Documentary looking back on the eight day swim that comedian David Walliams undertook for Sport Relief 2012. Providing the inside story and exclusive behind the scenes access.
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The River Thames. Britain's most iconic river.
But it was never meant to be a 140-mile-long swimming pool.
Until comedian David Walliams decided to swim it for Sport Relief.
'I chose the Thames cos I thought it would be an amazing challenge.'
I thought it would capture people's imaginations.
Cos most people in the UK know the Thames, have seen it.
And I know people like to see people off the TV suffer!
And suffer he did.
This is the inside story of what David went through.
Your body's not meant to do this much swimming...day after day.
Putting his body through agony...
The whole purpose of this challenge was to try replicate
what it feels like to be 80-years-old on a continual basis!
Testing his determination in eight days of incredible highs...
I've never applauded him before, isn't that the odd thing?
I've been to lots of his shows.
..and terrible lows.
-How you feeling?
-Like I'm going to vomit.
That is one very tired, sick man.
David's challenge is as epic as it is daunting.
He is aiming to swim a gruelling 140 miles down the Thames
from rural Gloucestershire to Central London.
To stand any chance, David has to juggle the day job
with up to ten hours a week swimming.
-What do you think about...?
-I think mainly about you.
-I am very touched!
-Sometimes about Matt, but mainly you!
This is history in the making.
This is the first-ever bomb into the Olympic pool.
And that is how the Olympic ceremony's going to start,
with an overweight transvestite comedian
bombing into the Olympic pool!
I do think there's something powerful about doing something hard.
Because if you really put yourself out there,
I think the public are likely to engage a bit more, and think,
"Oh, he must be doing this for a really good reason."
I think people just think I'm not the kind of guy who would do that,
Because I'm quite effeminate and don't look particularly, like, fit,
it comes as a real surprise to people that I've got this kind of resolve.
This isn't David's first charity endurance swim.
-Best of luck, son.
-If I don't see you again, you've been a very good father.
-You've been a wonderful mother.
In 2006 he swam the Channel, and raised over £1 million
for projects Sport Relief supports, here and abroad.
'In the documentary there's a really nice clip of my dad applauding,
'and that's what you want more than anything in life, I think,
'is to make your parents proud.'
But my dad died three years ago,
so it's just my mum now.
This is going to be hard, and this is going to be harder for me
because Peter was here for the Channel swim,
and he was there, and he was so proud of him.
And when I think of Peter just really enjoying the day,
and being there and being so proud of David,
that was fantastic.
The Thames is a whole new challenge.
To prepare him, Professor Greg Whyte will be training David.
For me, the visibility is worse than it has been in the Channel
-Yes, it is worse.
-No doubt about it.
Former Olympian Greg is an endurance specialist
and knows all about the difficulties of river swimming - unlike David.
The first thing that struck me when I jumped in was there is no visibility.
When I jumped in, I was like, "It's black! What's happened?! I've died!"
I didn't realise. I've just died and it's black. Oh.
But the temperature of the water is, what, about 15, 16?
-You told me, when we started,
"Oh, it's going to be about 22 or something."
And you also said, "It's almost TOO hot!" That's what he said to me!
A little bit of cold, and a little bit of poor visibility, you want to man up.
Would be wrong if I dropped out now?
David's eight-day challenge starts in rural Lechlade,
in the heart of the Cotswolds, near to the source of the Thames.
"I'm a Lech-lady!" Very good! Thank you very much!
-Wow! Another cake! That's beautiful!
To be honest, I'd be demoralised if no-one had come to see me.
Come on, who's taking the picture?
This is ultimately all about trying to raise money,
and awareness. If no-one cared that I was going to get in and swim,
the whole thing, for me, would be pointless.
And the amount of money he's going to raise is astounding.
Is just an amazing thing he's doing,
so that's one of the reasons we're down here.
Plus, she fancies him!
David's supermodel wife Lara
and mum Kathleen are in Lechlade to see David start his big swim.
-Take care of yourself.
-I love you.
'You wouldn't be normal if you weren't anxious for somebody.'
-Because he's my son...
..and mothers are anxious for their children,
whatever age they are and whatever they do.
-Lara, do you feel the same?
-Of course I feel the same.
I don't think anyone would want their husband to spend ten hours a day
in the freezing cold River Thames!
No, it's not a pleasant thought.
As the crow flies,
it's only 57 miles to Central London,
but the way the Thames meanders means, to get there,
David must swim 140 miles.
