Monday, January 30, 2012

Q&A with Johnny Mercyside: Part 8

Hey there, welcome to my newest Q&A session. Before I get to that I want to plug once again the fact that I was on TV last week, you can see my appearance in the top right of this page if you haven't already. Also at the top right of this page is a link to my epic 31,000 word article on my amazing journey to appearing on TV to do Winter Wipeout. If you didn't know that already and are interested, definitely check it out. My article has been well received universally, although people have said it was too long and they're not wrong!

In other news, I've hit a new site record this month, it's possible I could hit 6000 pageviews by the end of the month tomorrow, which will be a first. Thank you all so much for all the support you give me, I love doing this and the more support I get the more likely it is I could actually do this as a job one day. We can all dream.

Back to the actual topic at hand, Q&A Part 8. I do these every month and as always, these questions are all taken off my Formspring account, which you can find here. These were answered a while ago, and I've changed the answers if the situation has changed since then. Enjoy!

Q: What is your favorite cartoon character?
A: Difficult, I'd probably go with Captain Caveman, or Dick Dastardly. Both very old school, retro cartoon characters.

Q: How much TV do you usually watch in a day?
A: Not that much anymore, if video games count then maybe three or four hours. If we're talking watching television then it's extremely rare now. I spend more time on the computer than watching TV.

Q: Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not?
A: I don't believe in ghosts, it's difficult to explain why, I just think very scientifically, and don't think it has a place in science. I know that people say "science can't explain everything" but I disagree, I just think we don't understand certain things yet.

Q: If you could live in any house you wanted to, what would it look like?
A: Difficult question, the possibilities are endless! I've always wanted a big gaming room, and a pool. I've wanted to collect fantasy swords too so probably a room for that. There's probably more but I can't think of them at the moment.

Q: What's more important - who you know or what you know?
A: It depends, if it's work related, who you know. Anything else I'd say what you know.

Q: If you had a day to volunteer, where would you volunteer?
A: I'd volunteer as creative writer for WWE, and hope that my day volunteering got me a permanent job there with my "amazing" ideas.

Q: What things do you do to stay healthy?
A: I don't try that hard, it's not as important to me as it is to other people. I try to eat fruit every day.

Q: Best wrestling match whose story wasn't told inside the ring?
A: The CM Punk/John Cena storyline, otherwise known as "The Summer of Punk" was a great one recently. I'm also really enjoying Daniel Bryan's slow heel turn, which is a better story out of the ring than in it.

Q: When you're lost, are you more likely to ask for directions or find your way without help?
A: It depends on the scenario, I usually try to find a place on my own but if I'm really stuck, I'm not afraid to ask.

Q: Olof Mellberg is what would result if Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Chuck Norris had a love child. Agree?
A: Odd question but definitely. Although the image of Olof Mellberg even though he hasn't been in the Premier League for a few years now still scares me.

Q: Would you rather watch a movie in the theatre or at home?
A: At home as I can get comfortable easily, but watching a movie in the cinema is a great experience as well.

Q: What are you most excited about today?
A: I'm about to put on the Royal Rumble, my favourite PPV of the year. Excited!

Q: What's your favorite kind of snack to eat?
A: Chocolate.

Q: What do you think the world will be like in 50 years?
A: I think the world won't change much in terms of advancements in technology in 50 years time, as time moves on less impact is happening. Same applies to science. England probably still not winning the World Cup is still a high possibility.

Q: What movie are you most looking forward to seeing?
A: The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, although I might not be able to afford to see it.

Q: What's your favorite clothing brand?
A: Primark? I really, REALLY don't care for brands of clothing.

Q: What's the biggest risk you've ever taken? Are you glad you took it or do you regret it?
A: Meeting my wife. I travelled as a sixteen year old over 300 miles down the country on the train, on a nine hour ride. And fuck yes it was worth it.

Q: What qualities do you look for when you're dating someone?
A: Honesty and to be able to tolerate me and my extremely set ways. I will do the same in return.

Q: What's the first thing you check when you turn on your computer?
A: Like most people, Facebook

Q: What would you do if you won the lottery?
A: So many things. Most importantly, make every person I love unconditionally financially secure and have something that they love.

And that's my latest Formspring update. Once again if you want to follow me on Formspring you can do so here. I'll be back on Wednesday for my 1993 in Music review. Have a good night.

For the latest updates on my work, 'like' me on Facebook here!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

WWE World Champion Knockout Game - The Winner

For the past 6 weeks I've been asking you to choose the best world champions that ever were in the WWE. It came to the final between Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker.

And your winner is...


The Undertaker won 13 votes to 10. It was a very close competition and both are deserving of the title of best WWE World Champion of all time. I haven't got much else to say other than thank you for all your votes and this little time waster of a game. Here's a video celebrating the career of The Undertaker!

For the latest updates on my work, 'like' me on Facebook here!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Live Thoughts: Liverpool vs Manchester United (FA Cup)

I covered this match live. Here are my unedited thoughts on the match between Liverpool and Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Hey there. It's been a while since I covered a match on here, but it's been a very busy time personally. If you didn't know by now I was on BBC1 last week, making a fool of myself on Winter Wipeout. Click here for more details, and on the top right of this page for my clip.

Back to the football! As I didn't cover it live, I just want to say how chuffed I am with the fact that Liverpool have reached their first final in five years! It's been too long! I just hope it doesn't end in heartbreak like it did five years ago, that was one of the most horrible moments as a fan for me. The atmosphere in our house of Liverpool fans was dreadful. But we're huge favourites against Cardiff and let's hope we can put a performance a team like Liverpool are expected to put on at our first venture to Wembley in 16 years!

But today? Another important cup match against another Manchester side, this time the Red Devils. It'd be some statement if we win today, taking on and beating both the top two sides in the Premier League this season. Sure we're not topping the league this year, but it's some statement, and hopefully a preview of what's to come at this club. It's early days but if we actually go all the way in the FA Cup as well as the Carling Cup, that's some progress. We can all hope and we'll find out today how possible that is!

Here are the line-ups: 

Liverpool: Reina; Kelly, Skrtel, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique; Maxi, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing; Carroll. Subs: Doni, Johnson, Coates, Kuyt, Adam, Shelvey, Bellamy.

Bellamy on the bench? Are you serious bro? I suppose he needed a rest. Carroll needs to be on form today at this rate. Gerrard needs to support Carroll as much as possible to get the most out of him. I'm not sure I like that decision from King Kenny but as always I trust his judgement. At least Bellamy can come on later.

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Park, Welbeck. Subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Berbatov, Chicharito, Fabio, M.Keane, Pogba.

Similarly, United haven't really put on their best strikers. Berbatov and Hernandez on the bench though, and can cause problems later on. It's a very interesting line up from both sides, almost cautious on both sides. We'll see what happens!

3' - Evra getting booed immensely by the Anfield faithful as expected! 

4' - Maxi takes a lovely shot and it tested de Gea! Corner.The corner goes over the entire box and for a goal kick.

7' - A volley from Giggs is saved comfortably by Reina. Crossed in by Evra. 

8' - Henderson whips in a dangerous cross and it bounced awkwardly for Gerrard who didn't connect well. It was a difficult ball to deal with, if he hit that clean it would have been straight in the net. 

