The Jump: Marcus Brigstocke talks broken bones, getting his kicks and why the show is no Celebrity Big Brother

The comedian insists he is doing it for the thrill of 'sliding fast down things'

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The Independent Culture

This Sunday, twelve celebrities will plummet down alpine ski runs for Channel 4’s new TV show, The Jump.

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke is joining the likes of Darren Gough, Sir Steve Redgrave, The Only Way Is Essex’s Amy Childs and Sinitta.

"It’s easily the best gig I have ever had," he told The Independent. “It’s bonkers and just the most fun ever. After trying the skeleton bob sleigh, I couldn’t stop laughing like a maniac for about forty minutes.”

Said skeleton bob sleigh involves lying down with your chin one centimetre off the ice and zooming down a run at up to 100 kilometres per hour. Bumps and bruises seem inevitable.

“I don’t know for sure if everyone will still be appearing in the show,” Brigstocke says. “We’ve had some very severe injuries, a few broken bones. All I can say with a big smile on my face – not smugly but with relief – is that so far I’m fine.”

The Jump, TV preview: Steve Redgrave, Darren Gough and Amy Childs take to the slopes

The Jump follows in the wake of a reality TV tidal wave, but for Brigstocke it’s about the challenge, not the popularity contest. “Probably in the parlance of television this is a reality show, but for those of us who are here it’s a sports competition,” he says. “There’s no filming in the hotel, no filming in our down-time. The only filming we do is when we’re competing or training.”

It’s the bickering and ‘everyone vote for me’ elements of Celebrity Big Brother and I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! that deter Brigstocke, who insists he’s only doing The Jump because he “loves sliding fast down things”.

“This for me is a chance to learn some things,” he says. “The only other thing like this I’ve ever done before is when I had four weeks to learn French and do stand-up in Paris.”

The contestants will undertake a range of different events during the show, including speed-skating, slalom and, of course, the jump itself. Brigstocke doesn’t back his chances in the latter, blaming his height for putting him at a disadvantage: “Steve and I ski jump like bricks.”

Even for someone with a known ability to laugh at themselves, Brigstocke has experienced a bad case of the jitters. “When I landed a jump for the first time, I had a massive grin on my face, but the moment I was on my own I burst into tears from the pressure and adrenalin,” he says.

Although not a true adrenalin junkie, Brigstocke gets an addictive kick out of snowsports and “going fast”. “I don’t drink alcohol and I don’t use drugs so I get my buzz elsewhere,” he says.

And what of legendary ski-jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, who is out in Austria with The Jump team, offering his words of snowy wisdom? “He’s very mocked in Britain, but outside of the UK he’s genuinely very well-respected by the jumping community,” says Brigstocke. “Eddie trained himself and what he achieved completely on his own, while we found it at turns embarrassing and laughable, is actually phenomenal.”

With just days to go before The Jump debuts on air, Brigstocke is cramming in as much training as he can. Inspired by Redgrave’s focus and Gough’s “recklessness and joie de vivre”, his endurance is being tested to the limit.

“I never thought I’d be up with a sportsman going, ‘Hey, we’re not doing enough,’ that’s really not me, but Steve and I are both wanting to train more,” he says. “My view is the more you do the better you get and that’s it. Keep your fingers crossed for me!”

The Jump airs on Channel 4 at 8pm on Sunday 26 January