It's like swimming the Channel every day.
I've just got to sort of chip a bit off, you know?
Day one, just take it two hours at a time,
pause, have a quick drink, half an hour.
Then two hours. Just blocks. I think it's the only way you can do it.
If you get in and think, "This is mile one of 140,"
it would be overwhelming.
Is he coming? He's got this very determined streak in him, I think.
And as well, I think he thinks you don't let people down.
If you say you're going to do something, you do it.
You don't sort of, "Oh, I don't feel like that today, I won't bother."
His father was quite a determined sort of person.
I think perhaps both of us are that way inclined.
You know, we don't give up on things easily.
If things go wrong, we try and sort something out and get it done.
To finish, David will have to overcome many hurdles.
The Thames is full of debris,
and, just the day before, 300 tons of raw sewage was pumped into it,
so the risk of infection is high.
But the immediate danger
is the unseasonably cold temperature of the water.
We know what water temperature is, it's 15 degrees centigrade.
That's two degrees lower than the Channel. It's incredibly cold.
He's going to have to survive that for 140 miles.
The cold was always going to be a problem.
David's choice to swim without a wetsuit
has turned out to be the wrong decision.
'It really depletes you when it's freezing cold.
'Not only physically, but mentally as well.
'And all I was thinking was, "It's cold, it's cold, it's cold."
'That's all I was thinking about.'
Don't worry about the shivering, because that's natural. It's shivering thermogenesis.
David is suffering from the early stages of hypothermia.
He's got what's called the after-drop,
so the body temperature, as you exit the water, plummets very rapidly,
and what he's doing now is the body responds by shivering to create heat.
'It's not nice going into hypothermia and shivering,'
because your body is out of control.
'Obviously you're shivering because your body is trying to get warm,
'but it's a really frightening feeling.'
All I could think about for the first hour or so, was just how cold it was,
-and it was awful because it really puts you off.
-It eats you.
I couldn't think of anything else other than how cold it was.
I could see you were blue on your back.
That's cos I'm part Smurf!
# Just keep on, keep on swimming
# Just keep on, keep and swimming
# Just keep on, keep on swimming
# And don't look back any more. #
Nice to see you!
-I'm a rock star.
-Aren't you cold?
I am quite cold, but sometimes I'll tell you a secret -
I wee in my wetsuit.
CHEERING Don't tell anyone!
But sometimes I wee in it, and that warms me up.
Best not to do it in your clothes now,
cos it doesn't have the same effect!
-I'm going to get back in.
-Thanks a lot.
See you soon. APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
The public are turning up in their droves to support David
and give money to Sport Relief by texting a donation or giving cash.
Three months before the swim, David went to Kisumu in Kenya,
to see where some of the money will go.
Of the 160,000 people who live in this town,
20,000 are children sleeping rough.
One little orphaned boy called Philip
made a particularly big impression on David.
-You've brought me here - this is where you sleep?
-This one is ours.
-So you all sleep together to keep warm?
This is in the middle of two really, really busy, noisy roads.
Is it safe here to sleep?
Yeah, here is safe to sleep because there is security there.
There's security there for the mall, so that's why you chose this place?
Yeah, because of some comes to disturb us, someone goes to tell him.
I couldn't imagine in a million years,
anyone thinking that this is OK that these kids sleep like this.
Philip's parents died four years ago,
and had no option but to live on the streets.
To survive, he scavenges for anything he can find to sell.
-What about this?
-I'll take it. I have another one of them.
And then you try and sell these bits, do you?
-Yes, I sell them to get money.
-So you can buy food?
When Philip can't find enough junk,
he has no other choice but to beg for food.
-So you eat leftovers?
What, do you come into this restaurant here?
THEY SPEAK THEIR OWN LANGUAGE
Is he going to give you a bit of his food?
'When you see children... Philip is 12.
'When I think of the kids in my family, I've got a couple of nephews,
'and the thought that they would be in a situation like that
'is just so, so horrific.'
And then you'll eat that a bit later? There wasn't much there.
'When you're told that there are 20,000 kids on the streets in Kisumu,
'it's hard to process that.
'But when you meet them as individuals, it's much more affecting.
'And that's one of the things that spurs you on.'
David is two hours behind schedule.
The freezing conditions have slowed him down,
and the safety team are worried about the risks of him swimming in the dark.
Trainer Greg goes in to pick up the pace.
Greg's supporting and encouraging him.
He's in a lot of pain right now.
