Rory & Paddy’s Great British Adventure

Comedians Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness conclude their road trip around the UK in search of strange but quintessentially British sporting events. This week, the pair head to the South and South West of England, where they participate in the Pedal Car Grand Prix and learn the art of Eton Fives. Rory eats stinging nettles and Paddy plays an unusual pub game before the pair reunite for a spot of Cornish Wrestling.

Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness are on a mission to explore Britain’s sporting heritage. “Behind the hedges, in pub gardens and out on the hills are sports and games which defy belief,” says Rory. Unearthing the insane competitive zeal that lurks in every small town and village, they bravely throw themselves into the fray, competing against the locals and each other in the grand spirit of sport.

Rory and Paddy make an unusual pair – one is Cambridge educated, the other is proud of his GCSE in woodwork. For the last four weeks, they have shared a VW camper van as they pootle about the highways and byways of the British countryside – a landscape dotted with thatched cottages, wheat fields and babbling brooks.

In the final episode of the series, the duo head to Ringwood, Hampshire to take part in the Pedal Car Grand Prix. Using just human power, Paddy and Rory race against each other and dozens of locals in this gruelling endurance event. And just when things are becoming especially chaotic, Paddy compounds the mayhem by pinching Rory’s car!

The next stop is Eton, home to Britain’s poshest public school, where the lads take each other on at Eton Fives. This curious game, invented at the school, is a bit like squash – but played with hands instead of racquets.

For this week’s individual event, Rory goes to Dorset and attempts to break the Stinging Nettle Eating world record. This particularly painful challenge turns Rory’s tongue black as he munches away on the leaves alongside the enthusiastic local devotees.

Paddy, meanwhile, travels to Canterbury to check out a bizarre pub sport called Bat and Trap. Thought to be related to cricket, the game is taken very seriously by the two local teams. Paddy rolls up his sleeves and enters the fray after being given a crash course in the rules by a friar.

Reunited in Cornwall, the pair get training for a bout of Cornish Wrestling. This ancient sport is said to be related to Far Eastern martial arts, and is more like karate than the theatrical wrestling of the West. Rory, however, prefers brain over brawn and succeeds in wriggling out of the actual fight, leaving Paddy – a black belt in karate – to confront a replacement. Unfortunately for Paddy, Rory’s stand-in is a huge, muscle-bound beefcake who recently came second in the regional championships.

The last challenge of the boys’ trip is a Pilot Gig race at Newquay. This team sport – one of the fast growing activities in the West Country – involves rowing a traditional six-oar gig boat. There is everything to play for as this final battle will decide whose name will be recorded in Paddy and Rory’s little black score book as the overall winner of the series.

Comedians Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness continue their road trip around the UK in search of strange but quintessentially British sporting events.

This week, the pair engage in a spot of toe wrestling in Derbyshire, before partaking in two very entertaining cycling challenges in Oxfordshire and Wales. Then it is time to turn the charm on for some wriggly Cheshire locals – all in the name of sport.

Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness are on a mission to explore Britain’s sporting heritage. “Behind the hedges, in pub gardens and out on the hills are sports and games which defy belief,” says Rory. Unearthing the insane competitive zeal that lurks in every small town and village, they bravely throw themselves into the fray, competing against the locals and each other in the grand spirit of sport.

Rory and Paddy make an unusual pair – one is Cambridge educated, the other is proud of his GCSE in woodwork. For the next four weeks, they will be sharing a VW camper van as they pootle about the highways and byways of the British countryside – a landscape dotted with thatched cottages, wheat fields and babbling brooks. Kicking off in Derbyshire, Rory and Paddy’s sporting tour covers a lot of ground this week. In a Peak District pub, preparations are being made for the annual World Toe Wrestling Championship.

After the comedians sign up for the event, they are introduced to two likely fellows who go by the names Toeminator and Nasty. Fortunately for the novice wrestlers, they will not have to fight the two heavies. Instead, these formidable men have actually been assigned to provide Rory and Paddy with some much-needed training before they step into the ring.

Next, Paddy crosses the border to take part in the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales. This mouthful of a title describes an event in which competitors must cycle through a quagmire that is teeming with water scorpions. Meanwhile, Rory is having a decidedly more sedate afternoon peddling his way through the streets of an Oxfordshire village on a vintage tricycle.

The comedians reconvene in Cheshire to try their hand at the unusual sport of worm charming. The goal is to conjure up as many of the slimy creatures as possible from a three-metre-square patch of earth in half an hour. The biggest haul ever charmed was 511 in 1980 – a difficult act to follow even for the most ambitious of comedic duos. Several unorthodox tactics are called into play in order to summon the burrowing annelids to the surface. But who will emerge as the victor?

Finally, it is across to the east coast of Britain for some explosive action on the Caravan Destruction Derby track in Skegness. Equipped with custom-built cars and towing their very own camper vans, Rory and Paddy succeed in destroying everything in their path.

Comedians Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness continue their road trip around the UK in search of strange but quintessentially British sporting events. This week, the pair head to the north of England and Scotland, where they try out axe throwing and caber tossing. They attempt to beat the pie-eating world record in Wigan; witness the Great Knaresborough Bed Race; and take on the world stone-skimming champion at Loch Eck.

Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness are on a mission to explore Britain’s sporting heritage. “Behind the hedges, in pub gardens and out on the hills are sports and games which defy belief,” says Rory. Unearthing the insane competitive zeal that lurks in every small town and village, they bravely throw themselves into the fray, competing against the locals and each other in the grand spirit of sport.

