How did the idea for Sky’s new travel adventure series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy come about?
“One day my mam Nancy said she wanted to do a sky dive. I was a bit dismissive at first, but then I looked into it and discovered people older than her had tried sky dives. It snowballed from there really. I’ve done extreme things for years and thought ‘why don’t I take my mother around the world with list of things we can do together?’ And mum said – ‘let’s go!’”
During the six-part series you visit LA and Vegas, Morocco, Florida, Thailand, South Africa and Cambodia. Was it difficult to decide what to do?
“Yes! I knew there were certain things my mum would enjoy. But this is my list, not mum’s! This is about giving her a new lease of life and confidence. I don’t regret it, but there are times I thought ‘what have I dragged her into?’”
During the series you do the world’s highest sky dive, swim with sharks, and even persuaded the retired nurse to bet her week’s pension in Vegas. Was it hard to gauge what she’d agree to do?
“If Mum doesn’t want to do something, she’s very strong willed about it. She wouldn’t do the bungee jump in South Africa, or give me a ‘Mammy’ tattoo in Miami. But she did go white water rafting in Thailand. I had no idea what she’d agree to and what she wouldn’t! Mum’s never been an extreme person and now she’s got this list of unbelievable things she’s done.”
What was the most difficult challenge for you personally?
“I was really close to pulling the 18,000ft sky dive. Mum wasn’t nervous at all, but you couldn’t pay me to do it with her again, even though she’s up for another one!”
Quite an accomplishment for a woman who never goes on holidays without packing her own teabags!
“She’s an amazing woman. There are memories I’ll carry to my grave of mum and me in Cambodia in full camel gear, or underwater looking at white sharks. You travel the world looking for inspiration, but all the time, she’s downstairs making shepherd’s pie.”
50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy starts on Sky 1 on Monday, August 25