10' - A five man defence is also another relatively negative looking decision by Kenny. That being said we're not defensive at the moment. 

13' - Carragher is actually playing as a defensive midfielder, not a CB. Happy birthday to the Liverpool legend, 34 today. 

16' - VALENCIA! Hits the post! Reina was beat, luckily for us it hit the post! Relief! 

19' - The game is level at the moment. Both sides having good chances. 

20' - GOAL! AGGER! David de Gea had no chance with that, a huge clutter of Liverpool and United players hover for the header and Agger climbed highest!

22' - De Gea is possibly injured apparently. 

23' - Gerrard takes a shot and it's over the bar. A lovely bit of movement from Carroll and Gerrard then, combining nicely. 

25' - Excellent atmosphere today, really giving Evra some stick. Even the Evra stick aside, we're really vocal and it seems to be affecting United which is good. 

27' - Kelly clears the ball nicely against Giggs, he was hurt then but has got up like a true pro. He gets applause for his nitty gritty work. 

30' - Good match so far as I said earlier. It's quite open and hopefully we'll get a second goal if it continues this way. But United are still a threat, but we're defending quite well so far. 

33' - Not much to report at the moment, it's quite open still, but neither side are looking threatening at present. 

36' - Luis Suarez chant is started by the Kop. Excellent stuff. 

37' - Wow, possession is 38%/62% in United's favour. It doesn't look that way, we're holding our own well.

38' - GOAL! Park Ji-Sung scores. Valencia gets away from Enrique, passes to Rafael who whips the ball sharply into Ji-Sung and it's a low drive to the bottom right. Enrique should have done better there, a rare error from the Spaniard. 

41' - So far Valencia has got the better of Enrique in this match. It's a bit of a concern, Enrique has dealt with the right wingers really well this season consistently, but not today. 

44' - It just feels like we're just holding in for half time now. 

45' - One minute of added time.

45+1' - Half time. 

Well this half was a gave of two halves, the first halve we looked really good, and pinned them back a few times. We got the goal we deserved, a great header from Agger. After that United crept towards us and dominated possession, they played a good passing game and eventually got the goal to equalize. It can go either way this match, or for a draw of course. I would rather us avoid the draw personally.

48' - Nothing much is happening at the moment, it's in the balance at present, we need to change this if we want a chance of winning. 

50' - Giggs was at the centre of a strong chance for United but then we cleared the ball and made our own attack! Neither side scored though. 

53' - Bellamy is warming up, hopefully he'll be on soon, I do think we need him at the moment. 

55' - The Evra boo boys are still going strong. I'm just trying to concentrate on the football now, what's past is passed.

56' - Liverpool players and fans call for Handball against Smalling but that would have been harsh. Smalling fell on the ball and his hand touched it as he fell, how was he supposed to know where it was? It's not a penalty. 

57' - Wellbeck completely loses Martin Kelly and is through on goal! He clips the ball round Reina and thankfully Skrtel is there to clear it!

60' - The game is definitely up for grabs, both sides look dangerous on the attack. United have the possession but we're looking good when we have the ball. It can go either way. 

62' - Double Liverpool Substitution: Jamie Carragher and Maxi come off and Dirk Kuyt and Charlie Adam. I approve of these subs personally. Maxi hasn't looked that good in honesty, Kuyt can fill that gap. Charlie Adam can link further up the pitch than Carra did. All in all two positive thinking subs.

63' - De Gea has been really poor when it comes to high balls in this match. What looked like an easy claim, de Gea fumbles it for a corner. It's something we should be taking advantage of. 

64' - Rafael gets a yellow card, Downing was through down the left and Rafael blocks him off deliberately. Free kick in a relatively dangerous area. 

66' - Gerrard takes the free kick and it's a good one, but a very good save by de Gea in the end. 

66' - Michael Carrick takes a low shot and it almost crept in! Just wide. 

69' - We're playing Wolves on Tuesday but I won't be covering that match. I have a lot of site work to do and I've covered a lot of games this season already. Next season I'll be covering certain games rather than 'as many as possible', which has been the case this season.

71' - Liverpool Substitution: Steven Gerrard comes off and Bellamy comes on in his place. Stevie looks a bit gutted as he gives Reina the captains armband, but we need another striker on the pitch if we want to win today. 

74' - This game seems destined for a draw. I have to be honest. 

75' - Manchester United Substitution: Paul Scholes comes off for Javier Hernandez. Another forward thinking sub, both sides are going for it, but it just feels like it's going for a draw.

78' - A dangerous free kick for United leads to a few half chances but no goal. 

80' - A strong few minutes of pressure from Liverpool at the moment, United defending well. 

83' - If either side are to win this it's going to be because of a mistake or a quality goal. Otherwise be prepared for two visits to Old Trafford soon. 

87' - GOAL! KUYT! Kuyt runs to the Kop in celebration! And it was Evra was in error! A Reina goal kick is headed on by Carroll and Kuyt reacts quickest and shots low to the left! 2-1! 

88' - CARROLL! It hit the crossbar! Kuyt on the volley and it's wide! Brilliant stuff from Liverpool!

89' - Manchester United Substitution: Ryan Giggs come off and Dimitar Berbatov takes his place. Gung-ho for United now.

90' -  Three minutes of added time.

90+3' - Full time! 

We beat both Manchester sides in the same week! Brilliant stuff! In the 5th round of the FA Cup, the Carling Cup final, things are great at the moment at Anfield! Surely this FA Cup win means we can have the confidence to go all the way? Let's hope so! Anfield is buzzing, I am buzzing and if you're a Liverpool fan you should be buzzing too! An assured performance today from the Reds, United had the possession but what we did with ours was enough to win today. We had the passion and the maturity to make the most of what we had and it was enough!

That's it from me today, enjoy the rest of your day!

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Friday, January 27, 2012

My Winter Wipeout Experience - Part 6

Note: This is the final part. I posted one part a day. The total word count exceeds 31,000 words so it's a long read. If you missed part 1 you can read it by clicking here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here and part 5 here!

Not long after Amy was ready to come out. If our view for Winter Blunderland was bad our view for the Winter Wipeout Zone was even worse. Our best view was of the Icy Stairs. We saw virtually nothing of the Impossible Snowflakes, we saw the back of the machine running but apart from once in a while someone’s head poking above the top we couldn’t see how bad or well they were doing.

The Winter Wipeout Zone. So much cooler in person than on camera.
Amy got shot out of something. I didn’t know what it was while we were in Argentina, but when I started to watch the series of Winter Wipeout I was so annoyed. Why? Because it was “The Human Fling”! The exact same machine that they used on 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow! The awesome exit that inspired me to apply in the first place! To think that if I actually had a chance to get to the finale of Winter Wipeout and go in THAT, I would have been over the moon! So Amy got ‘flinged’ to the water, and she did her stuff. She gave a great effort on the course but fell off the Icy Stairs, Fright-cicles and then the Impossible Snowflakes. But she finished in an excellent 4:34, only five seconds slower than the winner the week before. Amy had conceded defeat though, she felt like she had no chance of winning. I didn’t want to say anything as anything can happen in Total Wipeout, but I couldn’t imagine John and Aarron slipping up enough to get slower times. But I still hoped on her behalf, that she could win.

