Federer was the smash hit: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Bear may be a Boy’s Own star, but Federer was the smash hit: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Running Wild with Bear Grylls

Rating:

Liam Bakes

Rating:

Survivalist Bear Grylls might be able to skin a wolverine while surfing an avalanche pursued by cannibal headhunters, but he’s a rotten interviewer.

Stopping for a breather on Running Wild With Bear Grylls (ITV), after abseiling down a frozen waterfall in Switzerland, Bear asked guest Roger Federer about his infamous teenage temper.

Tennis superstar Federer, a man usually as deft with an anodyne soundbite as he is with a racquet, launched into a surprisingly frank story about a tantrum aged 16 that backfired. 

In the past, these outdoor encounters with A-list celebs have involved Barack Obama and Kate Winslet, but one central theme has always been Bear showing off how macho he is

His coach put him on punishment duty for a week, scrubbing toilets in the sports hall. Then he explained how maturity had helped him control his outbursts, mastering a self-discipline that he described as ‘adding ice to the fire’. 

It was a rare insight into the mind of an athlete many regard as the greatest sportsman of this century: Federer was intent on using this show to reveal a more personal side.

Bear’s reply was spectacularly vacuous: ‘It’s a journey for all of us, isn’t it, in all of our worlds.’


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Federer looked baffled. A Chinese fortune cookie could have produced a more relevant response.

As they yomped through snowdrifts and climbed the side of a gorge, Federer plainly wasn’t much interested in the Boy’s Own activities that Bear had laid on.

In the past, these outdoor encounters with A-list celebs have involved Barack Obama and Kate Winslet, but one central theme has always been Bear showing off how macho he is. 

Despite the host’s entrance by paraglider, trailing orange smoke, Federer simply didn’t seem very impressed.

It was a rare insight into the mind of an athlete many regard as the greatest sportsman of this century: Roger Federer was intent on using this show to reveal a more personal side

It was the champion’s candid conversation that made the episode stand out.

He talked in depth about his extraordinary comeback in the Australian open last year against arch rival Rafa Nadal, his first Grand Slam win for five years — not that Bear had a clue.

We’d already guessed he knew nothing about the sport when he warned Federer to look after his ‘tennis hand’. That’s like wondering whether Usain Bolt runs with his left leg or his right.

He isn’t much of a wildlife expert either. Grabbing a handful of moss, Bear declared: ‘The reindeer eat that.’ Not in Switzerland, they don’t — perhaps he was thinking of Siberia. 

The hour ended with a game of ping-pong on a portable table, with miniature paddles. It should have been cringeworthy but, because both men were so nakedly competitive, the short match was actually entertaining.

Liam, above, isn’t showing us how to bake traditional favourites: he’s mixing up marscapone and cherry jam to make choux buns that taste like cola bottles, and filling cup cakes with five kinds of chocolate

If Bear’s a duff interviewer, I wasn’t sure either whether to trust the baking expertise of 21- year-old Liam Charles, on Liam Bakes (C4). His chief qualification, after all, was getting knocked out of the Great British Bake Off last year in the quarter-finals.

Coming fifth of 12 is no special recommendation. But Liam isn’t showing us how to bake traditional favourites: he’s mixing up marscapone and cherry jam to make choux buns that taste like cola bottles, and filling cup cakes with five kinds of chocolate. This fast-paced opener crammed four recipes into half an hour.

Because it’s aimed at a young audience, it bombarded us with irritating slang. Everything was ‘next level’, ‘literally like super-fast’ and ‘hashtag New Ting’.

There was a deal more graffiti and rap music than you get with Prue Leith too — ‘I ain’t even gonna lie,’ as I believe the young people say.

But at a time when young men from London are almost daily in the headlines for tragic reasons, Liam makes a refreshing difference. He’s lively and sometimes silly, but a lot less annoying than established ‘cheeky geezers’ like Jamie Oliver.

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