Dangerous Adventures For Boys

Thursday 18th December at 9:00pm

The documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embark on exhilarating adventures concludes. In the final episode, Olympic gold medallist Darren Campbell and his nine-year-old son, Aaryn, attempt to become a crack motor- racing team. They will discover if they have got what it takes to follow in the footsteps of British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.

When Darren was his son’s age, he dreamt of becoming the fastest man on two feet. Now Aaryn dreams of becoming the fastest boy on four wheels. For Darren, the adventure is a chance to make up for lost time with his son. When Aaryn was young, Darren was often not around – he spent a lot of time training or competing around the world in various athletics meetings. Darren knows what it is like to have an absentee dad – his mum raised him and his sisters on her own – so he is keen to do things differently with Aaryn.

Father and son begin their training at a pro-kart racing track in Daventry, where they aim to compete in a high-speed race. In order to keep up with the other young racers, Aaryn must learn to drive at speeds of up to 60mph in a vehicle that travels just two inches off the ground. His dad, meanwhile, will train as a mechanic, learning to change tyres as quickly as possible – because a good pit stop will make the difference between success and failure for Aaryn.

The boys then travel to the historic Brooklands Race track to ride in a 1930s Bentley. This was the vehicle of choice for the ‘Bentley Boys’ – a group of gung-ho racers who took Britain to the very top of the motor-racing league. They won Le Mans, the 24-hour endurance race, no less than five times, and also claimed victory at many other landmark races around the world.

Upon their return to the pro-kart race track, Darren and Aaryn are put under intense pressure to prove they can make it at competition level. But Darren takes too long in the pits and his son keeps stalling the car. Unless Aaryn can complete a lap in under 60 seconds, he will not even qualify for the race – let alone snatch a place on the podium.

In search of inspiration, the lads turn to racing legend Sir Stirling Moss. Stirling warns them that it takes less than a second for speed and danger to cause death and destruction, and shows them photographs of the crash that almost ended his career. Aaryn, however, comes away even more determined to succeed.

Back on the tarmac, Aaryn finally makes a lap time of under 60 seconds and qualifies for the race, while Darren puts in some impressive pit times. They then take their place in a competition against seven much more experienced father-and-son racing teams. Their instructor, Gary Chapman, declares that if Aaryn manages to finish the ten laps in one piece, it will be a major achievement. But Darren and Aaryn set their sights much higher – for them, nothing less than a place on the podium will do.

Wednesday 10th December at 9:00pm

The documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embark on exhilarating adventures continues. In this edition, Lord Brockett and his son William learn the skills of a World War II spy and carry out a mission to steal sensitive documents from behind enemy lines.

In 1996, Lord Brockett –also known as Charlie Nall-Cain –fell spectacularly from grace when he was sent to prison for conspiracy to commit fraud. His family moved overseas, and he has only recently been reunited with his son William, now 17 years old. “From four to 17, which are crucial formative years, we haven’t been together at all,” says Charlie.

Now out of prison, Charlie has a unique opportunity to get to know his son. Based on a government information film used by British spies in WWII, the duo will follow a rigorous training regime before embarking on an undercover operation designed to represent a genuine wartime mission.

The pair begin their training at Beaulieu, one of many country estates where raw recruits of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) were put through their paces. Like all SOE trainees, the boys must first learn the art of self-defence, and jujitsu instructor Bruce Heffer has no intention of giving them an easy ride. “The basis of what we do is to inflict as much damage to the attacker as we can,” says Bruce. For William, who lacks his father’s army experience, this sort of combat situation is a new challenge.

Having learned how to fight, Charlie and William set about mastering the spy’s greatest weapon – the language of secrecy. With the help of Dave White, an ex-government communications officer, the new recruits learn Morse code and a further encoding system used by the SOE. Once again, this is familiar territory to Charlie, while it is a new language to William. But the 17-year-old is keen to learn about the many gadgets at the spy’s disposal, and excels at his next lesson –lock-picking.

