‘BBC’s Freeze the Fear is a self-help manual disguised as an entertainment show’


It’s a relief not to hear the words ‘terms and conditions’ or ‘bill payer’s permission’, but it does mean the series lacks a bit of jeopardy, says TV guest columnist Emma Bullimore

Wim is trying to give us a self-help manual disguised as an entertainment show

Have you heard of Wim Hoff? I hadn’t either.

But the BBC has given him his own show, and it’s sure to leave you reaching for a hot brew and a blanket.

Set in snowy Northern Italy, Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack introduce “Iceman” Wim, who has harnessed the power of the cold to gain control over his own mind.

Yep, he reckons freezing showers, ice baths and running around in the snow is the key to inner peace and serenity. I bet his energy bills are the cheapest in the land.

Celebrities, as we know by now, detest being in their comfort zone.







Hosts Lee Mack and Holly work well together on screen
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Image:

BBC/Hungry Bear Media/Pete Dadds)

They are always volunteering for these kinds of shows to avoid it – nothing to do with the money – so a group including actress Tamzin Outhwaite, sports presenter Gabby Logan, singer Alfie Boe and ex-footballer Patrice Evra have signed up to learn the Wim method through a series of chilly challenges. First things first, they are taken to an ice hole, where they must each jump into freezing cold water.

It’s not something I’d want to do for fun, but compared to some of the things we see on I’m a Celeb, it actually looks quite tame.

Of course, the challenge is greeted with dramatic reactions and panic, and weatherman Owain Wyn Evans is extremely stressed out at the prospect, but he does it.

I’m sure the athletes who take daily ice baths were rolling their eyes at the histrionics.







Owain takes a dip
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Image:

BBC/Hungry Bear Media/Pete Dadds)

The next task is a forward-facing abseil down a cliff, teaching the importance of mind over matter. It’s stomach-churning but not particularly original – it’s something we’ve seen Bear Grylls do many times before.

I was a bit confused when I heard that Holly and Lee would be presenting the show together, but actually it’s a combination that really works.

You get the feeling that hippy Holly is practicing Wim’s techniques back at her hotel, while Lee is doing his best to keep a straight face – and that combination of open-mindedness and cynicism is probably exactly what makes this program work.







Holly Willoughby on the show
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Image:

BBC/Hungry Bear Media/Pete Dadds)

Notably there’s no voting on this series, and nobody is sent home after each task.

It’s a relief not to hear the words “terms and conditions” or “bill payer’s permission”, but it does mean the series lacks a bit of jeopardy.

Ultimately, Wim is trying to give us a self-help manual thinly disguised as an entertainment show but I’m not sure how ready Britain is to embrace his methods.

Although we are used to the cold.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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