Amy getting shot out of "The Human Fling"! The same thing that inspired me to apply on Wipeout in the first place!
Next up was Aarron who did a great job. Aarron was pretty much flawless apart from his fall off the Icy Stairs. Those Icy Stairs look absolutely terrifying; I hated the log jam on the qualifier which is a similar machine but those stairs look so much worse. The worst thing about those stairs is the going down, there’s a decent amount of space between the stairs going down and with them jolting it looked so hard, which is ironic, as stairs are usually easier to go down than up on in general. But the Icy Stairs aside Aarron passed the course in an excellent 2:27, over two minutes faster than Amy. He set an amazing time, a time that would have won three of the previous five episodes. Amy unfortunately knew that her luck had run out. Not that I saw it as luck but as a mixture of hard work and willpower. I was so proud of her; she was so awesome on our show and one of my favourite stories to tell in this experience. I loved Amy to bits and the best thing was, she got to do it again in the Champion of Champions edition!

Aarron's brilliant time made it as hard as possible for John to win.
Lastly was John the Policeman, or Woody as I call him. He was definitely the favourite, no disrespect to Aarron, but John was top of the qualifier and top of the Ski Lift. Yes he struggled with Winter Blunderland, which was Aarron’s round, but overall John just seemed like the better performer. Once again I’d like to emphasise we didn’t see what the finalists were being shot out of, but we did see John’s amazing dive. It was absolutely brilliant, although not the best of the series thus far, that honour in my opinion goes to Helen in the first episode (who I’ve got to know a little and seems very nice). But it was still a better dive than I could ever do, and it was fantastic. John, like his Qualifier and Ski Lift, was flawless in the start. He beat the Icy Stairs, something that Aarron struggled with. But John unfortunately got hit by one of the Ice Picks. We couldn’t believe it! With Aarron falling off the Icy Stairs and John falling off the Ice Picks, it was neck and neck. John had to complete the rest of the course flawlessly to win, and he passed the Fright-cicles and then the Impossible Snowflakes with little struggle and pressed the button!

We had no idea who won the show when John finished. It was an amazing final and it was brilliant to see it live.
It was so close. The 17 of us looked at each other in disbelief. We actually, genuinely, didn’t know who won. It was so exciting and so close. It was the closest final of the series so far. We all discussed who we thought won and I think we all were split between Aarron and John. I thought John won but who knew? Eventually they gave the Winter Wipeout trophy to Amanda and she had John and Aarron next to each other. We weren’t informed of the winner beforehand. When the trophy was given to John, we all jumped up and ran towards him in celebration. We were all so happy for him, and we gave Aarron his commiserations as well. As I said Aarron would have won three out of the five previous episodes. And Aarron wanted to get a ring to propose to his girlfriend with the money. I don’t know if he has or not since, but for him to get so close yet so far, was a shame. It’s a shame we all don’t win £10, 000 eh?

Waiting anxiously for the winner to be announced...
I want to divert your attention to something. Something that I really don’t agree with. Probably the only thing Endemol don’t do that I think is truly unfair. I’m exposing them right here and now! The Winter Wipeout trophy? It’s the same one each show! The winner’s don’t get to keep the trophy, and take it home, they have to hand it back! It’s phony! They just pose with it and hand it back and I really don’t think that’s right. Surely it doesn’t cost much to make one for each show? It doesn’t have to be pure silver or gold, it can be steel or another cheap metal can’t it? Awful.

But John Woodfield, John the Policeman, Woody, Robocop or Copper John, whatever we called him, he was a true winner. He was just better than us, on the course. He won three out of four rounds, that’s all the proof you need. And he’s such a nice guy, he wasn’t bragging and it didn’t go to his head. He was the same after he won the show as he was before we started. I was proud I was put on this show to meet him and I’m proud to call him a friend. But I can say that about all the contestants. There was no jealousy, virtually no animosity, but there was sportsmanship in abundance. We all went out to Argentina together as 20 random strangers but we all came home together as friends. We’re planning a reunion as we speak; I hope it’s the first of many. That’s not the end of my tale though!

John won! It's a shame he doesn't get to keep the trophy though, in each episode it's the same one! Blasphemous!
We went back to the tent and the 17 ‘losers’ got there first. About five minutes later the three finalists came in, back in their clothes and out of their wetsuits. We all gave the three of them a round of applause. They were excellent and put on a stellar performance for us and for everyone across the UK. It’s a shame the two runner ups don’t get a cash prize for themselves. I think a £1000 and a £2500 cash prize for runner ups would be good. But then again just to get to go to Argentina with all expenses paid, hotel paid and with spending money, it’s understandable why the top 3 don’t all get prizes. So anyway, we then all took photos of the three finalists posing together. They were so awesome yet humble about the experience. They didn’t really know how to react, being treated like stars. But they were. They were the stars of the show.

The three finalists. They were absolutely incredible. John, Aarron and Amy.
After that all the researchers and producers came in. They rallied us all together and Andy basically thanked us all for coming to Argentina and take part on the course. He said that we were all the stars of the show and that we were one of the best groups they have ever had. I don’t know how sincere he was, I mean, they have had so many groups, but it was still really nice for him to say that. Emma, the series producer, then handed out requests to the three winners, inviting them to go and take part in the Champion of Champions edition which was filmed 11 days later, and handed the three of them a bottle of bubbly each. They thanked us again but we told them we wanted a picture of them all together. They all stood there and posed, and seemed happy that we were giving them credit they more than deserved. Because in honesty, we’re not the stars of the show, they are. They take 20 random Brits over and over again to Argentina, expenses paid, and make us look like wacky stars, and edit our performances on the course to horrendously brilliant music and silly sound effects. I really wanted to thank them in my interviews but I knew my efforts would be in vain if I did. They’d just edit those parts of the interview out because they’re too modest. They treat us, as well as Amanda and Richard like stars but it’s not true. They are the true stars and work harder than anyone else to put on a good show. We just run the course, they spend hours editing it and planning ideas to make it as silly and funny as possible.

Frankie, Millie, Andy, Maisie and Emma, the researchers and producers. Amazing people.
That was the last time I saw most of the researchers. We had to go back on the bus to the hotel. I said my goodbyes to Nick, Millie, Andy, Emma and Maisie. They were really awesome people. I gave Maisie a bit of stick about being a Bluenose Everton supporter again but then we spoke about Liverpool and missing the city. I haven’t lived in Liverpool before but I am a Scouser, I lived and grew up on Merseyside and Chester before moving to Wales at the age of five, developing a Welsh accent. I’ve always wanted to move to Liverpool though and Maisie was telling me she can’t wait to see her family there again after finishing Wipeout. We said our genuine goodbyes and that was it, we were off back to the hotel. The only researcher we would see then on was Frankie, whose job was to get us back to London safely.

Frankie looked after us form the beginning. She was awesome.
We got back to the hotel and most of us had a small and quiet celebration. All three finalists popped their champagne bottles I believe and we toasted them. I had a couple of beers that night but nothing too bad. Most of us were sensible. I say most of us because, as I said earlier in this article, Sharney and Stephanie had other ideas! Not that I’m getting into them! But most of us just relaxed in the restaurant area. Eventually most of us started to leave and get sleep.

