Warwick Davis talks Karl Pilkington, falling for India and switching off
Planet's Got Talent is back with more (very) weird and wonderful acts - but where does its presenter go for kicks?
Planet's Got Talent makes Britain's Got Talent look, well, a bit pathetic. It's a clip show of the most outrageous acts from other countries's (much much exciting) versions. Instead of singing and dancing dogs, expect lots of swords, fire and an exploding grandma.
We asked presenter Warwick Davis what made him gasp and what he likes to do in his downtime...
What’s the weirdest talent in the new series?
There’s an Indian man who gets run over by a steamroller. He lays on the ground and a steamroller drives over him. It flattens all sorts of other items on its way so you know it’s a real streamroller. And then it rolls up his legs, up to his shoulders and reverses off. It’s pretty extreme.
And the second most extreme?
A blindfolded swordsman who balances fruit and veg on relatives, and then chops the vegetable with his sword –without chopping them. So he puts an apple on someone’s head and the apple breaks but the head doesn’t. Which is a relief because it wouldn’t make good telly.
What have you learnt about your fellow citizens on Planet Earth?
It’s fascinating how culture influences the talents that are on display. For me, India always do bigger, bolder, brighter, louder. My experience of going to India was much like that. It was an amazing country full of such light, colour and sound.
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Then there’s a guy in America who smashes watermelons with his head, which speaks volumes about America. Who gets up in the morning and thinks: "I’m going to head-butt watermelons!" But it’s entertaining for the rest of us.
Where do you go for kicks?
As a family, we’re big fans of Florida. We go there most years because I do a lot of work for Disney. Florida Keys is a favourite getaway because I don’t get recognised as much as I do in central Florida. They’re little islands so once you’ve met a few people, you’ve met everybody, and nobody is that interested any more. We love it down there: going out on boats, watching the dolphins, swimming in the sea...
Has the day job taken you anywhere that you'd love to go back?
India surprised me because I’m not very adventurous. If it wasn’t for the TV series An Idiot Abroad, I wouldn’t probably have said "Let’s go to India". But I would definitely recommend it because it’s like nowhere else. It’s amazingly friendly and culturally so different in a really good way.
How do you mean?
People live life out there whereas in this country we forget to do that. Out there life is for having fun and being with your friends and family. It did Karl Pilkington’s head in because he likes bit of quiet but you can’t get away from it. There’s just people and noise and energy all of the time.
I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed the food because I’m a fussy eater. It’s not like what you get down your local Indian restaurant in this country; it tastes really fresh because of all the herbs and spices.
Warwick Davis in the arms of an idiot abroad (aka Karl Pilkington)
And when you need an escape closer to home?
The Lake District is the most stunning place. I would live there but it’s a little far away from London to be practical until they invent a flying car.
Accessing the scenery is not as easy for us. We’d love to get the boots on and walk up the side of a fell, but walking causes me pain and my wife Sam finds walking really difficult because of a back condition. But there are some great drives that take you to quite remote places.
Do you travel light?
We don't. We pack everything because you never know. I look at people at the aiport and think: "That case is smaller than the case I’m getting on the plane with. How have they got all their clothes in and they’re a bigger person?"
Are you good at switching off?
I’m better than the rest of the family. We've done holidays where you switch your phone off for the weekend. It’s quite hard to do, especially if you’ve got kids with Snapchat. It’s like giving up chocolate. On the first day, you start craving it: I need to look at my phone! But after that it’s really nice because you start to see the world around you again – to experience proper life and not just life through a screen.
Apart from Karl Pilkington of course, who would you be your ideal travelling companion?
I’d like to go away with Chevy Chase from his Vacation days because he'd drive me on: "Come on! Let’s go and have some fun!" I’m a bit like that: the overenthusiastic dad. I try and make it something whereas the rest of the family are quite content to sit on the beach, swimming and building sandcastles.
Planet's Got Talent begins on Sunday 24th January on ITV at 6.30pm