FOR an adventure reality series like Die Brug (The Bridge), where 12 strangers must work together to build a bridge in a remote, rugged and pristine location, with one hoping to walk away with prize money of R1 million, you need a narrator’s voice with gravitas – a voice that can capture, colour in and amplify the drama, action, suspense and emotion. Such a person is the enigmatic Neil Sandilands, the voice behind the microphone for the first season of Die Brug, starting 26 October on kykNET (DStv channel 144).
Neil made his mark on TV as a child actor in the acclaimed series Meester and Konings, and later impressed with his talent on television, in movies and on stage. Los Angeles beckoned, and roles in international series like Hap and Leonard and Sweet Tooth followed. But Africa always beckoned, and Neil repeatedly returned to South Africa to work here.
When Cecil Barry, a long-time friend, approached him a few months ago and asked if he wanted to be the narrator for Die Brug, Neil immediately said yes, without really knowing what he was saying yes to.
“But once I saw the content and the wonderful work that the creative director Freddy Louw and his team had done, I was all in. To be asked to lend your voice to tell a story like this is a great honour, and it comes at the right time in my career. How do I feel about it? Fantastic!”
What does he think of a reality show like this one?
“Well, I don’t really watch TV, I make it,” confesses Neil with a laugh. “But that said: It quickly became clear that I was captivated, intrigued and even carried away by the content. The characters we meet are not just apples and pears, but avocados as well. The heart of the programme, thematically, provides fun, diversion, challenges and food for thought. It checks all the boxes when it comes to entertainment. Die Brug turns into high adventure reality very quickly, and it takes a piercing look at the human psyche.”
Neil receives the episodes once they are fully edited, and the entire production team is satisfied. “I then add my own flavour by telling the story as it happened. The producers have given me quite a bit of freedom. So, I’ve had the creative space to craft my text. Let me admit it: I’m addicted! I know this show will overwhelm viewers. I’m truly grateful the producers asked me to be the narrator.”
Die Brug is produced by Red Pepper Pictures. The series will be available on DStv Premium on kykNET (DStv Channel 144) from Thursday 26 October 2023, as well as live-streamed on the DStv App, and will also be available on DStv Catch Up after broadcast. Visit the kykNET website for exclusive show content and use #DieBrug to join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.