I didn’t want to leave. I was knackered, we started the day early at around 6am, and it was around 11pm by then. But I really didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want it to end. I had so much fun and met 19 amazing new people. I stayed awake for as long as I possibly could. It was pure stubbornness that kept me from going earlier. But eventually, I had to say my goodbyes and go to sleep. At least I was going to see them in the morning and on the way home.

The next morning we had to leave. I can’t remember what the timing was on that my guess is 10am, but it was much later than the early starts for the two previous days that’s for sure. This was day five of six. Days five and six were spent travelling back home. I actually got on Facebook quickly that day. The keyboards in Argentina are different and as my password has special keys in it, I couldn’t find those keys on the pad. I eventually found a way round it, by resetting my password and then activating it through my Yahoo! email account. I sent a quick message to my wife telling her that my phone doesn’t work in Argentina, that I was okay and that I’ll see her the next day. I hadn’t communicated with my wife all my time there as my phone just wouldn’t work. We all eventually perched into the bus to take us to the airport. Frankie counted us up (something she always did) and two people were missing. Who were they? Sharn and Steph of course! I told you they went on a pretty eventful night out the night before and were totally out for the count. They eventually both arrived and we gave them a massive sarcastic round of applause. They told us about their epic night out that lasted until around 7am. As I said, I’m not getting into any details. After that we were off!

Whiskey in the John, John II and John the Policeman - the three John's!
Lawrence had his travel upgraded because of his broken leg. He now had a wheelchair bless him, as well as a scan showing his actual double break. Everyone else including Frankie, were in the normal class. At the airport we all just relaxed, ordered food and took some final pictures. It was horrible really, it seemed like no one wanted it to end, but it had to. The flight back to Madrid was pretty uneventful. I was sitting on my own between two Argentinian ladies so I didn’t really have much to do, or anyone to speak to. It was a very long flight, and the fact that I was in a middle seat on my own made it for a very boring experience. I couldn’t sleep very well and because we left in the afternoon my body clock wasn’t ready for sleep yet it was the right course of action, as we were to land in Madrid at around 6am. It was the most unpleasant flight of the lot in honesty because I just couldn’t settle.

Mark with his sprained hand. Such a top bloke.
We eventually landed in Madrid the next morning, day six of six, and we all looked so tired. We were though; it was the bad timing on the plane and the fact that it was such a long flight in the first place. We got to Madrid and in turned out that our flight to Heathrow was cancelled. We all couldn’t believe it, as it looked like there wasn’t another flight for another few hours. But under some miracle (or not) they had another flight going to Heathrow at exactly the same time. It didn’t make any sense but it seemed inevitable that they screwed up somewhere and this was their making up of that fact. So in the end we were sorted. We still had a few hours to kill before our final flight arrived. Because it was so early there wasn’t any food places open, although there were a few vending machines if you had Euros. We all just relaxed, took some final pictures before boarding on the final plane. On the final plane I sat on my own again but it was on the end of a row and was next to Amy and Ben, and Sarah and Chris. That flight for some reason, I got a little more sleep on it than on the previous plane, despite it being around 2 or 3 hours in comparison to the 13 of the other flight. I think it was pure fatigue kicking in by that point.

20 random strangers met up and became great friends in 6 days. I love these people!
We arrived in Heathrow and after going through customs that was pretty much it. We all had to go our separate ways and it was the last time I saw the amazing 19 people I spent 6 incredible days with. We all hugged and wished each other the best. It was really emotional. I didn’t cry or anything and I don’t think anyone else did either but it was horrible. We also had to say goodbye to Frankie, who was awesome from start to finish as well. As a bunch of random 20 strangers I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people. I couldn’t have had such a blast with anyone else, or at least it felt that way. Kudos have to go to Endemol and more accurately, the researchers who chose the 20 of us to get together and attempt the course and have this amazing journey together. I really didn’t want to say goodbye, but I’m hopeful that it’s not goodbye forever. We’re hopefully reuniting at the end of February and I look forward to that. I miss my Wipeout buddies terribly!

After that we all went our separate way homes. I went to London Euston and got myself a nice Super Bacon and Double Cheeseburger Meal at Burger King. It was glorious. I was really full at that point naturally, and my wife called me. I had spoken to her briefly in Madrid but it was really early there, around 7am if I remember in UK time, a time that my wife is not good at in terms of being awake. It was about 12pm I believe at that point and she couldn’t wait for me to get home. The journey home was nice and quick. I then got home from the station to open arms from my wife and daughter. That was the end of my official Winter Wipeout Experience, although there are other things I can say.

We made a private Facebook group for all the contestants to mingle in. All 20 contestants joined the group, and some people actually were inactive on Facebook, but then reactivated just so we can all keep in contact. Since then we’ve shared pictures and videos, and some of the contestants have since met back up and hung out. Being skint and in Portsmouth means that it’s hard for me to make a trip to London, but as I said, I hope to do so at the end of February for the big reunion.

I remember the excitement about the first episode of Winter Wipeout being on. We, having been through what was to appear on TV was a big deal. It made the experience feel more real, rather than the hazy dreamlike scenarios that are impossible to even contemplating being genuine. They were genuine, and seeing the first episode proved that naturally! I also remember the second episode when we briefly saw clips of our group on TV falling off things in their compilation clips. I was on one of them, as was Simon, Sylvia and Scottish John. Even though you couldn’t see my face, I, and a lot of the contestants knew, that it was definitely me and I couldn’t help but mark out for that. I also remember Episode 5, an episode I was really looking forward to watching as I had recently added Gemma Murdock on Facebook, who did an amazing job at getting 4th place on the episode and also did an excellent job in editing my clip from our show, which you can see on the top right of this page. I hadn’t asked Gemma how well she did and she was brilliant, she performed fantastically well to get as far as she did, and has since then started to blend in with the Episode 6 crew. Gemma is a true fan of the show and we’ve had many discussions reminiscing about our times on our separate shows, as they were similar experiences.

The last 10 days or so before my episode came on I was absolutely frightened. I knew I did badly, getting 19th place and I never told anyone this. The only person that knew how I did was my wife. I told her not to tell anyone about my performance. That decision wasn’t based on embarrassment but surprise; even if I did well and got to Round 3 I wouldn’t have said anything different. I wanted my family not to know how I did, so their reactions were genuine and natural. The same applied to everyone else. At the end of Episode 5 they previewed our episode. At the end of episodes they tend to sometimes show contestants falling off things in the episode to come, and they did that as a preview for our show. When I watched the show my heart skipped a beat when they showed me falling off the log jam in the preview! I couldn’t believe it! The worst thing about it is that it showed me falling onto my back and into the water; I didn’t remember hitting my back at all! But you could definitely tell it was me, and my family saw me on TV, albeit it was for half a second! It was really going to happen!

Me on the preview for our episode, at the end of Episode 5! It really dawned how real it all was when I saw this.
Because I had appeared on TV already I decided that it was time I started officially confirming about my appearance on the show. A lot of people knew already, but we were told not to mention it on Facebook or Twitter, or anything else. So because that was the case, and everyone kept on asking if I got on, how it was and stuff, it became relatively common knowledge. So to avoid mentioning it, I would discretely reference it in obvious ways, so that people would know what I was on about. In person I talked about my experience casually. But a week before, I told everyone officially, that in one week, I’d appear on TV. I told my Facebook friends, my family, a lot of the people on my local street knew, a lot of my work colleagues knew and also all the professionals associated with our service at work knew. Everyone knew I was to appear on TV and I was cracking up! I was so nervous, partly for appearing on TV, and partly because I did so bad and I was to be a national embarrassment on TV!

