Tom Daley turns TV adventurer: ‘Scary challenges are what gets my heart pumping!’

Splash! star Tom Daley goes backpacking around the world in his new six-part ITV2 show, Tom Daley Goes Global (Thursday, April 10).

Here, the Olympic bronze medal winner talks about doing the dive of his life…

Tom, your new show sees you backpack to far-flung destinations with best pal Sophie. Why did you want to see the world as a backpacker rather than in the comfort of hotels?
“I wanted to see these countries as a backpacker because life’s not just about luxuries; you can have lots of fun with just the basics. Although, as time went on, I’d grown quite a lot of facial hair and looked like I’d been living on the streets!”

The first leg of your round-the-world adventure kicks off in Thailand, where you take part in a tandem skydive. But when a heavy storm comes over, it looks like you might not take off…
“I know! I’ve wanted to do a skydive my whole life and I knew that, whatever the weather, I was determined to jump out of that plane. We went from one minute thinking we weren’t going to do it at all to the instructor saying: ‘You’re going up right now!’ I was so nervous, but jumping out was exhilarating!”

You complete many more challenges throughout the series, including paragliding off a mountain in Japan and braving Europe’s highest bungee jump in Switzerland…
“Anything that people would normally be scared of is just the kind of thing that gets my heart going. So the bungee jump was scary… but fun scary.”

We understand from the first episode that all of these challenges are for a worthy cause. What can you tell us?
“The main reason for me making this show was to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity, an organisation very close to my heart as my dad died of brain cancer in 2011. For each challenge I do, I’m hoping people will donate.”

What part of the trip really sticks in your mind, for whatever reason?
“I remember when the Cosplay characters in Japan invited us to do karaoke. Sophie was elated that we were going to a karaoke bar in Japan, but the idea of doing karaoke in fancy dress is my worst nightmare.”

What did you miss most about home while you were away?
“Sleep! We stayed in so many different places and sometimes it was so hard to get a good night’s sleep. In New Zealand, for example, we went up Mount Cook and stayed in a hut, which was attacked by an opposum in the middle of the night. We couldn’t sleep at all! I would also say I missed home cooked food as well, but I did enjoy lots of local cuisine at the various destinations.”

Did you do any diving on the trip?
“No, I literally had a complete break from diving. The one moment of luxury we got on the trip was when we met up with Mollie from The Saturdays in Cannes and I dived off the back of a yacht, but that’s as far as it went.”

What do you still want to achieve in diving? What’s your ultimate dream?
“Well, my ultimate dream is to win an Olympic gold medal. I’ve won every other major event except for the Olympics, so that’s still on my bucket list. Hopefully Rio 2016 will be when I’m at the peak of my performance, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens there.”