BBC One will air a new show on Tuesday night (April 12) which is set to put eight celebrities through their peace. Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof is a brand new six-part series designed to push the famous faces to test their limits in a sequence of life-changing challenges.
The survival show is based on Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete Wim Hof, also known as ‘The Iceman’, who is well-known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. Having millions across the world to do guided inspired breathing, take cold showers and ice baths to benefit their mind and body, Wim will guide the celebrities to step completely out of their comfort zones.
Fronted by This Morning’s Holly Willoughby and comedian Lee Mack, the celebrities will give up their day-to-day lifestyles to live in below zero conditions in the Italian Alps. For the duration of the show, the group will be live together in a tented village surrounded by spectacular, icy scenes of Northern Italy.
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The full line-up of celebrities taking part includes musical theater legend Alfie Boe OBE, singer/songwriter, TV presenter and footballer Chelcee Grimes, Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Dianne Buswell, sports TV presenter and former international rhythmic gymnast Gabby Logan MBE, Welsh weatherman Owain Wyn Evans, former footballer Patrice Evra, rapper and mental health advocate Professor Green and actress Tamzin Outhwaite.
Each week will see them take on various challenges, which gradually become more daring as the series progresses. Each of the celebs are all taking part for different personal reasons and are hoping that they can emerge from the experience feeling ‘happier, healthier and stronger’.
As it is a non-competitive show, none of the celebrities will be eliminated and will instead only have to fight their own minds to overcome the challenges.
This Morning’s Holly Willoughby, who is a huge fan of Wim Hof’s having tried out some of his breathing techniques herself, may have had a role in bringing the show to life after telling her TV producer husband Dan Baldwin about Wim Hof.
The 41-year-old TV star told closer magazine: “I told Dan about him, but not for a show idea, just kind of that he’s amazing, and we should do the breathing thing,” before adding her husband then decided to create an “incredible show” around the method.
Holly said that although she doesn’t take part in the challenges during the show, the experience was a struggle for her physically and emotionally, with the trailer showing her fighting back tears.
“Lee and I didn’t actually have to do any of the major challenges, but it didn’t mean that we didn’t get cold. It was freezing. Some days, it was minus 5 or 6. I had heat packs in every layer of my ski suit possible. I know, poor old me ha,” she said.
“The breathing exercise which I think the celebrities thought initially was going to be like going to the spa for the day was such an emotional release for a lot of them and took them to places I don’t think they thought they were going to go unto.”
Wim Hof got his nickname ‘The Iceman’ by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.
Wim has made it his mission to share what he’s learned with the rest of the world and has taught celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Justin Bieber, to athletes and people of all ages.
But there is a heartbreaking story behind his success. In an interview with the BBC he said: “I truly realized the benefit of the cold when I was grieving the death of my wife, Olaya, in 1995.
“She had depression and had spiraled into darkness. I was left alone with four children to look after and no money, dealing with the deep emotional agony and yet needing to be strong for my children. It was devastating.
“The children made me survive but it was the cold that brought me back to life. It healed me. Instead of being guided by my broken emotions, the cold water led me to stillness and gave my broken heart a chance to rest, restore, rehabilitate
“That is the message I want to share. This is what I found. I want to share the love. I don’t want anyone else to be in the same stressful situation that I was left behind in.”
Speaking about the experience, Wim said him, Holly and Lee were like the ‘three musketeers’.
“It was so great working with Holly and Lee – we were like the three musketeers. They are both funny people,” he said.
“Holly is so professional and yet a very emotional person as well. She really understands my mission, that I’m sharing tools to help people deal much better with their emotions in day-to-day life.
“This is a show about life and the celebrities are immersing themselves in their deepest fears and going deep into their own emotions, so Holly is the perfect person to be asking them questions and leading them through – she’s like the golden host with her sweet voice .
“And Lee is a great guy. He’s wired to be funny. This is no ski holiday for the celebrities; they face the darkness within themselves through the cold, through challenging themselves. He was impressed by them, and he does his beautiful, funny take on it all, making it light – because sometimes it can be heavy when you have to face your fears – but a person like Lee is able to make it funny by saying something witty which works and it makes it lighter and brighter.”
Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof will air on BBC One at 9pm on April 12.