Under Pressure

Wednesday, 16 February 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

After watching his first Superbowl on TV, 13-year-old Vernon discovered a lifelong passion for American Football.  He even played for his local team the Manchester Allstars, but when his career took an unexpected turn into television, dreams of making it big in the world of pads and helmets disappeared. 

22 years later Vernon wants to get the Allstars back together for one last game – playing against the UK’s top University American Football team.  

But in the hands of professional coaches, will his older mates cope with training, tackles and touchdowns as they approach their 40s?  

And as Vernon travels to the States to see what it really takes to be an NFL player, does he wish his life had turned out differently?  

From the highs of Vernon’s initial pitch over a pint and a dream fulfilled as the Allstars run out in pads for the first time in 20 years on Wembley’s hallowed turf, to the lows of reality biting as the middle aged team suffer bruised ribs and dislocated shoulders, the Allstars journey back to the pitch is filled with dramatic, emotionally-charged moments.  

Will Vernon and his band of beer-bellied brothers stand a chance of being victorious?  And will age, weight and experience triumph over the finely tuned athletes half their age?

Thursday, 10 February 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

This extreme wish fulfilment show will offer celebrities the chance to take on a uniquely personal mission to realise the ambition they have long dreamed of, but until now, were too afraid to carry out. 

New series Under Pressure will show Vernon Kay and Konnie Huq in a different light as they attempt to achieve a thrilling life long dream. Each show will give us riveting drama, personal insights and genuine jeopardy as this previously out of reach goal slowly becomes a reality. 

Konnie Huq may be a successful TV presenter hosting such shows as Blue Peter, Guinness World Records Smashed and more recently the Xtra Factor (ITV2). But how will she cope with potentially her biggest personal challenge yet – a chance to follow her secret desire to become a rapper. Her challenge is to learn the explosive art of spitting lyrics and become a real life MC. Over three weeks Konnie will live and breathe the life of an MC learning to unleash the rapper within with the ultimate aim of performing her own rap onstage in front of a crowd of 3000 rap fans at the Indigo2. 

It’s not going to be easy. Konnie will need confidence, physical prowess and nerves of steel. She will have to master flow, rhythm, rhyme, delivery and even writing lyrics. To teach Konnie the valuable skills she needs to succeed will be her straight talking main mentor, Mobo award-winning rapper Akala (Ms Dynamite’s brother). 

She’ll also receive help from a selection of other mentors such as Roll Deep’s Manga and J2K and up and coming female rapper Baby Blue. Along the way she’ll have to prove herself at rap karaoke, take part in MC battles, and freestyle live on BBC Radio 1Xtra. It’s a challenge that will expose Konnie’s own insecurities about performing in front of a crowd, and cause her to reflect on her own experiences growing up in West London. 

The show will capture Konnie’s dramatic journey with all the ups and downs of the training, pre-performance nerves and her rapping debut on stage in front of a 3,000 strong crowd. 

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