Heading back outside, father and son are taught some skills for going undetected while moving through water. Using a technique called breath-hold diving, Charlie and William must retrieve a weight from the bottom of a lake. “God it’s cold!” says William. “I’m more used to the pool environment.” Next up, the intrepid duo must overcome their shared fear of heights as they are shown the ropes of climbing. “You’re kidding, right?” asks William when faced with a 50ft climbing wall. “Once it gets to about three storeys, I start panicking.” Scaling this wall will be a mental and physical challenge for both parties, but they must complete it if they are to proceed to their real mission. In the event, both Charlie and William manage to conquer their vertigo and make it to the top of the wall.

With their training complete, father and son are ready for their adventure –a covert mission on British soil. Only after passing this critical test would a real SOE operative be able to go undercover and spy against the enemy. Charlie and William’s task is to steal a set of blueprints from the heart of a weapons base. The location has been picked to resemble enemy-occupied rural France, and comes complete with mock German troops. They are dropped some miles away from the base and must cross an icy river before collecting their equipment from a parachute drop and gathering instructions using Morse code. It takes over an hour, but they are eventually ready to infiltrate the base.

After picking a lock on the perimeter fence, the two are faced with an 18ft wall to scale –this time in the
dark and without an instructor. They both make it over the wall, but there are bigger obstacles in store –including armed guards, a secret safe code and a risky dash to the escape plane. For Charlie and William, however, the greatest challenge may be to work together as a unit, having spent so many years apart. In this respect, Charlie is full of confidence.

“As a dad, I couldn’t be happier,” he says.

The documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embark on exhilarating adventures continues. In this edition, actor Todd Carty and his 11-year-old son James take control of a 109-ton passenger steam train. The duo will face fierce heat, back-breaking labour and intense pressure as they drive the old locomotive along one of the country’s most challenging routes.

Actor Todd Carty believes that his upbringing in the 60s and 70s was very different to that of his eldest son, James. “I used to get up at 9 o’clock in the morning in the summer holidays, play over at the park all day and be back at about 5 o’clock for my tea.” Eleven-year-old James spends most of his spare time playing computer games, but he is also passionate about trains. Now, James and his dad have a rare opportunity to learn the skills of the railwaymen of the golden age of steam.

James and Todd’s mission is to drive a 440 steam locomotive across the North York Moors –an 18-mile line from Grosmont to Pickering, built in the 1830s by George Stevenson. But their adventure begins at the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex, where they will learn all the skills necessary to be footplate men. A full apprenticeship in the 1900s could take up to 15 years, but these two new recruits have just one week. Helping them in their quest is instructor Clive Groom, who has spent all his life on the railways. The boys’ first task is to clean the engine. “In cleaning it, you’ll learn how it’s put together,” says Clive.

They begin well, but it is not long before elbow grease gives way to horseplay. With lots to learn in a short time, Clive moves the lads onto one of the most physical jobs in the yard –coal-cracking. Using a pickaxe, the pair must smash the coal into manageable chunks fit for use on board the train. Before James gets hold of the axe, Clive has some worrying words of advice: “Be careful that it doesn’t glance off and break your leg!” It is then time for father and son to learn how to get a fire going. After cleaning out the ashes and checking for cracks in the firebox, James and Todd get their first experience of the stifling heat of life on the footplate. “Did you think it was going to be this hard, James?” asks Todd. “No!” replies his son.

Before he assigns the lads their next task, Clive wants them to understand a little more about life as a railway apprentice. Showing them a series of old photographs, he explains that working on the railways was the third most dangerous job around, after mining and the merchant navy. In the 1870s, an average of 682 workers were killed on the railways every year. With this in mind, Todd and James are only too keen to learn the five safety checks that must be performed before each journey. This marks the end of the duo’s apprenticeship, and they head north for the next phase of their great adventure. “I feel really excited!” says James.

Upon arrival at Grosmont, the lads are greeted by their new mentor, John ‘Fletch’ Fletcher. “We’re going to step you up a grade,” says Fletch as he introduces Todd and James to the Repton, the 1930s passenger locomotive they will be driving. Under Fletch’s watchful eye, the pair are then given their first driving lesson. With a top speed of 90mph, the Repton takes a mile to stop, so braking is one of the most important skills to learn. In order to undertake the challenge, Fletch must be convinced that the father-and-son team are up to the task. “If we can pull this off, we’ll be two happy bunnies!” says odd.

