John Bishop takes the word 'triathlon' to new heights in an extraordinary physical and mental challenge for Sport Relief. John cycles, rows and runs from Paris to London.
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John Bishop is a comedian, not an athlete. He is about to take on a
unique challenge for Sport Relief. John is going to be the first
person ever to cycle... And wrote, run 295 miles between two of the
world's most famous cities. He will be Cycling the gruelling one London
85 miles from Paris to Calais. Rowing 26 back-breaking miles
across the English Channel and winning three marathons back-to-
back from Dover to London, all in just five days. I massively under
estimated this. A mass of the! The end result is worth having, I am
not prepared to stop. This is the story of John's extraordinary
journey. I will put �1 million he will finish this. The even the
waltzes are joining in. He is raising a lot of money by putting
himself through hell. A top man, doing a great thing. He is still my
dad, but he is like a national hero now. He will change so many lives.
The biggest problem for me is I have come out and there is a degree
of enthusiasm, to be honest with you, I was not expecting. I am in
London and as I am stood here facing 3,500 cock knees, trying to
pick my words carefully up is because the only words in my head
was "calm down". John Bishop is a 45-year-old comedian from Liverpool.
On the road for much of the year and constantly in demand. Success
came late for John after he made a radical decision to change his life.
Six years ago I was still doing a normal job. My whole life has
changed dramatically. I work for pharmaceutical company in the sales
and marketing department. I was doing the corporate life and doing
a bit of stand-up. I thought, if I don't do it, then I am not doing it
because I am married with three kids and a mortgage and everything
else. I am going to end up blaming my own kids for me not taking a
chance. I thought that is not the way to be because I will be in my
50 saying I could have done something, but I did not. Doing
stand-up comedy is the most joyful thing I have ever done in my life.
As regards to the comedy, that came out of the blue. He seems to hold
an audience. It is like he is sitting in a pub with his mates. I
don't know how he does it. I could not stand up and do a speech at a
family gathering. I don't know where he gets it from. It must be
the milkman. Growing up I was the youngest of four, growing up on a
council estate where there wasn't a lot of money. I wasn't able to have
the opportunity to do stuff. So when it comes to having a challenge
placed in front of me, it is a test of who you are as a person. Off on
a big adventure. This will be a true test of character and an
experience he will never forget. There is no going back, the point
of no return. What ever happens now This morning, John, is setting off
on his epic journey between does two of the world's most iconic
cities. It will take him five days to get home. I am anxious to get
going to be honest. I have to make sure I don't fail or end up in the
corner crying and sucking my thumb. Which I feel like doing! For world
champion cyclist, Chris Boardman is keeping John Company for the first
20 kilometres of his ride. He knows how hard the next 24 hours of going
to be, even if John doesn't. John is doing the equivalent of one of
the longest Tour de France stages. The weight of expectation on John
is massive. He will go by bike from Paris to Calais, then rode the
Channel, and in the UK will run three marathons in as many days to
get to the finish line. The people of Britain are following his every
move. He is oping to raise over a million pounds. But this to work,
he needs as much publicity as he can get. It starts now, 8:15am,
Monday morning. Good morning to Mr John Bishop. Good morning, how are
you? Here you are ready to cycle 185 miles in a date. Are we
starting you laugh? A apparently you are going to start me off. It
is time to get on my bike. He is putting on his glasses. Are you
ready? I am ready. You week of Health as Sport Relief starts in
It is manned isn't it. You are quite balanced on a bike. Being
able to go round the art a tree on foot was brilliant. Now I just
carry on to Calais. Good luck with that. Thanks for making the effort.
Have fun on your right. Chris, you are a start. Where is my police
gone? The last civilian. Chris has got John off to a great start. He
is in good spirits, even though he hasn't quite got the hang of his
Act some man just called me an idiot in French. I was trying to
balance like experienced riders do. The problem is, my thoughts is in
the clips, and if you lose your balance and you cannot get it out
quickly enough. That has dented my ego. I am glad Chris Boardman was
not here to see that. It would have been embarrassing. Let's get the
miles on. It is only 10:30am and John will be on his bike until
midnight at the earliest. If he is late into Calais, he will miss the
tide that will help carry the boat to Dover and that will be over
before it begins all John's training is for this.
He has to dig deep to keep going. Someone to talk to to break it up a
little bit. But, what can you do? John is putting himself through
this to help save lives. Sport Relief asked him to go to Sierra
Leone in Africa to see where the money is going. I might come here
today and just be so overwhelmed, I feel it is to bigger thing to put
right. It maybe I come away from this and say, it won't make any
difference at all. This is the only children's hospital in Sierra Leone.