And he's trying to keep the pace,
to keep him going at a pace which will get us through before darkness.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING
It's so unbelievably gruelling.
Not just swimming that distance, but also being that cold.
I really don't like failing, and on the first day,
being 2.5 miles behind was a real drag, and suddenly I was thinking,
"We're not going to do this in eight days, it will be nine or ten days."
We're starting a huge day of swimming already feeling rough.
Cos, you know, my arms,
my back and my neck... Thank you.
..is all really achy.
So it's like, I've got to start a 20-mile day of swimming
in that state, rather than being fresh.
It's a big day. It's a really big day.
We're up at six o'clock in the morning,
for what was going to be an 18.5-mile day,
but we have two miles to try to squeeze up, if possible.
So it's going to be a longer day today.
And the weather forecast is horrendous.
What's going to keep me going on these really long swims
is actually the thought of food.
Because when you're doing lots of exercise, you think,
"I can actually eat anything I like!"
Because you're burning the calories.
So all the time I'm in there, I'm just thinking, "Right, I'm going to have...
"some chocolate. At lunchtime I'm going to have a burger and chips,
"and I'll have a pizza." I'm going to eat all these bad foods
you're not meant to eat, for energy.
Blimey. What have we got in the way of food?
-We've got that lady's cake.
-Chocolate. We've got some cake.
I'd like to have a bit of that lady's cake cos it was so nice.
The Times say, "Fundraiser Walliams
"finds the Thames a chilling experience.
"The comedy star, 40-years-old... blah, blah..."
-They always put your age in papers.
-Why is that?
-Good coverage. What's this one?
-This is the Sun.
-And I get a thing in the "Sun Says", which I'm very pleased about.
"Such selfless dedication demands our admiration."
-That's THE SUN saying that.
-See what I mean?
-That's nice, isn't it?
It is, it's very nice.
-David! David! David!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
When I heard that he was swimming, he inspired me,
and I feel happy that he's doing stuff for children who don't have much.
He's got a lot of guts to swim all that way.
-A lot of strength.
-He does deserve a break.
The repetitive motion of front crawl is causing muscle damage,
so David needs hard physio at every break to try and relieve the pain.
It's a very tough schedule.
What we don't want to do is accumulate lost miles.
So what we want to do is make sure that if we lose miles,
we catch them up soon as we can.
Preparing for this relentless schedule was crucial.
MUSIC: Theme from "You Only Live Twice"
Three weeks before the Thames challenge,
Greg took David to Lake Annecy in France.
It was no holiday - just mile after mile of arduous swimming.
It's just, you know, it's tough going.
I like swimming, but it's knackering.
It'd be a long way to walk or run, wouldn't it?
Swimming is really knackering.
This boot camp isn't just about training,
it's also about being prepared mentally.
What happens is it starts off physical, the training is incredibly physical, getting ready for it,
and as we get closer to the challenge,
the training gets tougher and tougher, and it becomes much more psychological.
He's such a show off, isn't he?
'For David, it has been really very difficult.'
There's been so much training and so much practising for months and months,
and every day he has to go swimming for hours and hours.
I don't know how he does it.
'Yes, I think he's going to complete it.'
He's so stubborn, he's not going to give up just like that!
And he's been training so hard.
The thing is, what's it going to be like
day three, four, five, six, seven of the Thames?
That's what I worry about.
I've said I'll do it, so I can't get out of it now.
Back in the Thames, day two is proving
to be exhausting for David.
His body is struggling with the demands of the swim.
He's running out of time to get to the final stop at Abingdon.
-Well done, David, keep going!
-Give me a minute!
I just felt very sort of desperate and alone in there,
and I did get stressed.
What time is it?
It is 8 o'clock on the dot. Good work. Really good.
'And I suppose I thought I was failing, you know?'
I was still behind, it was getting dark,
and I was probably most frustrated with myself.
We've got to make sure that you're going to be finishing in daylight.
We shouldn't have let you do it tonight.
All those people - it was fantastic - wanted to get you to the end,
but we can't let you swim in the dark again.
We were till 8:30pm in that lock, and it was too dangerous.
I'd been swimming for probably ten hours, I was really cold,
and I suppose it's when you've been giving everything you've got,
but it's just not been enough.
HE GRUNTS AND GROANS
Day three, and on top of exhaustion and muscle pain,
David has been struck down by sickness.
I just don't think I can eat any more. I just feel so sick.
Get some fluid down then for me.
And take that vitamin, too, get that down you.
And it is so hot in here,
it might be worth going outside for a little wander.