With the training over, it is time for Todd and James to put everything they have learned into practice as they drive the Repton along a working route from Grosmont to Pickering, picking up paying passengers as they go. As well as mastering the brakes, stoking the fire and ensuring that the boiler does not blow up, father and son must also keep to a strict timetable. If they succeed, James will become the youngest person to have ever driven the entire North York Moors line.

Wednesday 26th November
9:00pm on five

The documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embarking on exhilarating adventures continues. In this edition, actor Bradley Walsh and his ten-year-old son, Barney, learn what it was like to serve in the SAS during World War Two. The pair undergo intensive training in survival techniques, vehicles and firearms before being pitched into the middle of a thrilling war-game exercise.

Bradley and Barney Walsh are about to learn first-hand what it took to be an elite soldier in the Second World War. Barney is excited by the prospect of teaming up with his dad in the challenge, although he admits, “I don’t really know much about World War Two.” For Bradley, it is an opportunity for some father-and-son bonding, and a way to learn more about the SAS. “The SAS are my heroes,” he affirms. “Not only are they determined, they’re brave – they’re tough men.”

Founded in 1941, the SAS conducted crucial missions behind enemy lines in WWII, destroying the German infrastructure and liaising with the French Resistance to co-ordinate Allied bombing raids. To get an idea of the service’s distinguished history, Bradley and Barney meet Lofty Wiseman, the youngest ever SAS recruit. Now in his late 60s, Lofty served for 26 years in places as far afield as the Middle East and Borneo. “Our job was reconnaissance, information and getting it back,” he says. “It was not always an aggressive role, you see.”

The Walshes begin their practical training by getting to grips with the essential SAS vehicle – a Willys Jeep. To make this rugged vehicle as fast as possible, the SAS often stripped it of its safety features – including the windscreen. Bradley practises in a modern version of the jeep by slithering down steep hills and roaring up tough inclines, before switching to a classic 60-year-old Willys.

Next up, the boys are given a crash course in survival techniques, learning to build a shelter, light a fire and camouflage themselves – although Barney’s comments are not always helpful. “Dad, you’ll never be good at camouflage because your big fat belly will stick out all the time,” he says. After learning how to ‘monkey run’ on their hands and knees, the pair practise their shooting skills on the firing range.

Bradley and Barney are almost ready for their assignment – but before they begin, they recall Lofty’s words of advice regarding the legendary motto, ‘Who Dares Wins’. “The biggest thing is your mind,” Lofty reminds them. “Never give in – that’s what it means.” Lofty’s parting gift to the new recruits is to teach them the wartime code signal used by the SAS, which was to whistle the tune of ‘Sur le Pont d’Avignon’.

Training over, the boys now face their greatest test – a war-game scenario in which they are parachuted’ behind enemy lines. Tramping through countryside reminiscent of Normandy, Bradley and Barney must locate their jeep, then find and capture the enemy HQ. But their mission almost comes to an abrupt end when they are spotted by German soldiers. “We can’t get captured here!” cries Bradley.
Having given the patrol the slip, father and son reach their French Resistance contact. The boys recover their jeep and are about to pick up a fuel canister when they are attacked by yet more Germans. After a narrow escape, Bradley decides they should camp for the night. But as the pair struggle to light a fire, their chances of surviving until morning seem slim. “Honestly, I think we’re in serious trouble here,” Bradley says. The boys start the next day keen to complete the mission, little realising that gunfire, explosions and car chases lie ahead of them. Will they make their SAS instructors proud and achieve their goal?

The six-part documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embarking on exhilarating adventures continues. In this edition, comedian Jim Moir –better known as Vic Reeves –teams up with his ten-year-old son to take charge of a 145ft tall ship. Using only technology available in the 18th century, the pair will sail the vessel into treacherous waters, facing harsh weather, 100ft masts and hard, physical labour along the way.

Based on the bestseller ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ by Con and Hal Iggulden, this series sends celebrity dads and their sons on thrilling escapades inspired by British heroes from the past.