It is fighting to keep children alive. Many die of malaria,
pneumonia and diarrhoea. All of which are preventable and treatable.
John is hoping to raise enough money to vaccinate a quarter of a
million children. On the way in, I did not know what to expect. You
think you have seen a lot in your life, but when you come to
somewhere like this. This is the raw end of what Sport Relief is.
This country has one of the worst child mortality rates in the world.
In Sierra Leone, diseases that are easily treated in the UK are
killers. You can only imagine what it feels like to know some of the
children in here are possibly not going to make it. On the morning
John was at the hospital, three children passed away from
preventable diseases. This little girl died from the effects of
diarrhoea. It is the hardest thing a mother could ever have to face.
The sound came out of her mum. Only a parent who has lost can make that
sound. This is here every single day, 365 days of the year. These
people are living it. When you see that, you just think anything,
anything that changes its and moves it up a little bit has to be a good
thing. I think I have come here at the right time. The training was
getting difficult, trying to train when it is freezing cold and then
all of a sudden you come in and you realise it makes it such a
difference. And it gives you a little bit of impetus. This trip to
Serie A owner was the focus John needed to us day training. Even
though it was the last thing he wanted to do. It is 7:30am, the
kids are getting up and I have got to go for an hour and a half runs.
The dog does not want to do it. That is exactly what I feel like.
His arduous regime has been planned by his coach, Professor Greg Whyte,
an expert in endurance training who will be supporting him all the way
to the finish line. He is pensive, it is about success and completing
the challenge. It has to be successful. So, to attend he has
got a lot of pressure on him. you tomorrow. Greg has devised a
three-month plan to get John fit. His first priority is to build up
his stamina by getting him running. Greg start him on 10 kilometre runs
which quickly build sou one, for Marathon. This is officially the
furthest on the longest I have ever ran in my life. I am not even being
chased. 27 miles, over a marathon. I am absolutely battered. I wish I
had something funny to say. He does look tired this morning, but he was
in bed by 8pm last night. He was falling asleep up the table. He is
ticking off his little homework. I am doing this, I am doing that.
the time he has finished, John will have run the distance between
Edinburgh and London, cycled the length of Britain and rode the
length of the Thames. When he rose across the Channel he will be
helped by Denise Lewis. I am not a great swimmer, I might drown.
Freddie Flintoff. It is a particularly enjoyable, I am not
sure Steve Redgrave likes it. Davina McCall. Oh my God, it is a
canoe. They have all done some individual training but have only
John knows it will be a mental and a physical battle. In my head, I
can do it. If I put it altogether I can't. I'm breaking it down. It
might be that half-way through it I just give up. But, all right, I
have got nothing left. I won't give up. That is the one thing I know I
won't do. I won't give up. There might be nothing left. I might not
be able to do it. John has been cycle on his own for the -- cycling
on his own for the last 80 miles. He is beginning to tire. Right now,
what he needs is some moral support. Let's make him a proper Scouser! I
know you are just an ordinary lad from Liverpool, but will you hurry
up so we can get to Calais? These are John's mates. They have helped
him with his training and have come to the half-way point in France to
push him on to Calais. There he is. APPLAUSE I'm glad to see you. This
is great. The whole set-up. Is this our tent or has someone been
murdered?! LAUGHTER The time is 6.10pm. We set off at 9.00am. We
have to do the same again, plus probably some time. As he slows, we
are looking at 2.00am. He has to be up at 6.00am to get in the boat and
row across the Channel. It is a mind game now. It will get tougher
Change your gear, John. Nice and steady. In spite of his friends'
best efforts, John has fallen an hour-and-a-half behind schedule. He
can't afford to be late at the coast as time and tide wait for no
John arrives at his last pit-stop before Calais. Tightening in his
back and neck muscles mean he is in constant pain. What time is it?
1.30am. How long have we been on the bike? We got on at 9.00am so we
have been on for 12, 13, 14, 15- and-a-half, 16-and-a-half hours.
We've got at least... We have two- and-a-half hours to go. It's good,
it is looking good. 25 miles away in Calais, John's welcoming
committee is waiting for him. Davina, Denise and Freddie all have
to be up at the crack of dawn, but they want to be there when John
# There's only one Johnny Bishop! # Never thought I would hear you lot
sing my name! The longest day in my life by a mile. It's been the
longest day in my life by a mile. There's still no sign of him. I'm
in two minds whether to wait or go to bed. I have to be fresh. He must
have had an horrific day. After a gruelling 18 hours on his bike,
John arrives in Calais at 4.00am, two hours before his alarm call.