The medical team think David has swallowed bacteria
washed into the river after yesterday's torrential rain.
-How much has he actually eaten this morning?
David might still eat.
This is not a guy who gets up in the morning
and waits till lunchtime to eat. He likes to eat.
Exercise is energy-led.
You have to have energy on board, and that is catastrophic.
When you're feeling really sick, what you should be doing
is just lying in bed, with your mum bringing you Lucozade and Rich Tea biscuits.
At no point does your mum say what you should really do is go swimming in a river.
And also, knowing that you are so far behind,
it's really demoralising. And you start feeling sorry for yourself
when you're ill, as well. But unfortunately Greg made me get back in.
So I didn't really have much choice!
-How are you feeling?
-Just like I'm going to vomit.
That is one very tired, sick man.
And we're squeezing everything we can out of him at the moment.
'There's a point sometimes when you're really sick
'that you're almost begging to die because it's such a terrible feeling.
'I really felt, at certain points, that I was sinking.'
-Are you worried about him, Greg?
-Yeah, seriously worried,
because he's not a guy that gives up.
And he's not feeling good.
'But I just thought, if I CAN put one arm in front of another,
'then I can get nearer to the finish line.
'And as long as I could still do that,
'I was still achieving something.'
-Come on, David! Well done, David!
'With someone in David's situation, what's the best thing to do?'
The best thing to try and do is stop swimming and go home
and lie down! He doesn't have that choice.
He's got diarrhoea, he's losing fluids, he's not able to eat,
so he's got no energy. And it's a downward spiral from there.
-How's the sickness feeling?
-I feel so sick.
Is it getting a little bit better?
No, my stomach feels totally churned up.
David is given an anti-sickness tablet
to try and settle his stomach.
-Just leave it there.
I've got soup at the next stop, and hot chocolate.
Anything else in particular? Anything running through your mind at all?
-I can't hear you.
-I can't hear you.
So I can say whatever I like now?
-Here's something to cheer you up. The total so far.
Bordering on quarter of a million.
It's good, it's all worth it. Making a big difference. Keep it together.
Hearing the current total is a timely reminder
of why David is putting himself through this.
To raise as much money as he can
to help vulnerable adults and children, here and abroad.
Kids just like Philip - the 12-year-old homeless boy
David met in Kisumu in Kenya,
who is one of thousands in this city with no home.
But there's one place Philip and his friends can feel safe.
The HOVIC Centre,
a project Sport Relief supports that offers an education and shelter.
That's very good, isn't it?
Thank God there is somewhere that these kids can come
and brush their teeth and have a wash and have something to eat.
How's your breakfast? Nice?
This is the one place Philip can call home since being orphaned.
Does it feel very different, the life you had four years ago,
when your mum and dad were alive?
-And do you think about your mum and dad a lot?
-Sometimes I'm just alone.
It's OK to be sad.
-I think they'd be very proud of you.
Living in this very, very difficult situation.
You are an amazing little boy.
May I have a hug?
I don't like failing.
Um...I'm thinking about, you know,
the people I met in Kenya, on the last trip I did with Sport Relief,
and how the money will help people. And I just don't want to give up.
You know? I mean, I sort of do.
If there were no consequences,
if I could just stop and no-one would mind, I would.
But I feel like I'd be letting people down.
That is so undignified.
The whole purpose of this entire challenge
is to try and replicate what it feels like
to be 80-years-old on a continual basis!
The anti-vomiting tablet starts to kick in.
-David! David! David! David! David!
I thought I'd have to at least take this day out to get better,
but Greg was determined that we could push on.
But I don't think I could have done it without that pill.
I didn't feel good,
but at least I didn't feel like I was going to throw up.
-# BBC Radio 1! #
David pushes on into the afternoon of day three.
His sickness is big news, and Radio 1 are keen to talk to him
about how he's feeling.
-DAVID CROAKS: 'Hello, my darling.'
'I've had a bit of a tough day today.'
'I was really a bit tearful, Scott, I don't mind telling you.'
'It's awful because you've got targets to reach places to get to -
-'it's a lot of pressure.'
-Are you going to play ABBA for me today?
You keep saying you're going to play a song for me,
and it's always the songs that YOU want, never the ones that I want.
'It's just the ones on the playlist.'
I bet YOU like Dancing Queen by ABBA.
-It's probably the best song ever recorded.
-'It's a brilliant song.'
-You know it was written about me?
