Helen's High Wire Walk Blue Peter


Helen's High Wire Walk

Helen is challenged to walk 150 metres between the two furthest chimneys of Battersea Power Station in London, on a wire only 1.8cm thick, suspended 70 metres above the ground.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Helen's High Wire Walk. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Vast and exposed,

0:00:010:00:03

the setting for an extraordinary Red Nose Day challenge.

0:00:030:00:07

I'm going to attempt to walk from that chimney to this one

0:00:100:00:14

on a wire no wider than this 10p piece.

0:00:140:00:17

It's 150 metres long, 66 metres in the air

0:00:170:00:21

and it is, without doubt, the scariest thing I have ever taken on.

0:00:210:00:25

'I'm doing it for Comic Relief, to help change the lives

0:00:250:00:29

'of vulnerable people in the UK and in Africa.'

0:00:290:00:32

How can you not help this face?

0:00:320:00:34

'The wire is waiting.'

0:00:340:00:36

-What's the name of the game?

-Stay on the wire.

0:00:360:00:39

Name of the game is to stay on the wire.

0:00:390:00:40

'How will I manage?'

0:00:400:00:42

Come on, Helen.

0:00:420:00:44

'Come with me on the highest walk of my life.'

0:00:440:00:48

Battersea Power Station in London.

0:00:570:01:02

It's the biggest brick building in Europe,

0:01:020:01:05

taking up the space of three football pitches.

0:01:050:01:08

Battersea used to provide electricity for London,

0:01:090:01:13

but it shut down almost 30 years ago.

0:01:130:01:15

Now it's a dangerous building site and a major sport and film location.

0:01:150:01:22

An entire population's been taken inside that place to be converted.

0:01:250:01:29

I can't afford to feel threatened or nervous.

0:01:320:01:35

I need to own this.

0:01:350:01:37

What I'm attempting needs a dramatic backdrop -

0:01:370:01:40

welcome to the world of high wire.

0:01:400:01:43

It's an art that developed thousands of years ago,

0:01:430:01:46

performed in the highest and scariest places.

0:01:460:01:50

Only a few highly trained people in the world dare do it.

0:01:500:01:54

And unlike me, some without even a safety harness.

0:01:540:01:58

High-wire walking takes years to learn.

0:01:580:02:01

I first stepped on a wire just three months ago.

0:02:010:02:05

'I start my training on a low, tight wire,

0:02:070:02:10

'but there's more falling than walking.'

0:02:100:02:13

This is so annoying!

0:02:130:02:14

Then I take on my first live performance.

0:02:140:02:18

I lose my concentration not once...

0:02:200:02:24

but twice.

0:02:240:02:26

It's terrifying, but I do it.

0:02:290:02:32

Next, I go to France

0:02:350:02:37

to train with world-famous high-wire walker Jade Kinder-Martin.

0:02:370:02:42

What a wake-up call that is.

0:02:420:02:44

I was a bit disappointed in her level.

0:02:440:02:47

I thought she had been practising a little bit more

0:02:470:02:50

and I thought she was more capable of keeping her balance on the wire.

0:02:500:02:54

I feel like I've just had a massive wet fish of realisation

0:02:540:02:58

slap me in the face - this is hard.

0:02:580:03:00

'I have to get to grips with a heavy balance pole

0:03:000:03:04

-'and the pain of falling off.'

-Oh, no. Come on, now.

0:03:040:03:06

After a few weeks of specialist training,

0:03:080:03:11

I finally complete an 80-metre long wire, 20 metres up.

0:03:110:03:15

Ta-da!

0:03:150:03:17

But that's small scale compared to what I'm facing now.

0:03:180:03:22

Battersea is three times the height of the highest point

0:03:220:03:26

of my practice walk, and also about twice the length.

0:03:260:03:31

So Helen will be challenged.

0:03:310:03:33

It couldn't be any more threatening.

0:03:430:03:47

This is just taking away every bit of confidence I have.

0:03:470:03:50

Look at me - I'm doing this,

0:03:500:03:52

shrugging my shoulders, and I just...

0:03:520:03:54

I want to hide.

0:03:540:03:56

My high wire will be suspended

0:04:010:04:03

across the heart of the old power station,

0:04:030:04:06

where coal was burned in huge boilers,

0:04:060:04:09

but the roof is long gone.

