Foxy’s Fearless 48 Hours review: Rob Delaney jumps off a 150ft viaduct in this strangely moving daredevil show

With its surprising profundity and its outdoorsy theme, this concept has the potential to be as popular as kings of the genre such as Bear Grylls’s ‘Running Wild’ or ‘Celebrity Island’ – there’s just one big problem

Ellie Harrison
Monday 27 September 2021 06:51 BST
Fox's Fearless 48 Hours trailer

Rob Delaney is in the beautiful mountains of Snowdonia. He has lost the straw for his mango juice. He’s struggling to pull a suitcase across a rocky terrain. He’s attempting to squish his Tupperware into his bag. All of this makes him upset. None of this leads us to believe he is the kind of person who’s about to willingly jump into “the quarry of death”, tackle a high wire with a 300ft drop or leap backwards off a 150ft viaduct. And yet, here he is. The first of a string of celebrity guests on a new daredevil challenge series, Foxy’s Fearless 48 Hours. People are endlessly surprising.

Luckily, he’s got the support of Jason “Foxy” Fox, the former special forces soldier and star of SAS: Who Dares Wins, who gives helpful asides to camera, such as: “If he f***s around, he’s f***ed.” To Delaney’s face, though, he’s very encouraging.

For the first half of the episode, the pair have absolutely no chemistry. Delaney, usually so ebullient in Catastrophe, is quiet (it must be the nerves) and Foxy is vague and humourless. But as soon as they start throwing themselves into quarries and off viaducts, they loosen up. By the end of the show, they’re almost as intimate as Bear Grylls and Zac Efron were during their trip to the Catskill Mountains (albeit with less hand-holding).

I imagine Delaney is a lovely person to spend 48 hours with. He is generous with his laughter, utterly self-deprecating, and has a strange and pleasing growl that he lets out when exerting effort. Foxy is quite taken with him. “That man’s got some f***ing resilience,” he says, after Delaney tells him about his past struggles with alcoholism and depression, and the death of his two-year-old son Henry, who died of a brain tumour in 2018. “If you ask a person, ‘What’s the worst thing could happen?’ and they have kids, they would say their kids dying, and that’s what happened, so that makes a lot of other stuff seem a lot less difficult,” Delaney says, theorising on his ability to do the challenges. “I remember when I recorded a stand-up special a year and a half after Henry died, I was on stage thinking, ‘I would f***ing tear all this down if Henry would come back.’”

Back on ground level after the viaduct jump, Delaney says the experience of leaping off feels “kind of magical or, like, I don’t know, spiritual or sacred or something… our bodies flooded themselves with these crazy chemicals that feel amazing”.

With its surprising profundity and outdoorsy theme, this concept has the potential to be as popular as kings of the genre such as Bear Grylls’s Running Wild or Celebrity Island. Unfortunately, it’s sort of ruined by being a giant advert for a brand of off-road capable cars, with groan-worthy shots of 4x4s clumsily spliced in at every opportunity. As Delaney says many times in the programme, “it just feels wrong”.

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