David Beckham, international footballer, father, husband, megastar and… er, wimp?
Becks today unveiled his new BBC1 documentary David Beckham Into the Unknown in London and was jokingly criticised for his cowardice by rival travel presenter Michael Palin after a clip was shown in which Beckham faces his fears when he comes across an Amazon frog and a snake while camping out in the Brazilian jungle.
“You’re a wimp really,” Palin said to laughter today in an interview at the launch of the show.
“I wish the snake had been bigger,” replied Beckham. “I am not a big frog fan, I can’t lie.”
Fortunately for Beckham the snake was not poisonous but other terrors do emerge in the 90-minute film, which airs on BBC1 on 9 June and follows the star as he travels with three friends to Brazil and into the middle of the Amazon jungle.
The programme includes an encounter with four machete-wielding tribesmen during an overnight stay in the jungle.
“The whole time we were there one of the tribesman was behind each of us with a machete so it was kind of nerve-racking to start off with, to go into that situation,” Beckham revealed. “I was kind of nervous [but] after a while we sat down [with them] and talked through certain things, which was incredible.”
In the film, Beckham admits he was also frightened during the overnight stay in the jungle because he “didn’t like not knowing what’s around me”, adding: “I’m not comfortable with this”.
How he deals with his famous hair was perhaps an even bigger concern and the programme shows his wife Victoria worrying before he sets off about how her husband will control his sculpture coiffure in the humid environment.
Beckham says he wanted to make the film because he rarely experiences moments of solitude or periods of time during which he is not being recognised or followed by photographers.
In fact, he revealed today that he had not been able to enjoy something as simple as a kick about in the park for 20 years, explaining that up until his retirement from football 11 months ago, his life has “always been a schedule with a team” and that “everything is done for you.”
“When I have the [crash] helmet [on] nobody knows it’s me, when my arms are covered up,” said Beckham, who spends parts of the programme riding around on a motorcycle.
“I feel really free – not alone but really free.”