0:04:090:04:11

All I'm going to be able to see

0:04:110:04:13

from up there is a cobweb of steel girders and scaffolding.

0:04:130:04:19

There's nothing for it but to get up there and have a look.

0:04:230:04:26

We're heading up the south-west chimney to the point

0:04:260:04:30

I'll hopefully finish at.

0:04:300:04:33

I'm OK with this height, because there's a cage in front of me.

0:04:330:04:36

Three, two, one.

0:04:440:04:47

Thank you.

0:04:520:04:53

Actually, this is the first...

0:04:560:05:00

tinge of excitement I've had since arriving

0:05:000:05:04

at Battersea Power Station. From here, I can see just how high it is.

0:05:040:05:10

It's...

0:05:100:05:12

insane.

0:05:120:05:13

This is all going to be about whether I can hold my nerve.

0:05:130:05:18

This is ultimately going to come down to whether I have

0:05:180:05:23

the bottle and the focus to do this.

0:05:230:05:26

'My day at Battersea has really shaken me up.'

0:05:260:05:31

The scariest thing about this is failing.

0:05:310:05:34

You know, there's a real chance that

0:05:340:05:36

I might get tired. My shoulder might give out, I might slip

0:05:360:05:41

and I'll fall off the wire and it'll be game over.

0:05:410:05:44

I can't acknowledge that to anybody

0:05:440:05:46

because I have to be positive about this.

0:05:460:05:49

I have to say, "I can do this. Come on, Helen,

0:05:490:05:52

"let's party on and do this.

0:05:520:05:55

"It's Red Nose Day. This is for fun and..."

0:05:550:05:59

So, outwardly, I feel I have to be all "yay".

0:05:590:06:03

Inwardly I'm thinking, "What am I doing?"

0:06:030:06:05

I have to remember why I'm doing this.

0:06:070:06:11

The charity behind Red Nose Day, Comic Relief, uses money you raise

0:06:110:06:15

to help vulnerable people in the UK and Africa.

0:06:150:06:18

During a break in training, I travel to Uganda in Africa

0:06:180:06:22

to see for myself how it's helping.

0:06:220:06:25

Kampala is the capital of Uganda.

0:06:270:06:30

More than a million people live here, but, shockingly,

0:06:300:06:34

up to 2,000 children are sleeping on the streets every night.

0:06:340:06:39

It's a dangerous place to be.

0:06:390:06:42

I can't quite believe what I'm seeing.

0:06:450:06:48

This is 12-year-old Hamsa.

0:06:530:06:55

He sleeps by the side of the road

0:06:550:06:58

with only a piece of cardboard and a potato sack to keep him warm.

0:06:580:07:02

How long has Hamsa been living on the streets?

0:07:020:07:05

-He's been on the streets over two years.

-Two years?

-Two years.

0:07:050:07:09

Hamsa's mum died and he fell out with his step-mum.

0:07:120:07:16

He told me she threatened him with a knife, so he ran away.

0:07:160:07:20

What's it like going to sleep here every night?

0:07:200:07:24

HE SPEAKS THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

0:07:240:07:28

TRANSLATION: Terrible. I don't like it.

0:07:280:07:31

There's not really a lot you can say to that, is there?

0:07:320:07:35

He's said it himself. It's terrible here. He doesn't like it.

0:07:350:07:39

As yet, I guess he feels like he's got no option.

0:07:390:07:42

'Meeting Hamsa really affects me.'

0:07:450:07:47

How can you not help this face?

0:07:470:07:50

'So I decide to spend the rest of the day with him.

0:07:500:07:53

'It's early and Kampala is coming to life.'

0:07:530:07:56

As if this isn't bad enough, I'm sitting here and thinking,

0:07:560:07:59

"What is on the back of my neck?"

0:07:590:08:02

The people who live up there are brushing their rubbish

0:08:020:08:05

onto these guys' heads. This is their bedroom.

0:08:050:08:08

'Breakfast is a kind of porridge and deep fried vegetables.

0:08:110:08:15

'Hamsa pays for it with the tiny bit of money he earns

0:08:150:08:18

'collecting plastic bottles off the streets.'

0:08:180:08:21

It's all right.

0:08:230:08:24

Cheers, boys.