My caricature drawing as done by the awesome Simon Cassini!
So, it was Saturday, 21st January, 5:35pm BBC1. I watched the show. It was amazing. It was really odd, watching all my new friends appearing on TV. All the other episodes I’d enjoyed as I’m a fan of the show. But this was just weird. It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t appeared on Winter Wipeout, but because I knew all 19 of the other people it felt personal. It was my show, our show. I’d never watched a TV show in the same way before. I knew exactly how bad or well everyone had did, and even seen some of the things on TV being done live and in person. But seeing it all done professionally, edited and with music dubbed in, with Richard Hammond’s commentary, it was still weird. I saw everyone do their course, something I never saw in person obviously. But I knew about Woody and Lawrence beating the red balls. I saw that on the TV and it was amazing. I also heard stories like Jody’s concussion being shown on TV, and some of the awesome interviews the other contestants did. I loved what they did with Chris, making him out to be a “smooth operating” doctor, my wife and I laughed so hard! I also loved what they did with Woody, with his beep-off with Amanda, and Mark’s overexcited “Woo! Woah! Woohoo!” noises all around the course. Mark only did it a few times but they edited it in throughout the show and it was absolutely hilarious!

But as for me, John II, I was actually very happy with it. You need to remember, we have no idea what they were going to edit our shows to look like, what things we did or said that would be the outline of our segments on the show. I really thought they’d emphasise on my large size and my amazing lady like giggles, as well as the beard. When I heard the classic “Big Bad John” being played, sung by Jimmy Dean, I knew exactly who was about to appear on screen, and that was me! I liked that they concentrated on my large mass, I was by far the biggest person there and I knew I did a decent job of looking a little badass as an angry giant, and it showed. I loved the posing on the podium, the comparison to Scottish John (now called Whiskey and the John on the show, which was awesome) because we had the same names. I didn’t know they were going to concentrate so much on the Henry VIII comment, and I never thought of it as that odd a reply. But they made it out that it was odd, with Richard Hammond questioning why he was my ‘beardy hero’, as he had six wives and was responsible for many of their deaths. It makes sense why it was an odd response, but I meant that I looked like Henry VIII, not that I was inspired about his actions, but it was still funny!

But it did get them to mention the fact that I was recently wed to my wife, which made my wife giggle with glee. “Richard Hammond knows I married!” she said that a few times I can promise you! I’m glad they said it was also the last time I shaved because that was the point; it was a five month old beard and that was what got me on the show in the first place, and it was important for me that it was said when I last shaved. I do love the fact that they put on “I'm Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits on, whenever I did the course. That was a stroke of genius! I hadn’t heard the song in many a year (where as  a few people have associated “Big Bad John” with me a few times) so it was awesome to hear it again, and played whenever I did the course. Whenever I went into the water they played Tudor music which had my wife in stitches. It was funny, and I have to admit I loved it. The mixture of “here’s John he’s going for it on the course” and the happy “Henry VIII I Am” music contrasted with the “oh dear, John’s in the water” and sad Tudor music. It was really funny, really well done and it got a huge thumbs up from me.

I wasn’t happy they gave me the dreaded “oh let’s get back to him later on” segment! They give those to the really slow contestants and I had a strong feeling they would do it to me. Of course, doing that and then sandwiching Woody between my segments was fine. Woody, or John the Policeman as he was on the show, had the fastest time of the first round so I’m okay with him being between my clips. He was super speedy and did it in less than half my time. I knew they’d show me going the wrong way on the show, which was embarrassing, but it was okay. I am kind of disappointed they didn’t show my Granny’s House as I beat the first door, although I did get hit by “Tevez”, which was what Richard called the dog there. But my embarrassing attempt at the Big Red Balls was a highlight primarily because I stool still on the escalator, but I stood there because I was so tired at that point I wanted a little rest! What I didn’t know about my ‘attempt’ at the Big Red Balls, if you want to call it an attempt is how close my head bounced backwards towards the tip of the escalator, it was really close! I could have gotten really hurt if that happened so thankfully it didn’t. But instead, I had the embarrassment of bouncing backwards in front of the first ball, and having to swim past all four. Thankfully, because that took so long, they skipped to John the Policeman then. When they returned they showed my log jam. I was really happy that I beat the first log, and I had no chance with the second. My little bit of jiggling on the second log was quite funny to watch as well, as you could see, with Amanda laughing at me! Believe it or not I did pose at the end when I clocked in at 6:25, but they didn’t want to show that because they wanted to emphasise on how knackered I was.

As I said, I don’t remember much of my interview with Amanda afterwards but I loved the fact that the only thing they showed was me saying “I wasn’t prepared for that at all”, which made my wife’s day. She loved the fact that I’d say something so obvious and so silly at the end of such a struggled performance. It was funny, I really thought it added to my section of the show but when I said those words in person with Amanda, and the rest of the interview, I was really negative and upset. So there’s two ways of looking at it. But overall, I was really happy with how they portrayed me on TV, I loved the Henry VIII nonsense, and I loved the music even more. Considering how they could have made me looked, I got made to look like someone who really struggled on the course, but was great fun at the same time. Some have said that my part in the show was the best, and I was the most entertaining person on our show. I can’t say that was true, after all, the 19 other people were all brilliant as well and besides, a lot of my friends and family will inevitably say that as they watched the show to see me, so naturally liked my involvement most. But it was nice to see people really enjoyed it.

To wrap up this amazingly long article (Overall it’s over 31,000 words, by far the longest article I have ever produced), My Winter Wipeout Experience will stay with me to the grave. I’m a very lucky guy. People would pay thousands of pounds to do what I did and that is take on the Wipeout course. Only just over 1000 people from Britain have. That’s one in 62,262 people, or 0.0016% of the population. These are ridiculous figures, and I did it! I am very lucky and I’m more than aware of that, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I’m so grateful to Endemol, to the BBC, to the researchers who gave me the opportunity. I’m so appreciative to have been given a chance to travel to the other side of the world for free, with spending cash and hotel paid. I’m so lucky and indebted to be given a chance to do the Wipeout course, and appear on national TV, and appear in front of 4 million people on the telly. I’m really lucky and really amazed that I did it. I also want to thank the 19 contestants on my show for helping me have one of the best times of my life, and for being there for me when I was down and embarrassed after performing miserably on the course, and for helping me have such a laugh on the other side of the world. I want to thank individually Andy Rowe and Emma Taylor, who were awesome producers and did an amazing job with the way they portrayed me on TV, and for being really cool in person in Argentina. I want to thank Maisie, Millie, Nick, Siobhan for being amazing researchers and for helping us all over Buenos Aires and beyond. I want to especially thank Frankie for taking us to and from Argentina, for being our mummy, for counting the 20 of us over and over again and making sure that we will always find our buddies when needed. There are other researchers and people at Endemol Argentina that I haven’t named but played a part in my amazing experience, so thank you all too. I want to thank Amanda for being so lovely in Argentina, for being so humble and supportive, yet laughing at me when I fell ridiculously on course. I want to thank Richard Hammond for not ripping into me as often as he does other contestants! He was surprisingly nice and he is right, walking or running on an escalator is overrated! I want to thank Sophie for giving me some of the great HQ shots took in Argentina, which look absolutely fabulous. Finally, I want to thank anyone else I may have forgotten that played a part, everyone has been awesome and I can’t thank you all enough!