I've only done 20% of the challenge! I have underestimated
this, massively. Today was hard. I'm absolutely goosed. I've had an
hour's kip. This is ridiculous. all John had in reserve was his
"power nap", he would be in big trouble. To stand a chance of
getting back to England before nightfall, he will need a little
help from his friends. I think the sense of responsibility, his bike
ride was much longer than anticipated. He is going to be
exhausted, tired, so it is like - I will be rowing for two people today
- that is my job! It is quite daunting. I'm not frightened. I
know I have trained hard. I have never been in a boat for more than
two-and-a-half hours at a stretch. It will be seven hours. I'm a bit
daunted. I want to get started. I have just been sat here. I want to
get in the boat and get home! and his crew now face an arduous
26-mile row across the English Channel. There are only four of
them in a boat designed for six and there are no pit-stops in the sea.
The Channel tides go up-and-down so if they go off course, they could
end up landing anywhere on the east coast of England. The good news is
that after last night's rain, the weather is dry and the sea is still
but John's not convinced. Apparently, this is meant to be
calm. Sleep-deprived and nauseous, John is relying on his fresh-faced
mates and cox, Mike Gilbert, who has rowed the Channel twice before.
Let's get this show on the road! just a little - listen up. You have
�285,000 in the bag! CHEERING don't have to do it now! Let's go
back! LAUGHTER �285,000! OK, come forward, standby to give way and
It is going to get choppy now. Really concentrate. There and away.
And there. And away. There. And These four are rowing rookies, but
they are in safe hands. The coastal authorities know what they are
doing and they have mike on the rudder. They are following his
every instruction, which includes swapping position in the boat every
hour. Sounds easy? Not so much for John in the state he is in. You all
right? We are six miles in, the one that I am worried about is John.
One hour's sleep and he is in the boat. He's looking a little bit
ropey. I think we might have broken him. Everybody OK? You are doing an
awesome job! You are flying. JB, how are you feeling?
hallucinating. Not surprised. talking to a dolphin! You are doing
awesome. Keep it going. As the team row hard for home, John's brain is
struggling to tell his body what to Easy. John's deteriorating rapidly.
Lack of sleep means his co- ordination has gone and even the
basics are getting too difficult for him. Freddie signals for help.
We are half-way across with John starting to flag badly. Worried
about the sleep deprivation. Energy levels are incredibly low. Even
Freddie is concerned about him. I'm a bit worried. He is not John
Bishop. I will try and give him some drugs to see if that is going
to work for him. If they can't give John the boost he needs to keep
going, Greg may be forced to take All the rowers can hope for is that
the high-energy supplements kick in and make him work as a team to help
Still with me, John? Mr Bishop, Sir. The power bars and painkillers
start to take effect. From somewhere, John finds the energy he
needs to keep on track for Dover. Thanks to the support of Mike the
cox and his friends, the end is in If the singing has not woken John
up, there is something on the horizon that will! It is not
looking good, this. Not looking too healthy. What shall we do? That is
enormous! Let's row! That's improved my energy levels seeing
After eight exhausting hours at sea, the team finally make it into
harbour. CHEERING I can hear people screaming. APPLAUSE They have rowed
26 back-breaking miles to get home and this leg of the challenge
nearly broke John. I don't know how he did the last
bit. Amazing. He really is. I can't believe he has three marathons to
do as well. It is great, to come home and get a reception. But just
in the middle, if I hadn't been with those three, I couldn't have
Finally, at 8.00pm, John arrives at his hotel. Before he can get much-
needed sleep, he needs an ice bath to repair any muscle damage he's
suffered since he started the challenge. We will go ten minutes,
OK? Today was tough. I definitely hit the wall today, no doubt about
it. The seeing double was scary. You look at your oar when you are
rowing and I was trying to pick one of the two! Mike the cox was
pulling me through and I got through it. I was quite emotional
at the end, to have shared that experience. I will never ever do
that again. None of us will. And then when we got in, there was a
crowd there, it was such a surprise. John is not even halfway through
his challenge. Ahead, perhaps the hardest bit yet. Three marathons in
as many days. How are you feeling? Tell-tale signs of a bit of a kit
and pains. I am shattered. Ouch. Now it is just a case of getting
going isn't it? In the last 48 hours, John has had just seven
hours sleep, and his body is showing signs of work. The doctor
places take which she will hope will help the flow of blood and
reduce the swelling. Thanks a million. Helping John set the pace
and drum up support in his first marathon is Comedy Dave from Radio
One. Now at last on home turf and the
British public are turning out to get behind him. Thanks very much.