0:08:240:08:27

'But after breakfast, something shocking happens.

0:08:340:08:38

'Just out of view of the camera behind the green car,

0:08:380:08:42

'someone robs me.'

0:08:420:08:45

Someone shoved me against the van, pulled my necklace from my throat.

0:08:490:08:53

Hamsa went running down the street after him to try and get it back.

0:08:530:08:57

My hero.

0:08:570:09:00

And on the one hand, I'm like,

0:09:000:09:03

"Oh, that's amazing. What a little legend he is."

0:09:030:09:06

But on the other, it's making me think...

0:09:060:09:09

This is the type of environment he's living in.

0:09:090:09:11

'He's only 12, but Hamsa has to look out for himself.

0:09:110:09:15

'It's not a safe way of living.'

0:09:150:09:18

This is how he has to cope to live on the streets.

0:09:180:09:22

'He spends hours every day collecting bottles.

0:09:220:09:25

'And after all that, he'll make about £1.50.'

0:09:250:09:29

But with your support, Hamsa CAN have a better future.

0:09:330:09:37

The money you raise on Red Nose Day helps fund projects like this -

0:09:370:09:41

a drop-in centre for children with nowhere else to go.

0:09:410:09:46

It's run by a charity called Retrack. It's a bit like a school.

0:09:460:09:51

Hamsa's put on his school uniform and since then,

0:09:520:09:54

he's pretty much been grinning from ear to ear.

0:09:540:09:57

This is a real haven for him.

0:09:570:10:00

'It's a safe place, offering a decent meal and somewhere to play.

0:10:020:10:06

'The boys can even sleep there overnight, if they want to.'

0:10:060:10:10

It's a completely different world. And he's a completely different kid.

0:10:120:10:16

'Hamsa seems to enjoy it, but he never stays that long.

0:10:160:10:20

'He feels he has to get back to the streets to earn money.

0:10:200:10:23

'It's what he knows.'

0:10:230:10:25

In just one day, I've seen how difficult life is for Hamsa.

0:10:270:10:32

Saying goodbye is incredibly hard.

0:10:320:10:36

I will probably never see him again, and I...

0:10:380:10:41

won't know what happens to him.

0:10:410:10:44

Good luck, Hamsa. Goodbye.

0:10:440:10:46

'But that isn't the end of the story.

0:10:480:10:51

'The next day, to my total surprise,

0:10:510:10:53

I see a familiar face at the school.'

0:10:530:10:56

I thought I would never see Hamsa again when we parted ways

0:10:560:11:00

last night and he stayed here.

0:11:000:11:02

He didn't sleep on the street for the first time in two years

0:11:020:11:05

because he had somewhere else to go,

0:11:050:11:06

because of the support you give this charity.

0:11:060:11:09

You can make a difference by getting involved.

0:11:090:11:12

'I've got all the motivation I need.'

0:11:120:11:16

But pulling off this challenge isn't just down to me.

0:11:210:11:24

Even building the wire

0:11:240:11:26

is a massive operation. It will take a specialist team of riggers

0:11:260:11:31

four days to do, working in difficult conditions.

0:11:310:11:34

Brian Donaldson is the man in charge.

0:11:360:11:40

There's a lot of scaffolding. I'm hanging on for dear life.

0:11:400:11:42

There's so much scaffolding. Is this safe?

0:11:420:11:45

It is listed as a dangerous building, a dangerous structure.

0:11:450:11:49

There is a risk of falling debris and brick work.

0:11:490:11:52

OK, we're in this together now.

0:11:520:11:54

It's hard for you. It's hard for me, Brian.

0:11:540:11:57

I'm going to let you go and rig me a safe wire

0:11:570:12:00

and stop eating into your time. Thank you, Brian.

0:12:000:12:02

The wire will be 150 metres long,

0:12:040:12:07

suspended between two of the original chimneys.

0:12:070:12:10

It'll be 66 metres high

0:12:100:12:13

and held firm by a series of smaller cables called cavalettis,

0:12:130:12:18

to stop it wobbling.

0:12:180:12:20

I'll be attached to a safety cable running above.

0:12:200:12:23

First job, wrapping giant slings round each chimney to hold the wire.

0:12:280:12:33

Not easy in this weather.

0:12:330:12:36

The next day, Brian and his team are ready to lift the safety cable.