My Winter Wipeout Experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity and will live with me forever. Thanks for reading all about it and I hope you enjoyed both my performance and this incredibly long article! Take care!

Official Winter Wipeout Episode 6 Shot. Thanks for reading!
 If you haven't seen it yet you can see my performance, which was edited by Episode 5 contestant Gemma Murdock below! 

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Winter Wipeout Experience - Part 5

Note: This is part 5 of 6. I'm posting one part a day. The total word count exceeds 31,000 words so it's going to be a long read. If you missed part 1 you can read it by clicking here, part 2 here, part 3 here and part 4 here!

I just finished the course and I felt so awful. As I said, I didn't know my time officially but I estimated it being something stupid like 15 minutes or so. All I wanted to do was get out of there. Get out of Argentina? Maybe. Either way I couldn’t get my wish, not yet. A journalist was next to do the course, someone who wrote in a TV magazine of some kind, I can’t remember what one. But she was a journalist, who appeared on a previous series of Total Wipeout, and she had strong connections with Amanda Byram, they were good friends. So she had to do the course next for promotional purposes of the show. She did her course; I don’t know of the time, it might have been around 4 minutes, quicker than me that’s for sure. After that was done we all had to make our way back to the tents for the results. I had to get changed quickly so they could make the announcement. I got hounded a few times because everyone was so anxious. In honesty I didn’t care about the results as I knew I’d failed but I still wanted to hurry up for everyone else’s stake, they were excited and rightfully so. I got dressed quickly and then the announced the results.

In joint first place was Woody, who also crossed the big red balls and Sebastian. Everyone was happy for them, so was I. They ran down the rest of the results and I was prepared for ‘and last place, John’ but I actually came 19th. And did it in 6 minutes 25 seconds. I was happy with the time actually, as I said, I felt like it was around 15 minutes so when I found out it was much better than that I was chuffed, but I also wasn’t happy placing 19th out of 20th. In last place was Sylvia, the ‘mummy’ of the group. Sylvia is lovely, you could tell she was there to have a ball and was just there for the experience. She later told me that she also was there because no one thought she could do anything like this, and she was there to prove them wrong. I thought that was really admirable. She kept telling me that she care that she got last place, because she did the course, and she was advising me in the same way.

Sylvia and Jody. Sylvia was the 'mummy' of the group and was there to prove all her friends and family that she could do something like the course. She was a true inspiration and helped me when I was so upset about my own time.
I really appreciated those sentiments, and tried my best to feel that way, but it was hard. Why? Because I knew that a lot of people would laugh at my terrible performance. Because I expected better of myself. Because I was actually the third youngest, I had youth and energy (in theory) on my side, where as there were a lot of people in their forties there that trounced my side. Because I lost a lot of weight and cycled to and from work to get myself fit and it wasn’t enough. I was just so frustrated and embarrassed. I still am in a certain way. We all went back to the hotel and showered.

That evening we all went out for a meal. Now that it was official that my Winter Wipeout journey was over, at least for the performance part, I didn’t care about my diet anymore. I could eat what I want as long as I could afford it. That night we separated again into two groups and I was with Mark, Natalie, Ben, Woody and Dom. I haven’t mentioned Dom yet; she was the only black person on our show and was awesome. She was incredibly fit, and was a favourite to a lot of us to do well on the show. She was also a singer and could sing well, she’s a very talented lady. She got through to the second round but was then part of an epic double wipeout on The Ski Lift with Sharn.

Natalie, Woody, myself, Ben, Mark and Dom. The six of us went out for a quiet meal after the qualifier.
Thankfully we had Mark with us because if we didn’t we once again would have struggled to order food. I almost got mine right when I ordered. I had steak again (of course) but this time it was served differently. It was served with bacon bits and cheese and a mushroom sauce on the inside. I love bacon, cheese and steak but I really don’t like mushrooms. So I almost got it right, bar the mushrooms. But the mushroom sauce wasn’t too bad and I left the mushrooms on the side. The rest of it was gorgeous. We also had croquets and bread. I’d like to say I loved the food in Argentina, but the one thing they just could not do was do bread. Everywhere I went, was stale bread. Everywhere! No one in Argentina served bread fresh… apart from this place. Finally somewhere that did fresh bread and it was served toasted. Lovely.

We all spoke about favourites to win that evening, naturally Woody was a favourite, as the contestant that beat both the Big Red Balls and came joint first in the qualifier. Woody was just so humble, so pleasant and quiet. He was really respectful of the competition and was just happy to be there. That was a nice evening, and it got me away from the Wipeout course, which is what I wanted.

In terms of injuries, most of us were okay. Jody had a concussion and was really groggy that evening, but she perked up the next day. I managed to twist BOTH my ankles and my left knee, but I could walk okay, a little hobble but nothing serious. But we then found out that night that something was wrong with Lawrence. Lawrence was with the other group of contestants and had been hobbling a little. As the night went on his hobbling was apparently getting worse and his leg was starting to swell. The next morning his entire shin and lower leg went bright peach. He had to withdraw from the competition and get it scanned. He could barely walk the next day. So it was good news for Sharn, who got 13th place as she was now replacing Lawrence into Round 2, the Ski Lift. As I said earlier, Lawrence was then scanned and he had broken his leg in two places. I and a lot of the other contestants looked back at the episode and we think he did it on the log jam, although as I did loads of screenshots of the episodes, it could have been the completion of the second set of snowmen. On the former, the log jam, he buckles under pressure when he lands on the log, but on the latter, the snowmen, when he lands on the next section his leg also buckles under pressure and he falls over. Truth is no one knows for sure when Lawrence broke his leg only that he did. But he took it well and as being only one of two people to have crossed the balls he has his head held high. I’m sure he’d trade that in for a shot at the Ski Lift and £10,000 of course, but he took the bad news very well. He got compensation as well so that’s good in a certain way.

Steph and Lawrence. Steph got trod on the day before we went out. Lawrence, although when this picture was taken he didn't know it yet, broken his leg.
Scottish John went with the other group that night and I went back to the hotel after our meal. He was still out when I got there so I had some time to myself. I thought about how everything went. Everyone to their credit knew I was upset about my performance but reassured me and empathised. I really appreciated their kind words and it was nice of them to talk to me, especially as they all had their own performances to consider, good or bad. But I was just happy I finished the course in the end, I could have given up. At least I knew now that I’d look less embarrassing on TV than if I quit. Scottish John came back to our hotel room probably about half an hour or an hour after me.

The next morning we had to wake up for about 6:15am, which was a lot nicer than the 5:30am we had to leave the previous day. Scottish John used the shower early because he had to prepare for the next day, as he qualified for the second round. He was really good to me, and reassured me about my embarrassing performance. I in turn gave him some kind words for his chances. I had no idea how each person did on the course, apart from their times. Scottish John finished 5th in the qualifier, an amazing effort and told him he had as good a chance of winning as anyone. He was humble and told me that he was keeping his feet grounded. We went downstairs and actually had breakfast that morning, rather than the packed stuff that they provided the previous day. We didn’t have much time though and the bus soon turned up to pick everyone up.

