little glory. They are the great heroes in my eyes.