“Are you going to try and get me on conspiracy theories? Because I love ’em,” declares former England cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff with a grin. “Moon landings, Big Foot, flat Earth, I love all this.”
It’s precisely the sort of jovial chatter we’ve grown to know and love from the 43-year-old, particularly when it comes to hit Sky television series A League Of Their Own (or ALOTO as it’s affectionately known by many). Together with former England footballer Jamie Redknapp and comedian Romesh Ranganathan the trio have, in the past, found themselves tangled up in all manner of mischief.
With previous instalments of the sport-meets-comedy road trip taking in the radiantly sunny climes of the US, along with the vibrant contours of Europe, the latest home-grown spin-off comes complete with the slightly less appealing addition of cloud and precipitation. “Do you know what, it was a chance to see more of Britain,” reflects Flintoff. “At that time of year, in the past, we’ve been down Venice Beach and Los Angeles and exploring them – we’re playing basketball and we’ve got a pair of shorts on. This time, we’re in Scotland in the winter, being chucked in a loch.”
Spanning the length and breadth of the nation, A League Of Their Own Road Trip: Loch Ness To London is every inch the comedy-fuelled adventure. “It’s bonkers, that’s the thing,” says Flintoff. “A League of Their Own started 10 years ago; we’ve done 20 studio shows and if you’d have seen the first one, you probably wouldn’t have thought we’d get a second. Now we’re doing all these road trips and things, it’s not the direction I thought my life would go in, but I’m loving it.”
Scottish lochs and legends
“I’d love to believe there’s something in there,” enthuses Flintoff of the first episode, shot on the shores of Loch Ness. “When we got put in, you still have in the back of your mind that there’s something down there – whether it’s a monster or just a big fish or something prehistoric, I’m not quite sure. But I’m invested in it, me. It’s so deep there could be anything in there.”
It was an opening challenge that saw Flintoff contemplating what his final moments might look like should the legends of Nessie prove to be true. ”What a way to go, eh? What a way to go,” says Flintoff with a grin. “Not quite what I’d expect; I’d expect it in Preston town centre with a kebab on my chest.”
“That would be a great front page though,” interjects Redknapp gleefully. “’Freddie Flintoff eaten by the Loch Ness monster’.”
Flintoff, Redknapp and Ranganathan find themselves reunited with former ALOTO star and comedian Jack Whitehall courtesy of Covid-imposed travel alterations.
“We knew it was going to be under different restrictions but it was fun and to have the level of people that we did,” says 47-year-old Redknapp of the series. “We got a little bit lucky. “Jack would have been promoting his film with The Rock, but because he hasn’t got any work on, all of a sudden Jack went, ‘Alright, yeah, that will be great fun, let’s go and do a road trip!’
“Didn’t we hear about that film and The Rock – geez!” interjects Flintoff. “Dwayne does that, Dwayne does this.”
As the pair continue to reminisce about their attempts to steal Whitehall’s phone in order to send besotted text messages to the former wrestler, Redknapp returns to the subject at hand. “But as I say, Jack, Romesh, Alan Carr, Tom Davis, Micah Richards, Alex Scott – an array of people coming on that love the show,” he says. “And as Freddie said, it showed Britain at its beautiful best, we had a really, really good time.”
With a new series comes new challenges, perfectly designed to test the strength and ingenuity of the celebrities. Alongside the depths of Scottish lochs, the opening episode sees Flintoff and Redknapp tackle a forest, complete with the guidance of former Royal Marine Commandos Aldo Kane and Jason Fox, star of SAS: Who Dares Wins.
“Foxy and Aldo are amazing,” says Flintoff. “We see that programme, SAS: Who Dares Wins, where everyone thinks they can do it and have a go. And it’s gone through my mind. But then the more I’ve seen of these guys, there’s not a chance. On the road trip, we did a sniper challenge [where] Foxy was stood there and me and Jack were eyeing him up and he was egging me on to take him, like, ‘Have a go’.
“So, I thought, ‘go on then, I’ll have a graft with Foxy’. It’s one of the few times in my life I’ve realised I’m actually so far out of my depth it’s untrue. Me and Jamie have played a bit of sport, we might have a few physical attributes, but let’s be honest, SAS? No. Not a chance.”
It’s a stance seconded by Redknapp. Yet the ex-footballer is quick to note that Flintoff is a man you want by your side. “What I will say, though, is that in terms of people I think might have been the closest to getting into [the SAS], it would be Freddie; he’s fearless.
“I think the authority – in terms of getting told what to do, with him we’re in a struggle; but if I had to go somewhere and I was in trouble, Freddie would be my first call.”
A League Of Their Own Road Trip: Loch Ness To London arrives on April 8 on Sky One and NOW TV.