BBC One has commissioned Twofour to produce a documentary following professional racing driver and double leg amputee Billy Monger’s Big Red Nose Day Challenge. The journey will see him attempting to walk, cycle and kayak 140 miles to raise money for Comic Relief.Money raised this year from Red Nose Day will help tackle issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health stigma, and support those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The programme will be filmed by a reduced crew that will be adhering to strict Covid-19 guidelines throughout the challenge.
Later this month, Billy, who lost both of his legs in a racing accident three years ago, will tackle huge distances on foot, take to freezing open waters by kayak, and endure day long stretches on a bike, all while battling the unpredictable British weather to cover 140 miles in just a few days, with Billy finishing at the world famous race circuit, Brands Hatch, in Kent.
Billy said: “It still feels so surreal that I’m doing this for Red Nose Day – that I’m doing 140 miles, in disciplines that I haven’t got any experience in at all. I haven’t cycled since my accident, three years ago and I’ve never kayaked in my life, so I’m going to have to get the hang of the gear pretty quickly, especially to cover the distances that we’re doing. So, it’s nerve wracking but it’s exciting.
“I never thought I’d be doing a Red Nose Day challenge of my own. I remember watching people like David Walliams and John Bishop when I was younger and never ever would I have imagined myself in their shoes. But the reason I said yes is because I really hope we can raise lots of money for people that need support. It’s such a difficult time right now for everyone and I’m really proud to be able to do something to help.”
Kate Phillips, Acting Controller, BBC One, said: ‘We can’t thank brilliant Billy enough for taking on this daunting challenge for Comic Relief. It really is a triathlon like no other and we know his heroic efforts will help so many during such difficult times.”
David Brindley, Chief Creative Officer, Twofour, said: “It’s a real privilege to be making this film with Comic Relief. Billy is the perfect person to be taking on such a gruelling challenge. Given he’d never got on a bike since his accident, nor ever kayaked in his life, his approach to training has been nothing short of phenomenal. It marks another hugely ambitious project for us to pull off during lockdown, but a very talented team is working flat out and we can’t wait to get on the road with Billy and bring his remarkable journey to BBC One.”
Billy’s Big Red Nose Day Challenge air date is to be confirmed. The programme is commissioned by Kate Phillips, Acting Controller, BBC One and Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The Commissioning Editor is Michael Jochnowitz and the Executive Producers for Twofour are David Brindley and Nic Patten. Twofour is part of ITV Studios.
This timely documentary follows a number of series and specials produced by Twofour during the pandemic, including One World: Together at Home for BBC One, produced in collaboration with Global Citizen and the WHO, an ambitious and extraordinary tribute to key workers, produced during lockdown and reached over 6 million; a three part special for ITV2, bringing Virgin Media’s much-loved V Festival to the nation, virtually; as well as shows such as award-winning Our School from CBBC.