As challenges go it’s not exactly up there with swimming The Channel/ The Thames or running 43 marathons in 51 days but for Frank Skinner swimming a length of a pool for Sport Relief is a very big deal indeed. “I had swimming lessons when I was at school,” the comedian told The Radio Times.
“Well, I say “lessons”. What actually happened was I stood with five other kids in the shallow end and we messed about with battered polystyrene floats. Meanwhile, the rest of the class swam confidently up and down, smiling and having fun.”
Since then he hasn’t been able to face getting back in the water and learning to swim. Even in his 40s when he decided to give it another go with one-to-one lessons, he ended up taking the cowards way out and quitting. But towards the end of last year after speaking to a friend who works for Sport Relief, he decided he finally had to face his demons. “They (Walliams and Izzard) are truly amazing, but no one’s likely to emulate them,” reckons Skinner.
“You should get someone to take on their own personal little mountain, the sort of mountain that lots of people might climb if they could be inspired to do so.” Tonight Frank Skinner faces his mountain – in the form of a swimming pool deep end – when he attempts to swim an entire length for Sport Relief. Make donations to Sport Relief with a credit or debit card by phone via 03457 910910 or online at sportrelief.com
Tonight’s (23/3/12) Sport Relief line up in full
3:05pm The Big Sport Relief Warm-Up CBBC offers bite-size reminders of challenges past, including David Walliams’s Big Swim (3:10pm), Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sport Relief (3:45pm) and Million Pound Bike Ride (4:20pm).
5:15 Sport Relief Does Glee Club The three remaining acts vie for the viewers’ vote in the grand final of the competition.
7:00 Sport Relief 2012 Celebrities including John Bishop, James Corden, Gary Lineker and Claudia Winkleman take it in turns to host the evening, which kicks off with Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard and fiancée Christine Bleakley guest-starring in a special episode of Outnumbered. Strictly Come Dancing finalists Harry Judd and Chelsee Healey leave the dancefloor behind for an incredible underwater challenge.
7:30 Boxer Amir Khan and footballer Jermain Defoe boost their knowledge with a little help from Stephen Fry and the Horrible Histories cast, and the Strictly Come Dancing challenge continues.
8:00 Comic Frank Skinner faces his fear and attempts to swim a length of the pool at Langley Swimming Centre, while Miranda Hart ropes in some sports stars for a sketch at the Royal Albert Hall. Plus David Walliams, who undertook an epic swim down the Thames, is in the studio.
9:00 What horrors await Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Ant and Dec as Benidorm meets Britain’s Got Talent? Snow Patrol perform in the studio.
9:30 Members of the England football team don aprons and join chef James Martin in the kitchen. JLS perform the Sport Relief single, Proud.
10pm The cast of Twenty Twelve welcome some VIPs in the shape of Zara Phillips and Sir Steve Redgrave. There’s a special instalment of QI and Jake Humphrey hosts Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Plus Helen Skelton, who made a record-breaking expedition to the Antarctic, is in the studio.
10:35pm Fashionistas Kate Moss and Stella McCartney, along with sportsmen Colin Jackson and Linford Christie, join Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley for what promises to be a fun-packed Ab Fab sketch. Plus a chance to see A Question of Sport host Sue Barker as you’ve never seen her before!
11:00 Freddie Flintoff continues his attempt to break multiple world records live in the studio, Emeli Sande performs live, and there are special editions of Celebrity Juice and Eight out of Ten Cats.
12 midnight JLS invite a chorus of rugby internationals to join them for a singsong. Misery Bear and Mo Farah race against each other and there’s a special Mock the Week.
All timings from 7:30pm are approximate
Frank Skinner’s faces his fear for Sport Relief..
And Strictly goes underwater for Sport Relief…