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 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”.
The Jump: Meet the contestants
The Jump: Meet the contestants
1/12 Amy Childs
Childs is best known for appearing in the first two series of popular reality TV series The Only Way Is Essex. She came fourth in Celebrity Big Brother 8 too, so is quite the reality TV regular...
2/12 Anthea Turner
Famous for presenting TV shows such as Blue Peter and GMTV, as well as two work-out videos. She also featured on Celebrity Big Brother in 2011 but was evicted third.
3/12 Darren Gough
Gough is a retired England cricketer. He took part in Strictly Come Dancing in 2005 and won, much to the amusement and support of his former colleagues. He then became the face of UK supermarket Costcutter before bagging on presenting slot on Talksport.
4/12 Henry Conway
Conway is an English socialite who sometimes styles himself as 'Queen Sloane'. He promotes parties and writes fashion articles. His father is Derek Conway MP - known for the scandal of 2008 in which his sons were overpaid for their work as research assistants.
5/12 Kimberly Wyatt
Wyatt used to sing with Nicole Scherzinger in US girl group The Pussycat Dolls. She left in 2010 and formed a new group called Her Majesty and the Wolves. Her debut solo single 'Derriere' is due for release soon.
6/12 Laura Hamilton
Hamilton is a TV presenter currently working on A Place in the Sun and Beat My Build. She participated in Dancing on Ice in 2011 and finished in second place.
7/12 Marcus Brigstocke
Brigstocke is an English comedian, actor and satirist. He had a small role in Love Actually and has also dabbled in musical theatre.
8/12 Melinda Messenger
Messenger is an English former glamour model. She was a Page 3 girl in The Sun but is now a TV presenter. Her alter ego is Rebecca Rowley.
9/12 Nicky Clarke
Clarke is hairdresser to the stars as well as being a media personality. He owns acclaimed hair salons and received an OBE in February 2008.
10/12 Ritchie Neville
Neville was a member of hit boyband Five in the Nineties. He then moved to Australia to become a restaurateur, wine steward and mixologist.
Sinitta is known for appearing on ITV talent show The X Factor, helping Simon Cowell during the 'judges houses' phase of the competition. She also joined the I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! jungle in the 11th series of the show.
12/12 Sir Steve Redgrave
Redgrave won gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games for rowing, plus one bronze. He has won BBC Sports Personality of the Year and was knighted in 2001.
“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