Other famous faces taking part in the series are Todd Carty, Bradley Walsh and Lord Brocket.

In this week’s instalment, comic Jim Moir and his ten-year-old son, Louis, embark upon an adventure into uncharted waters as they set sail in a huge tall ship. Their destination is Eddystone Lighthouse off the Cornish coast, an area notorious for shipwrecks in the past –but to get there, they will have to climb 100ft masts, rig up to 22 sails in all weathers and master the art of navigation. The challenge will provide Jim and Louis with an opportunity to experience the extraordinary acts undertaken by sailors at a time when Britannia ruled the waves.

Before they can get on board the tall ship, Jim and Louis head to Chatham Docks in Kent to learn about
life as an 18th-century sailor. Historian and ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ author Con Iggulden tells
Louis that 300 years ago, boys as young as ten would be recruited into the Navy and sent out to sea
in often perilous conditions. As well as having to learn mathematics for navigation, from the on-board tutor, a young recruit would have to climb the masts barefoot. Louis reports that he has a fungal foot infection, but Con offers little comfort. “There were no antibiotics in those days,” he says. “If you
had a bad wound, they would just cut your leg off.”

History lesson over, the duo start the next phase of their training at Lowestoft naval college. In a special
wave tank designed to recreate storm conditions at sea, Louis and Jim will learn some essential survival tips. The first challenge is to take the plunge into the choppy waters. To show his son that there is nothing to worry about, Jim resolves to jump from the high board. However, having suffered from vertigo all his life, this is no mean feat for the comic.

The boys then travel to Dartmoor to learn the art of navigation. Army expert Bob gives the pair a crash course before sending them out on a quest to find their lunch in 368 square miles of wild moorland. Jim
and Louis set out in high spirits, but it is not long before the wet weather takes its toll. Using just a map, a set of coordinates and a compass, it takes the boys four hours to locate their reward. “Can we find our way back to civilisation now?” asks Louis.

Having proved their navigational prowess, father and son learn how to sail at Mylor Yacht Harbour in Cornwall. Though this boat is only a fraction of the size of the tall ship, the principles are the same.

They are then ready to face their real challenge. “I’m really nervous and excited,” says Louis. Upon arrival at the Earl of Pembroke, a 200-ton square-rigger, the new recruits are introduced to ship’s captain David and sailing master Paul, who is to be their mentor throughout the voyage. In order to survive the experience, Jim and his son will have to have their wits about them, since the deck of a tall ship is a hazardous place to be. “If you don’t feel you can do it, you need to tell us now,” says Paul.

After one final night spent on dry land, Jim and Louis climb on board and are immediately put to work as deck hands. It is then time for the pair to take the helm of the ship and plot a course to Eddystone Lighthouse. But as they go, there is a great deal to take in from the 14-man crew. “There’s so much to learn,”says Jim. “It’s mind-boggling!” Their strength and resolve is put to the test as they race against each other to clear the decks, but Jim’s biggest challenge is yet to come. Having struggled to jump from a high board into a swimming pool, will he manage to scale a 100ft mast on a moving ship?

Beginning this week on Five is a new six-part documentary series that sees famous dads and their sons embarking on exhilarating adventures. In the first episode, actor Martin Kemp and his 15- year-old son, Roman, learn to dogfight in World War II-era planes.

Based on the bestseller ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’ by Con and Hal Iggulden, this new series sends celebrity dads and their sons on thrilling escapades inspired by British heroes from the past. Other famous faces taking part in the series are Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves), Todd Carty, Bradley Walsh, Lord Brocket and Darren Campbell.

In the opening instalment, former ‘EastEnder’ Martin Kemp and his teenage son Roman are set the challenge of mastering Second World War fighter planes. They will then face each other in a dogfight reminiscent of the Battle of Britain. Martin is thrilled with the assignment and admits that he has a special interest in the war. “My mum and dad lived through it. They talk to me about the Blitz and how the houses around them were bombed,” he reflects. “For me it’s real, but for Ro it’s kind of unreal. It’s that generation too far.” Whilst Martin has his own worries about piloting a plane, he is especially concerned that Roman may not be able to overcome his fear of flying. “I think it’ll be a real challenge,” he adds.