0:12:410:12:46

Then the wire I'll walk on can be hoisted into place.

0:12:460:12:51

It's great to be in the position now to actually lift the wire,

0:12:510:12:55

after weeks and months of planning, preparations and meetings.

0:12:550:12:58

Made of steel, it's their single heaviest piece of equipment,

0:12:580:13:03

and at 175 kilograms it weighs more than two grown men.

0:13:030:13:08

'With two days to go, I see my wire for the first time.'

0:13:170:13:22

It looks so long from down here.

0:13:220:13:25

There's a bigger dip than I expected.

0:13:250:13:28

I'm going to have to go downhill and uphill.

0:13:280:13:31

I don't know how to go downhill. Oh, dear.

0:13:310:13:34

'But pulling it any tighter

0:13:340:13:36

'would put too much strain on the chimneys.'

0:13:360:13:39

Seriously, what was I thinking?

0:13:430:13:48

I've got to walk on that!

0:13:480:13:50

But the wire isn't safe to walk on yet.

0:13:520:13:55

Every piece of equipment has to be checked and checked again,

0:13:550:14:00

especially when it comes to the emergency-rescue plan.

0:14:000:14:04

So the retrieval device - that's what'll kick into action if I fall.

0:14:040:14:09

Yeah, it's a pulley that runs along the safety cable.

0:14:090:14:12

We tie a rope to either end of that pulley.

0:14:120:14:15

In the worst case of you coming off, unable to get back on the wire,

0:14:150:14:19

we can always pull you back to the closest end, if we have to.

0:14:190:14:23

That would be horrific if you were having to pull me.

0:14:230:14:27

'It's a worst-case scenario, but it could save my life.'

0:14:270:14:31

There's just one day before my Red Nose Day walk.

0:14:340:14:38

My instructor Jade's arrived to inspect the wire.

0:14:380:14:42

With his experience, he'll know if there's anything wrong.

0:14:420:14:46

Perfect. Wonderful. Good job.

0:14:460:14:48

-Yeah, that's just about where it starts to pull.

-'Copy that.'

0:14:520:14:57

That would be good.

0:14:570:15:00

Jade's happy with the wire, but he's worried about the wind and rain.

0:15:000:15:04

Similar situation tomorrow...

0:15:040:15:07

I would advise Helen not to go.

0:15:070:15:09

I'd rather not put anybody else at risk, especially not my riggers,

0:15:090:15:12

who would have to rescue her if something happened tomorrow.

0:15:120:15:15

We've got to hope the conditions are good for tomorrow, for Helen.

0:15:170:15:21

The wire is ready, but am I?

0:15:210:15:24

If I fall off the wire and I'm hanging underneath it

0:15:260:15:29

and someone has to drag me back on it or drag me across, then...

0:15:290:15:33

I will have failed.

0:15:330:15:36

Yeah, I can get back on and have another go - sure I can - but...

0:15:360:15:39

in my head, I'll have failed.

0:15:390:15:41

And that's the worst thing.

0:15:410:15:44

It's the day of the walk.

0:15:470:15:49

In an hour's time, I'll be stepping out

0:15:490:15:51

on a wire over Battersea Power Station.

0:15:510:15:54

Conditions are wet and windy.

0:15:560:16:00

There it is.

0:16:000:16:01

There's Battersea.

0:16:010:16:03

The wind's coming on to the side. It'll push her one way or another.

0:16:030:16:07

Uh-oh.

0:16:070:16:08

Have you considered for a second what you're actually doing today?

0:16:100:16:14

The pressure on me feels enormous.

0:16:210:16:25

I am a bit scared.

0:16:250:16:27

She needs to trust herself.

0:16:280:16:30

She needs to trust her time with me.

0:16:300:16:34

This is it.

0:16:340:16:36

I do feel a bit sick.

0:16:360:16:37

-I've just got to do it.

-Yes, do your thing. Do your thing.

0:16:430:16:47

I don't think she will be able to do it, cos tight-rope walking

0:16:470:16:52

is what you have to learn for years till you're really good at it.

0:16:520:16:55

It's going to be tough.

0:16:550:16:57

I set out to do a job. Now it's time to finish the job.

0:17:010:17:05

Oh, it's so windy.