"DANCING QUEEN" PLAYS ON SPEAKERPHONE
# You can dance, you can jive
# Having the time of your life
# Oooh, see that girl
# Watch that scene
# Diggin' the dancing queen
# Diggin' the dancing queen... #
Hello. Do you want to give me that baby?
-Oh, I'd love to.
-A beautiful baby.
-Well, nice to meet you.
I'll take that!
BOAT HORNS HONK
'It's been a day of two halves.'
There'll be plenty of people watching, saying, "Why didn't Greg
"stop him from getting in the water? Why did he make him get in the water?"
But it's because sometimes you've just got to push through it.
We've lost four miles today, but to turn that on its head,
if you take a look at the first session of today,
actually, for me, he's had 12 bonus miles today
because actually it looked like he wasn't going to do anything at all today.
I'm really overwhelmed. I'm just glad he's OK now.
He seems all right, but I've been so worried all day
and I feel so bad I couldn't be with him.
But he's clearly very, very, very brave.
'The thing that's been astonishing is the people coming out to see me.'
I've never had such appreciation.
I've played arenas with Matt on the Little Britain Live Tour,
which was incredible, but it's different, you know.
They've come to see as show and you entertain them for two hours
and, at the end, they show their appreciation.
But just for people, all those people, to come and just see
you kind of do a bit of swimming and then get out of the water and wave...
I've never known anything like it.
I mean, you know, it's not just down to me being on TV.
It's the challenge,
it's the fact that it's sort of struck a nerve with people.
David's Thames tummy from yesterday
means he is four miles behind schedule.
Today, he has to swim flat-out
to Reading, 18 miles away.
-I knew these middle days would be the hardest.
It's nice there are still people out to support me. I'm just very stiff.
-Your body's not meant to do this much swimming in one day,
day after day.
Right, do the other side.
-It's like someone's punched you repeatedly in the arm.
Can I have a kiss? You're all wet.
That was quite lingering.
-You want more?
-No, thank you.
Thank you very much.
It was quite a long time,
kissing somebody you've just met.
-Come on David!
-Come on, David!
David pushes on towards Reading, the half-way mark,
and the crowds seem to be getting bigger and bigger.
It's really taken off and captured people's imaginations.
But I'm really glad because it's been really hard work.
I must say, if I'd done all this and no-one cared,
I would have felt a bit stupid, so I'm glad.
But it's been bigger than I thought.
You know, people have wanted to come out and see me.
It feels like a real sort of British event.
I'm like a sort of one man amphibian Royal Wedding,
with people sort of waving and cheering.
You know, they're waving their Union Jacks from the banks,
so somehow I've... I don't know. It's like Britishness.
Some sort of expression of Britishness.
I suppose the eccentricity.
People of Reading! CHEERING
This is David Walliams off the TV.
LAUGHTER AND CHEERING
Thank you so much for coming out to support me
and this fantastic cause, Sport Relief.
I've seen how your money can help people living in poverty
in the UK and around the world.
So you all coming out to support me means a lot.
And let's not forget the people it's helping,
because me swimming is really quite boring. LAUGHTER
But helping people living in poverty is exciting. Thank you very much.
This is my team, my wetsuit team.
I've got three young guys here who won a competition on Radio 1
to put a wetsuit on me.
-Having a lovely old time!
-The lucky winners(!)
I hand-picked them personally,
from the photos they sent in.
-Only open to boys.
-You've put me right off!
We were running out and we were thinking, "Are we going to see him?
And then, all of a sudden, you just hear this massive cheer
-"He's round the corner!"
-Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
It was quite remarkable.
I know he swam the channel, which is a flipping good thing to have done.
Amazing. I must say, he keeps going all the time with Delhi belly
or whatever he's got, Thames trouble.
When you live in the home counties and not in the big city,
you're not normally part of things like this. It's great to be
more out in the sticks and be part of a challenge...
A little village like Shiplake, this is exciting.
We'll be talking about this for a long time.
I have to say, my kids thought that we were coming out
to support Robbie, Williams, so...(SNORTS)
Slight disappointment on their part then.
It's lovely waving at people you've never met,
but it's also really nice to see a friendly face.
Ha-ha! This is insane. Hey, David!
'I was genuinely, really beaming when I saw Jimmy Carr,
'because he always makes me laugh, he always makes me smile.'
How are you?
It's Jimmy Carr!
Thank you, thank you.
'I sponsored you for 50p,'
-but per length.
-It's only one...
-I mean, it's fine. I will pay if you finish.
Will you do something again, do you think, to help others?
No, no I don't think so. I've given it quite a lot of thought.
That isn't just off the top of my head.
David Walliams, everyone! He's from television.
David, do one of your catchphrases. There's an audience.
It's a weird thing now to see a friend
become as famous for doing this as he is for his comedy.
Yeah, it's odd, isn't it?
Come on, David! And the other fella!
You know, I've seen him a bit this year in...
It's that thing of, "Are you coming out tonight?
"Coming out to dinner?" "No, I can't.
"I've got to get up at six and be in a lake."
"Oh, right. We're going to dinner."
"Sure you want to go in a lake? It doesn't sound as good."
"We're going somewhere nice." "No, lake."
It's weird how many things he's got going.
He does the comedy thing, he does the children's book thing.
That's been weirdly... Who knew?
Who knew people would want to buy a children's book off him?
I think it's weird.
But he's got a very nice line and, actually,
the children's books are all about the self-loathing,
all about feeling a bit strange, like you don't quite belong.
David's taken that feeling of "I don't quite fit in"
and he's used it to his advantage, whether through comedy and seeing
the world in a different way or through something like this where
you've got a sort of singular determination.
You know, a real, "Right, I'm going to do this despite what they say."
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Oh, what's that?
David has fully recovered from his sickness, but is still in pain.
The rubbing from the wetsuit has stripped the skin
off the back of his neck.
Have you noticed, David? I'm not crying like a baby. Here, look.
Hard, mate. Ah, god!
Ooh! That really is hurting. Holy schmoly!
-Perfectly good reaction.
That really does hurt, doesn't it?
Yeah. I mean, it's worse than what we had,
the original pain. This new pain that you create.
It really, really does hurt. Ooh!
At least the ever increasing crowds keep coming.
I got into the habit of thinking,
"Well, if there's people, I'll wave."
You know, because you'd occasionally get them at bridges and places.
And then it became like certain places,
it was just all people along the side and then I had to just...
I was thinking, "Right, who are you going to wave to?"
"You've got to swim. It can't all be waving."
So I think, "OK, someone with a sign."
They get a wave because they've put some work in
to that sign. OK, kids get a wave.
And then someone with a flag gets a wave
and I'm like, "Oh, no. That's still too many people."
I would swim for a bit and then wait and then wave.
And then Greg would tell me get a move on and stop waving!
How far is he?
I think you can hear from the cheers of the crowd on the other bank
that David Walliams is just round the bend of the Thames.
Marlow was incredible,
because I was swimming in to be live on TV,
so there were probably even more people there
because they heard about it through The One Show.
And there was synchronised swimmers, there was Angela Rippon.
And his wife, obviously the first person to greet him
and give him a big kiss.
-I know, sorry. My wife has to come first.
-Of course she has.
David, you must be so pleased to get your feet on dry land.
Oh, definitely. What an amazing turn out of people in Marlow.
There's a lot of people missing The One Show tonight to be here.
'And then I was taken round in a boat to wave at people.
'Never in my life has waving in itself been enough.'
I've had to sort of do something,
'like say something funny or dress up.'
I'll have my own little Dave-mobile soon, for waving at people.
'It was incredible.'
I've never had that before
and it was really overwhelming.
At that point, I thought maybe the swim should be extended.
Maybe I should keep going for the rest of my life,
and pop up in places and wave to people
if I'm going to get this kind of adulation.
The next stretch of David's challenge is from Marlow to Windsor.
London is almost in touching distance.
It's a 17 mile swim, so he will need lots of energy.
I think three. Three sachets, don't you think?
He probably needs 16 if he's swimming the Thames,
but three's going to have to do.
I can't believe
that this is what we're doing
for a man who's swimming the Thames.
That this is what he gets.
Me ripping sachets of some
probably slightly bland porridge.
It's just kind of highly skilled.
When he decided to swim the Channel, I remember him saying
that he just wanted to give something back.
He was never sporty at school, and that's what's amazing.
To do something like this, which is all about just getting
through the day and seeing what you and your body and your spirit
and your soul can cope with, it kind of reminds us
how the people we're raising money for are living.
You know, because that's how they're living. Just getting by, very poor.
So I think it also reminds me of that.
David's fans continue to flock to the banks,
but one in particular gets a bit too close for comfort.
I was swimming along and then this...
I heard this plop behind me and I thought,
"Ooh, has somebody got in the water?" And then I saw it was a dog.
I love dogs and I sort of doggy-paddled along with it.
That was sweet.
Then the dog tried to get out of the water and couldn't,
and the owner tried to pull it
by the sort of harness lead thing.
And then that broke,
so then I swam back and pushed the dog up onto the bank.
Yeah, David Walliams saved my dog.
-No, I didn't expect that!
Oh, my God! Oh, my God!
-He can't eat that!
He's been swimming for five days.
He can't have that!
I think I've done quite well in making you...
-There's no spoon even.
-It's meant to be porridge.
Do you want to eat it with my glasses? They've got a nice bowl.
-What is this?
-You could maybe...
-Why have you come here?
-Just to torment me?
-To help, look!
Have a croissant, darling.
-Dip it with a croissant.
What I actually need to tell you is...
-What have you put in it?
-Porridge and water.
Why have you done this to me?
Because I thought you needed this level of support.
# Well, I won't back down
# No, I won't back down
# You can stand me up at the gates of hell
# But I won't back down
# Gonna stand my ground
# Won't be turned around
# And I'll keep this world from dragging me down...#
I'm here for you!
David's remarkably disciplined and remarkably focused.
He's seriously one of the most focused people I've ever known.
-Have you done your Ronnie Corbett impression?
-Not yet, no.
-Have you done your Tom Jones?
When he did his cross-Channel swim,
he was training for that while he was on tour.
So it was amazing that I don't think he missed a single training session
when he was doing that, so he really is a very driven, very focused,
very determined, stubborn,
unpleasant, nasty man. That's how I would sum him up.
-What's the worst part of it?
Maybe just the pain in my arms and shoulders because
your body's not designed to do that for ten hours a day.
Yeah. You've done a lot of things
your body's not designed to do though, to be fair.
-And you've not complained before.
-No, I know!
-If anything, you've...
-You know, you've...
When are you going to do Ronnie Corbett?
If you think I'm so predictable that I would just fall into...
..a Ronnie Corbett...impression...
-Please, it would keep me going.
-RONNIE CORBETT VOICE: Ha-ha-ha!
I'll never forget the day! Ha-ha-ha! There was David,
swimming down the Thames.
I said, "Come in, the water's lovely."
-David Walliams! David Walliams! David Walliams!
Can I ask you some questions?
Can I ask you some questions?
David! You rude man!
Could I ask you some questions? Oi!
-Would you please give me some attention.
-I just wanted to chat to you for a minute.
-Well, I can't. I'm swimming.
-Is there going to be any more Little Britain?
-Right, well carry on.
-OK, thank you.
I'm doing OK.
I mean, it's hard, I'm finding it tiring, but I'm going to keep going.
It's just knowing all these people have come out to support me.
It got bad. We left the lock
about seven, eight minutes ago.
I think about two minutes in, it got really scary.
But I'm just going to keep going. I'm not going to give up.
I've got this idiot in front of me who keeps getting in the way.
I mean, I could do without that.
There's a new series of Strictly starting tonight, so get a move on!
I've never applauded him before, isn't that the odd thing?
I've been to lots of his shows.
It was fantastic. I actually cried.
Because to see all these people cheering him...
Still dark, but swim we must.
Today's goal is to get to Teddington lock,
marking the end of the non-tidal Thames.
It is 24 miles away.
David has never swam that far before in one day.
In the really dark periods, you know,
when Greg says dig deep after you've already swum 20 miles,
it's good to remember why you're doing it and what good it can do.
I've done loads of fun things as well,
you know for Comic Relief, sketches and things like that, but there's...
But the effect of doing something hard just seems greater to me.
It seems to resonate more with people.
-Hello, Mum. How are you?
-How are you?
-I'm all right, how are you?
'But it's amazing, I think, you know, the amount of people.'
-If people respond to you, you do better.
-Perform better, yeah.
You said that when you first did a school play
and you started to be a bit... Act up a bit that you thought, "This is great."
It's called showing off!
I don't think I've ever been quite so proud of him as what he's achieved this week.
I know his father would've been so proud.
Although he's successful in his professional life,
that he's so prepared to do things for other people.
That he hasn't thought, "Well, I'm where I am but I haven't got to give anything back."
The fact he's prepared to give things back makes you very proud.
# You said that I'm the best swimmer you've seen
# Give me a ring
# You sat there up on your high chair... #
CHEERING, APPLAUSE AND HONKING
David has already swum the equivalent of the Channel,
21 miles, but still has three to go.
But conditions are getting worse due to the after-affects
of a hurricane that has swept in from the Atlantic.
