In 2005 former England cricketer Darren Gough dazzled his way to victory on Strictly Come Dancing, but joining winter sports-themed celebrity contest The Jump is proving to be a rather different beast.
“It wasn’t like we had a couple of runs on normal skis. They just gave us these jump skis for the first time and it was ‘Off you go’,” Gough tells RadioTimes.com.
While the Austria-based show sees the stars take on various sporting challenges, including skeleton and speed skating, it’s the jump itself that appears to be on Gough’s mind.
“For the first time in my life I’m actually scared. You go up there and you cannot see the drop. So the first time you go up there with skis on, you can’t see the drop. When you ski you can see 100 yards in front of you. Here you can’t see. That’s the fear, not knowing,” Gough explains.
But that doesn’t mean the former professional sportsman isn’t getting tactical.
Stars only face the jump itself if they end up in the bottom two of the judges’ vote from that night’s challenge. Here it’s the celebrity who jumps the furthest, regardless of which size jump they go off, that gets to stay.
“I think the boys are more evenly matched. [It’s] very tactical as well. That’ll be interesting how people do it. They might think ‘Oh, I’m going to go off the big one’ and fall. And I’ll go off the baby one! You’ve got to think ‘who am I up against?’. Tactics will come in,” Gough reveals.
Of his competitors, Gough says he and Sir Steve Redgrave are “chalk and cheese as two ex sportsman”.
“Steve has no technique with speed skating. But his determination level is unbelievable – and it’s just all power. He powers round, no technique whatsoever, he takes everyone out. Keep away from him because he’s just ‘grrrr’,” Gough Jokes.
But competition aside, Gough can see the funny side of things.
“I get the giggles every so often,” Gough admits. “Ski cross training was the funniest day of my life, and I mean that. I’ve never seen so many people go into the fences, fall over. I was in tears laughing.
“I’ve fallen as much as anybody. I was just like, ‘I’ll go’, and then it’d take me half an hour to get up. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. Laugh, get back up and do it again,” Gough says.
The Jump runs for ten nights from January 26 on Channel 4 and is hosted by Davina McCall and Alex Brooker