0:17:200:17:23

Now I'm like, "OK, I just want this over with.

0:17:250:17:27

"Let's get across to the other side,

0:17:270:17:29

"put this to bed and everyone can have a nice time."

0:17:290:17:32

It is the freakiest thing I've ever had to deal with.

0:17:370:17:41

It's a sheer drop and I'm walking on a piece of wire.

0:17:410:17:45

This is so intense.

0:17:450:17:47

-What's the name of the game?

-To stay on the wire.

0:17:510:17:54

The game of the game is to stay on the wire.

0:17:540:17:58

Take it all in.

0:18:060:18:08

This is it.

0:18:080:18:10

This is your one chance.

0:18:120:18:14

Come on, Helen!

0:18:140:18:15

When you're ready, Helen.

0:18:160:18:18

It's in your hands.

0:18:200:18:22

-OK.

-Keep your eyes out in front.

0:18:220:18:26

Move your fingers.

0:18:370:18:39

One step in front of the other - that's how we get to the other side.

0:18:390:18:45

I've got you in my ear now, so I can hear you.

0:18:580:19:01

This girl's amazing, isn't she?

0:19:070:19:09

Relax your shoulders. There you go.

0:19:160:19:19

Pull your arms in.

0:19:190:19:22

'The wire is wobbling, and I know I'm doing it.

0:19:350:19:38

'I need to take control.'

0:19:380:19:40

She's a bit nervous,

0:19:440:19:46

but she's using all the techniques that I've taught her.

0:19:460:19:51

-Mate!

-Am I really seeing this?

0:20:050:20:09

Am I really seeing this?

0:20:090:20:11

That's our mate up there. That's Helen doing that.

0:20:110:20:14

I don't think there's an easy or hard part in the whole walk.

0:20:340:20:37

She's looking good. She was a little nervous -

0:20:370:20:41

"Where am I, what am I doing up here?" Now she knows where she is.

0:20:410:20:44

Slow down on the pulley.

0:20:540:20:56

It's "do something funny for money", but I'm not finding it funny.

0:21:000:21:04

-ANDY:

-I'm not finding it funny at all.

0:21:040:21:07

At all.

0:21:070:21:09

'The wind is really starting to pick up. I feel totally exposed.'

0:21:180:21:24

Ah, wind, please go away.

0:21:240:21:27

You can do it. You can do it. You can do it.

0:21:310:21:34

Come on, Helen!

0:21:340:21:36

'I'm out on a limb, but I've only got one place to go.

0:21:390:21:42

'As the uphill gets steeper, my arms are burning.'

0:21:560:22:00

-She's about three metres from the end.

-Oh, mate!

0:22:150:22:18

Come on, Helen.

0:22:180:22:20

'I know I'm almost there, but I daren't look up.

0:22:300:22:33

'I need to focus more than ever.'

0:22:330:22:36

SHE SCREAMS

0:23:180:23:20

Yes!

0:23:200:23:22

Thank you.

0:23:320:23:33

I'm so relieved! Honestly, I hated that at the start.

0:23:410:23:44

The first few metres, I was like, "Get me off here!"

0:23:440:23:47

Only reason I didn't go back was "I can't let Jade and Brian down".

0:23:470:23:51

At the end, I really started to enjoy it.

0:23:510:23:53

I'm absolutely gobsmacked. I'm blown away.

0:23:550:23:58

Someone who's only had 22 days' training.

0:23:580:24:01

When she was out there, she was so focused.

0:24:010:24:03

She nailed it first time. It's incredible.

0:24:030:24:06

Wonderful, wonderful.

0:24:060:24:08

You make me proud. You make me proud.

0:24:080:24:11

Job done! The UK's highest-ever wire walk by a woman.

0:24:110:24:16

Well done! So proud of you. Amazing.

0:24:160:24:19

Well done. Absolutely brilliant.

0:24:190:24:22

Helen's challenge is to walk 150 metres between the two furthest chimneys of Battersea Power Station in London, Europe's largest brick building, now run-down and very exposed to the elements.

Even rigging the wire is a formidable challenge, but the big question is whether Helen will have the bravery to step onto a wire only 1.8cm thick, suspended 70 metres above the ground.

Plus we see how money raised for this year's Red Nose Day will help children facing extreme poverty in Uganda.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS