Well, I’m utterly traumatised. This programme was a gruelling 60 minutes of Davina McCall trying to raise money for a worthy cause in Kenya. The cause in brief was explained to us through two people, the first a young woman, a drowsy baby slung on her back, who breaks stone all day in a scorching quarry for just a few pounds. The second a little girl, who spends long, hot days smashing rocks with a hammer to earn money, but who has a collection of tattered textbooks, from which she’s trying to learn on her own, hoping to become a doctor. Eeesh. OK Davina, say no more, go for it.
The darling of TV’s plan was to batter herself, both physically and emotionally, from Edinburgh to London, through rain, snow, up mountains, across lakes, cycling up 45 degree hills, and then we could donate to the Kenyan project. Oh it was awful. Why must charity be so cruel? Davina’s like our mum. Our big sister. Our best mate. So this was essentially the equivalent of watching David Attenborough (our much-loved national Grandad) being shoved into a bin by some bullies.
Davina’s husband Matthew, is even lovelier than Davina. All starry, blue eyes and a warm, soft beard, saying how proud he is of his wife. Oh, SOB. And she hadn’t even left yet. We prepared for tears and boy oh boy did Davina deliver them.
It was pretty much constant crying from the very beginning. Extra hormonal, it would seem, as the night before the challenge kicked off she told us that she’d just got her period. Slightly awkward for all the dads who were only watching for a bit of cycling. Shuffle. Go and make a cup of tea.
Day 1 was Edinburgh to Keswick and off she pedalled. I felt tired straight away. Hours of brutal pedalling into the wind, with ‘celebrity trainer’, Greg, pedalling furiously next to her on his skinny racing bike. We were told that his presence beside her was to ‘protect Davina from the wind’ but with that, Greg promptly fell off his bike and onto the wet road. Davina’s face crumpled for the 47th time that day. Poor Greg.
On Day 3 came the dreaded crossing of Lake Windermere. It seemed a misty and freezing prospect as surveyed from the jetty. ‘Fear has taken over,’ Greg warned us, as he climbed into his wetsuit. ‘I’m going to be ok,’ sobbed Davina. Greg gave her a firm clutch on the shoulders. ‘You’re going to be fine.’ 60 in metres into the swim, Greg swimming by her side like a faithful hound, Davina was in a right state. A few hours later, her near- lifeless body bobbed limply to the jetty and she was dragged out and treated for apparently terrifying-looking death symptoms. Shivering on her bed she croaked, ‘Is Greg alright? He said he was cold.’ Well I’m glad someone finally thought to remember poor Greg. Yes, thank you for asking, Greg’s fine.
By day 6, Davina was a bit less whiny. The sun was out and the massive-fringed Claudia Winkleman was there to cheer her on. Just the sight of that ridiculous fringe is enough to make anyone smile.
Finally, a shattered looking Davina ran across the Millennium Bridge and into the reassuring beard of her lovely husband. ‘I’ve got to stop crying!’ she shouted into the microphone. Yes. Yes you do. And can somebody please get Greg a glass of water?
Text the words FIVE or TEN to 70510 and donate that number of pounds to the women of Kenya. Go on Davina my girl. Well done.
First published by TVGuide.co.uk