Everything else happened on day four by the way. Day three was the qualifier, now we were on day four, which was Round 2 The Ski Lift, Round 3 Winter Blunderland and Round 4 the Winter Wipeout Zone. It all happened on this day, meaning our three finalists had to do a heck of a lot of work that day. Not for me though, because the one good thing about not qualifying was the fact that I got to watch the rest of the show with my own two eyes! And what an experience that was! Of course I would have preferred to be out there and doing these things, but I was still incredibly privileged to have that opportunity to see these things happen, and that’s why my Winter Wipeout Experience was not over yet.

The Ski Lift cheerleaders: Steph, Jody, myself, Sam, Ben, Lawrence and Sheba. It was fun watching it all happen in person.
We got to the site again and once again there were pastries and drinks set up for everyone in the tents. But the priority now was the 12 competitors left who were about to take part in the Ski Lift. Maisie had earlier told me that her favourite round was the Ski Lift and I’ve got to tell you, it’s mine as well. The Ski Lift was incredible, and it was even better to see live and in person. I’ve been asked how they got the twelve contestants up there. By crane of course! How else! Yeah a large crane carried each contestant individually. I felt sorry for the poor people who had to be put up there first and the person up there twelfth had a minor advantage over everyone. I can’t remember the order, but in honesty, it wasn’t the biggest of advantages anyway, I’m sure it wouldn’t have made much difference if they got twelve cranes to put twelve people up at the same time (it would be an amazing sight mind). You could see what was connecting the twelve parts of the Ski Lift and it didn’t look balanced. From the get go I’d say you had a small task keeping still, but when the thing started moving it looked much much worse.

Amanda came on set and was preparing for her introduction of the Ski Lift. There were seven of us there out of the eight, as Sylvia was incredibly poorly through the night before. So on the seat, watching the action was myself, Ben, Sheba, Sam, Jody, Lawrence and Steph. I just haven’t mentioned Steph in this article yet! Steph was another lady I didn’t really speak as often to but she was pretty cool. The best thing about Steph? Her laugh. When we were watching old episodes of Total Wipeout in the tent the day before she laughed at every wipeout and was in hysterics. She was obviously a huge fan of the type of humour Total Wipeout provides and her laugh was immense. She and Sharn had an epic night out that night and got very drunk. I won’t go further than that though to explaining what they did that night, that’s a long story on its own!

So here we were, the seven of us with the best seats for the Ski Lift. Amanda came up to us and said “alright losers!” in which we responded with a mixture of “yes we’re fine” and “how dare you call us losers!”. While the twelve people on Ski Lift were now the main attraction of the show, it was our job to chant and yell as loud as possible and offer as much support to everyone as we could. We were being filmed by Millie I believe for Round 2 and there were a lot of our reactions filmed on the actual show. They were genuine reactions; we were so excited and entertained by the show put on by the elite 12. I absolutely loved the initial wipeout by Sharn, that in turn took out Dom. It looked incredibly painful and looked so much better live than it did on camera. Dom was not in a good way after that wipeout but she recovered quite quickly I believe.

The Ski Lift. Definitely my favourite part of the show, it's a shame I didn't do well enough to take part.
What you saw on TV and what we saw on the Ski Lift live differed a little. At one point I remember no one getting wiped out for ages, yet they have to speed those things up on TV because they need to fit everything into an hour. I remember Natalie and Scottish John getting hit by the bars over and over again, swinging for their lives for what seemed like forever. Those two had amazing upper body strength I told you. They should have made it through on pure determination but that’s not the way the game works, its hold on as long as you can and if you hold on the longest, you go through. They both got wiped out eventually and I was gutted for Scottish John as he actually was a lot closer to elimination than was made to look. Scottish John, Sebastian and Amy all got knocked out at very similar times but the TV had to speed up and slow down footage to show the order of elimination. We actually weren’t sure who of those three made it through, we just remember seeing 7 turn to 4 in the matter of about 10 seconds. I personally thought Scottish John made it through, but others thought it was Sebastian and some others thought it was Amy. It turned out to be Amy in the end, and she was the only girl to make it through to the next round. I saw Simon still hanging on and gave my congratulations to Sheba, which you could see on the TV which was nice. She was most pleased with her husband’s performance and rightfully so. I was surprised with Sebastian’s wipeout. He was my personal favourite to win the show before Ski Lift took place, I don’t know why, but I thought he had a better chance than John the Policeman the night before. Sebastian had a flawless go on Ski Lift until he got hit once, and once only I believe, and it knocked him down. But kudos where it’s due, Sebastian put a valiant effort in.

Both Natalie and Whiskey in the John hung on for ages and got beat by the pole the most. It's a shame their brave efforts weren't emphasised on the show, they were both awesome.
But the main man in Ski Lift was also the main man in the qualifier, and that was John the Policeman, or Woody as I call him. He was just flawless on the Ski Lift. I heard him earlier in the tent saying that he could do 50 crunches a day or something. I’m telling you, he didn’t lie did he? He didn’t get hit by the bar once. I don’t think it even scraped his bottom! He was then labelled Robocop by some of us. At that point, he was the clear favourite after doing so well on both rounds, although things were to change later on and become less clear cut about our winner. We all congratulated John for winning Ski Lift and congratulated Aarron, Simon, Mark and Amy for also making it to Winter Blunderland. But we all had to go back to the tent then so the 7 people who got eliminated at that stage could have their interviews. I think we went for some lunch after that. I can’t remember what I had to be honest, but it was probably tasty, as most of the food in Argentina was. Time flew by and we had to prepare quickly for the third round, which was Winter Blunderland.

John the Policeman was ridiculous on Ski Lift. I don't think he got hit by the pole once. He was then dubbed Robocop and rightfully so!
I remember Amy being so nervous of being the only girl left. It was here where I connected with Amy best, I consoled her a lot because she was just doing so well and yet lacked confidence and belief she could do it. Amy believed that her lucky egg was the driving force behind her brilliant performances. I didn’t want to detract from that belief, as I wanted her to be as ready as possible for Winter Blunderland. I told her that if she believes it’s her lucky egg than that’s fine, but that I think that she herself was the reason behind her getting to the third round. I told her how awesome it was that she got as far as she did, and that I always support the ladies in Total Wipeout, and that she had my full support in Argentina that day. She really appreciated my words. I also that day became Total Wipeout maestro. Since I got to the audition phase of my experience I started paying a lot more attention to the show, statistically and as a fan. I mentioned things like there was only one double ball crosser in the history of Total Wipeout (although that may change this series… stay tuned… that’s all I’ll say from what I’ve heard) and that in the last series there were a record amount of ball crossers, and record qualifier times. I also told Amy that ladies have won the show before and there’s no reason why she couldn’t. She really appreciated me consoling her but I’m like that with a lot of people. I don’t like people lacking confidence when they are good at something, and Amy really had the knack in our show.