Having only practised their aerial skills on a desktop flight simulator, father and son are now introduced to the vintage Tiger Moth biplane in which they will train. They also meet Geoffrey Wellum, a World War II veteran who was one of only two pilots in his squadron to survive. Geoffrey, who was 19 when he began flying, explains that the pilots had just 50 hours of training in the Tiger Moth before being sent into battle. “It was not an easy aeroplane to fly,” he warns.

After a brief tutorial in aerodynamics with instructor Bruce Hutton, Martin and Roman take turns to fly in the biplane. In the event, Martin is even more anxious than his son. However, both of them pass the test and quickly knuckle down to some serious training. After learning how to fly straight, they try out a few basic dogfighting moves to familiarise themselves with the G-forces.

As the training progresses, the boys reflect on what it must have been like to be one of the young recruits in World War II. In 1940, there were twice as many Nazi aircraft as RAF planes. In the rush to recruit pilots, many novices were killed in their first battle. Geoffrey reveals that most airmen simply did not have time to consider their own mortality. “One accepted it. And you were young enough and, in my case, not intelligent enough to realise how dangerous it was!” he recalls.

Martin and Roman now switch from the biplane to World War II training planes. This is the closest they can come to real fighter planes, as, unlike the single-seater Hurricane and Spitfire, the training aircraft have two seats. Their new instructors, Pete and Rob, teach them that the essential tactic in a dogfight is to get behind the enemy long enough to shoot them down. Martin and Ro get a taste of this by riding around on bicycles fitted with miniwings. The exercise may seem comical, but it was an actual technique used by the RAF.

With Pete and Rob at the controls, Martin and Ro then enjoy a full-blown dogfight simulation – leaving them exhilarated and inspired. “I tell you what, that was the best fun I’ve ever had!” says Martin. But the tension mounts as the pair prepare to pilot themselves. Of course, they will not risk their father-and-son bond by actually shooting each other down. Instead they must put their aerial prowess to the test by locking on to each other’s plane long enough to make a hypothetical ‘hit’. Having started this adventure together, how will Martin and Ro fare as rivals in the air?

Dangerous Adventures for Boys sees famous dads and their sons mount exciting expeditions in a Boy’s Own-style journey of adventure and self-discovery. The six, one hour programmes feature: Martin Kemp; Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves); Todd Carty; Darren Campbell; Bradley Walsh and Lord Brocket. Produced in conjunction with the best-selling book, the series traces the journeys of historical icons from Captain Scott to Nelson to reveal the unique relationship between boys and their fathers.

Five is to turn the best-selling book, The Dangerous Book for Boys, into a new factual series.

In Dangerous Adventures For Boys, a six-part series made by Mentorn, celebrity dads and their sons will go on exciting expeditions to experience iconic, Boy’s Own adventures.

Infused with the spirit of the best-selling book, the sons will follow in the footsteps of their dads’ childhood heroes such as: The Dambusters, Captain Scott, Nelson and The Black Knight.

Among the celebrities lined up to take part is Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves and his son Louis.

Author of Dangerous Book For Boys, Conn Iggulden, said: “I’m delighted to see fathers and sons celebrated on TV. I haven’t had so much fun with an idea since I blew my eyebrows off making fireworks.”

Five’s Commissioning Editor for Factual, Julia Harrington, said: “I’m really excited about this new series. It’s an inventive history and adventure hybrid that allows us to follow a personal journey and tell iconic history.”

Mentorn’s Executive Producer, Malcolm Clark, said: “It should be riveting TV. We’ve got the chance to explore the relationship between fathers and sons, one of those touchstone contemporary subjects – but in a really fun warm-hearted way.

“We’re delighted to have secured the television rights to such a bestseller and we’re looking forward to transforming it into a series for Five.”

Dangerous Adventures For Boys is made by Mentorn for Five.

Executive Producer is Malcolm Clark and Series Producer is Sallie Clement. The commissioning editor for Five is Julia Harrington.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1