Rory and Paddy make an unusual pair – one is Cambridge educated, the other is proud of his GCSE in woodwork. For the next four weeks, they will be sharing a VW camper van as they pootle about the highways and byways of the British countryside – a landscape dotted with thatched cottages, wheat fields and babbling brooks.

Having sampled the delights of the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire and East Anglia, Rory and Paddy’s jaunty trundle now turns northwards. The long and winding road leads them to Scotland, where they take each other on at an axe-throwing tournament under the dubious guidance of a frightening group of leather-clad Scottish bikers.

After several close shaves with flying hatchets, Rory heads to Yorkshire for the prospect of a more relaxing pastime – the annual Knaresborough Bed Race. This peculiar event sees teams race against the clock pushing customised beds through the town centre, and through the river Nidd. Rory joins up with some dads from a local football squad and puts a wager on them beating their nearest rivals: a team of athletic young women.

Paddy’s solo event this week is Carnwath’s legendary Red Hose Race – acknowledged as the oldest road race in the world. As a homage to the contest’s 500-year-old history, Bolton’s mostathletic comic dons full period costume to take part. Bizarrely, instead of a trophy or a cup, the winner is awarded a pair of red socks – a tradition that dates back to a time when Scots used the race to choose a messenger to warn them of an imminent English invasion!

Reunited in Wigan, Rory and Paddy attempt to beat the world record for the fastest time to eat a meat pie. Wigan football fans are regularly called ‘pie-eaters’ – a term that originated in the 1920s when Wigan miners were among the first to break the General Strike and were forced to eat humble pie. The town may now have turned the insult on its head by holding Pie-Eating Championships, but how will Paddy, an ardent supporter of Bolton, handle being behind enemy lines?

On the shores of Scotland’s picturesque Loch Eck, the lads meet Dougie Isaacs – the world stone-skimming record holder. After a few tips from the master, Rory and Paddy test their skills, taking each other on in another battle for vital points in the results book.

Elsewhere this week, Rory and Paddy discover how to play dirty at the World Swamp Soccer championships, where they recruit an all-star team and challenge the reigning champions to a match in a pitch of disgusting sludge. The episode concludes amid a screeching chorus of bagpipes as the intrepid comics bravely attempt the classic Highlands sport of caber tossing.

This new four-part series follows comedians Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness as they embark upon an unusual road trip around the UK.

Travelling the length and breadth of the country in a camper van, the pair will take part in a range of strange but quintessentially British sporting events. The opening instalment sees them participate in cheese rolling, river football, tiddlywinks and shin kicking.

Rory McGrath and Paddy McGuinness are on a mission to explore Britain’s sporting heritage by probing the hidden life of its towns and villages. “Behind the hedges, in pub gardens and out on the hills are sports and games which defy belief,” says Rory. These quirky events are far removed from the modern sporting industry of sponsorship deals, fitness regimes and television coverage.

Rory and Paddy make an unusual pair – one is Cambridge educated, the other is proud of his GCSE in woodwork. For the next four weeks, they will be sharing a VW camper van as they pootle about the highways and byways of the British countryside – a landscape dotted with thatched cottages, wheat fields and babbling brooks. The boys’ first stop is Gloucestershire, where they witness what Paddy describes as the “granddaddy of weird sports” – cheese rolling.

Every year, enthusiasts run down an impossibly steep hill, tumbling head over heels and risking life and limb in a bid to catch a block of cheese. Rory and Paddy are supposed to take part in the event but their enthusiasm dampens when they catch sight of the massive hill before them. “In the last two years we’ve had 42 casualties,” a paramedic informs them cheerfully.

As the heavens open and the hill turns into a vast mud slide, Rory and Paddy watch one of the reigning champions retain his crown in a perilous descent that sees him temporarily knocked unconscious. “On the bright side, he has won 8Ibs of double Gloucester cheese,” says Rory. Before long, it is the comedians’ turn to throw themselves after the cheese, although their run becomes more of a slide. Neither of them comes close to winning, but as Paddy finishes before Rory, he chalks it up as a victory in the little black book that will keep score between the pair.

As well as competing against each other, Rory and Paddy also take part in events on their own. Paddy’s individual event this week is a game of football in the pretty Cotswold town of Bourtonon- the-Water. However, this is football with a difference, as the two teams play in the local river. While Paddy learns to play a serious game in a silly way, Rory is learning that a silly game can be taken most seriously. He is in Cambridge to get a crash course in tiddlywinks from the current national champion, Dr Stewart Sage. Unfortunately, this fiddly game of plastic chips is harder than it looks, and Rory and his mentor sink to a 6-1 defeat in a doubles game against a pair of tiddlywinks masters.

The boys reunite once more in the Cotswolds – home to a mind-boggling array of weird pastimes – to participate in what Paddy dubs “perhaps Britain’s most brutal sport”. Every year, the exceedingly picturesque town of Chipping Camden holds the Cotswold Olympics, the centrepiece of which is the sport of shin kicking. “It’s quite straightforward, actually,” explains one local. “You just have to get your opponent down on the ground by kicking his shins.” Equipped with heavy boots and straw stuffed down their trousers for protection, Rory and Paddy venture bravely into the fray.

Also this week, the lads travel to East Anglia to learn the art of ‘dwile flonking’, in which two teams fling beer-soaked rags at each other. Elsewhere, they participate in snail racing in Norfolk and compete in the gruelling woolsack race in the north Costwold town of Tetbury.

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