Amy kicked major butt on course, but off it she was so nervous about everything! She didn't need to be as she was so awesome!
As I said, time flew by and soon we were preparing for Winter Blunderland. Joining us six from the previous round was Sylvia who had recovered well enough to see the rest of the show, I’m not sure if Lawrence had made it back from hospital yet though, but Sylvia was there. Also joining us was the seven new ‘losers’, in name, Natalie, Scottish John, Sebastian, Sharn, Dom, Sarah and Chris. I haven’t spoken of Chris; he’s the last person I’ve yet to mention on here. Chris and I didn’t speak too often but he was really cool. He’s the ‘smooth operator’ doctor whom my wife loved, and he was documenting his own experience on his video camera. He’s put the complete mini documentary on our private Facebook group, I don’t know if he’s going to go public with it. If he does I’d like to put it up on this site as Chris did an amazing job with it, and edited it very well.

My wife and I loved how they portrayed Chris as the "Smooth Operator"!
So now our bench was getting full and we were all cramped up on it for Winter Blunderland. Maisie took the camera in this round and she wanted us all in shot which was nice. Our view for Winter Blunderland wasn’t as good as it was for Ski Lift.  We could see the end of the course very well but the beginning was far away. We couldn’t see the turning platform which caught out Amy and Simon a lot in the beginning. But we did see the Crankshaft okay, and the rotating platforms very well. Winter Blunderland wasn’t as fun as the awesome Ski Lift but there was still a lot of drama. As much as I was happy for Simon to have made it that far, he was definitely the weakest link in this section but that for me was probably the only unsurprising event of the round. Simon, kudos to him, gave it as good a go as he could but the younger contestants got the better of him. He was great in defeat though and his interview was awesome. After that, I think everyone expected Amy to lose. As much as I gave her words of wisdom before, I did secretly think she was still the weaker link out of her, Woody, Aarron and Mark. But she put in an amazing and ballsy performance and was absolutely brilliant. As I said, Amy was a true hero in Winter Wipeout and was definitely one of my favourite contestants; I just loved her pure determination on course, and the contrasting emotional breakdowns she was having off course. She was a joy to watch on camera and off camera she was just so sweet and lovely, but lacking confidence the entire time. Her will to succeed combined with the lucky egg story was brilliant and I knew she’d shine on TV when it aired.

Mark was so close to getting to the final. He and Simon put in an excellent display in Winter Blunderland.
I talked about John the Policeman, Woody, and him owning the qualifier and the Ski Lift but it wasn’t the case in Winder Blunderland at all. He really struggled with the course, especially in comparison to Aarron who left everyone in his wake. This was Aarron’s round and he really booked himself to look as strong a contender as possible going into the Winter Wipeout Zone. So Aarron and Amy went through and it was between John and Mark, which was a complete shock to me. I thought Mark and John would get to the final but with Amy’s spirit and willpower driving her through it was one of those two to go through. What they didn’t show on TV was Mark spraining his finger on the ladder. After that he was pretty much finished, he struggled to climb the ladder and when he eventually did, John had finally clawed his way through to the final. As I said, the drama for Winter Blunderland was great, and was the story of the round. It wasn’t as impressive a visual as the Ski Lift, but it still had everyone on the edge of their seats and it was once again great to see live and in person, rather than on camera.

John was awesome in all the other rounds but Aarron here, he dominated Winter Blunderland. He was almost flawless.
After that we all went for dinner. We had dinner, which were steak burgers. I say steak because that’s what it was; a slab of steak a bun. It wasn’t as good as it sounds, it was definitely my least favourite meal in Argentina because the steak was cooked hard and it just didn’t taste as good as normal beef burgers do. But I can’t complain, I didn’t pay for it so I’m appreciative of the food anyway! After that Lawrence definitely received news on his broken leg and joined us. I felt for him, but as I said a few times he took the news really well and got compensation so it hopefully all balanced out in the end. The three finalists, Amy, Aarron and Woody didn’t eat with us. Instead they had to prepare for the Winter Wipeout Zone. They did all the posing and the interviews. I don’t know how that all went down as I wasn’t there.

What most of us did instead was go to Tigre, a town on the Buenos Aires Province, north of the main city. It was definitely a different side to Argentina, and it took us about 40 minutes to get there. That gave me a lot of time to take pictures of the landscape of this foreign land, and take some time out. I really enjoyed Tigre. While Buenos Aires was a large crumbling yet bumbling city, Tigre was quiet, peaceful even, with lots of canals and dry land. We went to what looked like a market, and had the opportunity to spend some cash. As I said earlier, I spent my money quite wisely in Argentina as I don’t have much money, but I also took out money from the ATM to cover more costs. I decided I wanted to get a gift for my wife and daughter. Jody went with me as we were both looking for gifts for loved ones. I decided I’d get my wife an Argentinian purse and one of those mannequin jewellery holders that I personally think look odd. The body of this jewellery holder was made of wood and the lady was wearing a really nice dress, I knew my wife would like it. As for my daughter I got her a bag of sweets, and a pink bedroom chime that was nicely decorated. I was set. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Tigre, about 45 minutes, but it was nice to get away from the main city and the Wipeout site, and see a different side to this amazing country.

Tigre, a different side to Buenos Aires.
We soon travelled back and by that time it was approaching 7pm, and getting dark, which meant one thing only; it was nearly time for the Winter Wipeout Zone. We got back to the site and preparations for the finale were almost set. We didn’t see Amy, Aarron or Woody when we got back, they were being suited up and preparing for the climax. Eventually, the 17 of us made our way to the Winter Wipeout Zone.

The Winter Wipeout Zone. It looked so amazing. Neither this picture, or TV, do it justice.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the Winter Wipeout Zone is something else in person. It was absolutely godsmacking to look at in person rather than on TV. It looks good on TV anyway, but as we walked towards it, even from afar, it looked stunning. It was night time of course, and there were fireworks being prepared, flamethrowers going off and on, and waterfalls. It was really tense. It was really really special. I knew there and then, that what we were about to see would stay with us for the rest of our lives. Sure, I wasn’t doing the course, I didn’t even come close. But I truly appreciated what I was about to see. There were 17 of us now so it was really hard for us all to struggle to sit down. I offered Jody my seat but she didn’t want to sit, she wanted to stand up instead.

The 17 'losers'. Kudos to Andy the executive producer, for taking this picture for me.
It was here I spoke to the executive producer Andy a bit more. We didn’t really speak much leading up to this point, he was busy behind the scenes, preparing the show and giving instructions. He’s a really nice man and spoke to me like he knew me my entire life. I don’t know how much studying the researchers and Andy put into the chosen contestants, but he really made me feel like I was special, the way he was speaking to me. I also spoke to Emma a bit more. Emma is the series producer and she was really cool. Both producers put effort to speak to us a bit more towards the finale, probably because the show was close to wrapping up and they had more time to actually speak to the ‘actors’, so to speak. Maisie also filmed the finale. Frankie also joined us for the finale as well. We all loved Frankie, we tried to make her feel like one of us contestants as much as possible, after all, she shipped us from London in the first place and looked after us, mothered us in a way, and she was also going to take us back home as well. She was there from the start and she was there to the end.

Emma, the series producer, our episode journalist, Amanda and the executive producer Andy. Kudos to Amanda for posing for this picture! Thanks to Sharn for letting me use this on my site!
Amy was just about to be flung out for the finale! Not that we knew that yet!

What are my thoughts on the finale? And how did it all end? Come back here tomorrow to find out in the final part of My Winter Wipeout Experience!

If you haven't seen it yet you can see my performance, which was edited by Episode 5 contestant Gemma Murdock below! 

You can read part 6 here!

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