The point is now, he is...physically exhausted.
He's done, like, 124 miles by the time he finishes today, in seven days.
You can imagine the physical exhaustion that comes with that.
Add on top of that the psychological exhaustion. This is day after day.
Very little sleep and what sleep he is getting is pain sleep
because his body's in pain.
And the weather conspires to make it that much more miserable.
Come on, David!
You needed to get to Teddington Lock before it got dark.
I swam about 20 miles and then I was told that the light was fading.
It was just about to get dark and could I speed up?!
Which, when you've swum 20 miles and someone says, "Can you speed up?"
It's like, "I'll TRY!"
You've got to really drive it now, cos we haven't got much light left. You've really got to push it.
-Whoo! Whoo! Come on, David!
'I just thought in my head, "Right, how fast would you swim'
"if a shark was following you?"
I thought, "It'd be quite fast!" So I just thought of that.
Come on, David!
-David, David, David, David!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I mean, look. It's insane. There's thousands of people.
You just get goosebumps all over.
But I think he deserves it. He's a hero, he swam 124 miles in a week.
Swimming! That's ridiculous. He's never allowed to do it again.
It's the last day.
After more than 70 hours of relentless swimming,
David has 16 miles to go.
I CAN believe it's the last day
because I've been swimming for seven days
for 125 miles and I am ready for it to end.
So you go, "It's only 15 miles to go."
15 miles is a long way to swim!
How many people have swum 15 miles in a day? So...I can believe it.
My arms can believe it, my neck can believe it, my back...
I mean, it's just constant, constant pain now.
Nobody should ever swim in this stretch of the Thames.
It's far too hazardous. A law is being passed to ban it.
David is only able to do this because of the safety boats
that are watching him.
Getting in after Teddington Lock, I was definitely more nervous
cos if you stand on a bridge in central London
and look at the river,
there's no way you want to get in there and swim.
It's travelling really fast, it's really wide.
The water's brown and so...
I really was quite scared even though I was at the end.
I thought, "This is a much more hostile environment to swim in."
Once the tide turns it'll be too strong to swim against,
and he will have to get out and wait. It's not over yet.
I'm just thinking I hope nothing goes wrong,
I hope no-one drops a brick on me from a bridge or...
You know, I drown or the tide changes
or Godzilla comes out of the Thames or something cos then it's all over!
Stay nice and tight on that right, mate, OK? So straight in...
'So I'm just praying that everything just goes totally smoothly.'
Eight painful and exhausting days.
Swimming through seven long counties.
One dog saved.
Over 68,000 calories burned.
And a sea of people turning up to see the fastest man ever
to swim 140 miles of the River Thames.
Sometimes people write in articles, why on earth is he doing it?
I know exactly why I'm doing it
because I've seen how the money raised through Comic Relief
and Sport Relief helps people around the world and the people I met
and especially Philip, the homeless boy in Kenya.
That's my motivation. There is no other motivation for this.
I mean, it's amazing.
He has raised, without a doubt, in excess of £1 million.
He is the most remarkable man. Tremendous.
# We've got open arms
# For broken hearts
# Like yours, my boy
# Come home again. #
-David, David, David, David, David!
-# Everyone's here
-# We've got open arms
# Everyone's here. #
So proud that he's achieved this,
-I don't know where he gets all the strength from.
Somewhere deep down inside he finds it.
David was inspired to do this extraordinary challenge
by his trip to Kenya.
It costs just £5 to feed ten street kids there for a whole week.
Sport Relief does crucial work
helping vulnerable people at home and abroad.
Such a sense of relief.
When I saw that it was front page news on about four papers,
I was like, "Blimey!" This is big.
It was an incredible feeling. "I'm front-page news tomorrow!"
And it's not something bad, it's something good. Which is a change!
-I think I'll manage the trunks on my own!
-Are you sure?
Let's go and have a drink.
# We've got open arms
# For broken hearts
# Like yours, my boy
# The moon wants a scrap or a cuddle
# The moon is face down in a puddle
# And everyone's here. #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Documentary looking back on the eight day swim that comedian David Walliams undertook for Sport Relief 2012.
Providing the inside story and exclusive behind the scenes access, the documentary takes in all the highs and lows of the outstanding challenge that saw David pass through seven counties, make 111,352 strokes, burn 68,000 calories, battle a serious bacterial infection and even save a dog from drowning as well as enjoy visits from fellow comedians Miranda Hart, Rob Brydon and Jimmy Carr.