The nice thing about here is hopefully, what will help you is
you will have people coming out on the street and it makes a big
difference. It really does give you a lift. It is just the boost John
needs. He is a Super man, and doing a wonderful thing to raise this
money. Absolutely amazing. It is harder to win that all day, my
shoulders will be knackered. Over the next three days, John will 182
miles to London and that is more than a marathon a day. Today's run
will take him through Ken's, over the North Downs to Faversham.
you OK? Thought it was all over then. That is what is good about
Sport Relief, that is the most exercise she has done in the number
of years. 6.5 miles from Dover and Comedy Dave hands the pacemaking
baton over to Dermot O'Leary. to see you. POW brilliance is
that?! -- how brilliant it is that. Unlike Dermot, John is a relatively
new face on television. His transformation from sales manager
to stand up came at a difficult time in his marriage to Melanie.
Melanie, we split up for two years. I had the kids every weekend. So,
Monday night's we just depressing. I bet. I went to a comedy club
because I thought it was something I could do on my own on a Monday. I
had no interest in comedy whatsoever. The man said, it is �4
to get in, will three of you put your name down to have a go?
Fortunately we got back together and I said to her, if I do enough
gigs, we can break even. John was fortunate enough to be in a
position to be able to change his life for the better. On his trip to
Africa earlier this year, he met a little girl who also want to change.
Kadiatu lives in Sierra Leone's bigger sum. Her home is right next
to a river and as there is barely any running water or sanitation,
people are forced to use it as a toilet. Can you explain where we
You can see why. Can you imagine asking your 11-year-old daughter to
go to the toilet into the river? The money Sport Relief has raised
has already paid for new taps providing clean, safe drinking
water, but so much more needs to be done. There is still no real sewage
system, so 600 people have to share each toilet. What are your worries
for the future? What are the things you worry about? You lost your
sister? Millions of children die unnecessarily every year from
water-borne diseases. Just come here for 10 minutes. Just stand
with Kadiatu and tell me you don't want to do something about it.
Sport Relief is helping to deliver clean water, vaccinations and
better education for kids here. What do you want to be when you
grow up? A lawyer? You want to be a I said, what do you want to be when
you grow up and she said a lawyer. I wanted to start crying. No one
wants a handout, they just want a Thanks everyone. John, this is
where I leave you. Dermot's stint is up and leaves John to run the
final 11 miles of his first marathon alone. He is a guy who
laughs at his unique way. That is a stand-up, compares it to his own
life. His focus is extraordinary. Gentlemen from the BBC has asked me
to give you this. Is this real? This is the total. Can you see
that? �600,000. It has blown me out of the water. 27 gruelling miles
are finally over and at the finish line in Faversham, the crowds are
out in force. He might be shattered, but the
crowds have kept him going. I think the generosity of spirit of the
English people. In France, I was isolated and we did a lot of it in
the dark. And obviously on the Channel there is no one there. In
some respects I am blown away by how many people even know what is
going on. John's biggest supporter is his wife, Melanie. She has been
closely following his progress so far on the internet. It has been
really upsetting. I watch the rowing today and I was crying.
has come down sooner than planned It is day number four, and it could
not be off to a worse start for johns. He has had a terrible night
at a time when he really needs his rest. I was very sick last night.
Apparently what happens, your body, if you over exercise, your body
reacts and refuses food. Still exhausted and with an empty stomach,
he starts his long-running day. From Faversham to Gravesend.
# Bishop but we love you #. John needs all of the help he can
get, so he has asked his wife to run with him for the first leg.
do you feel? Wrath. OK. Have you ever ran together at home? You used
to be really competitive. You did. No, you did. The three miles in and
we are having a domestic. John and Mel met at university and have been
married for 19 years. What is the secret, John? Spend a lot of time
away from home. Go on tour a lot. Mel has given him an early lift,
but three hours in, John is struggling to keep any sort of pace.
Thank you. Come on. I know you are struggling, John, but you have just
got to keep going haven't you? at that. Thank you. What he has
been doing has been amazing and we are 100% behind him. We have been
sponsoring him, so we wanted to cheer him on as he runs along the
road. Thank you. He hasn't eaten to luck -- since last night and even
that he could not keep down. His energy levels are utterly depleted.
No one knows him better than Mel, and she has never seen him in such
a bad way. Thank you. Thank you. is struggling. Really, really
struggling now. I find it quite upsetting. I have seen him tired
and very stressed, but this is something... It is complete
exhaustion. He is asleep. It is not a great place to be, and he has
still got over half a marathon to do. He is absolutely dead on his
feet. But he has got to keep going, he does not have a choice. It is
going to be tough for him. John's priority is food and not sleep. He
needs to load up on cards to get through the next 13 miles. But the
rice and bread he is having for lunch are proving difficult to
stomach. -- carbs. With only a few mouthfuls of food inside him, John
sets off again. Thank you. somehow, and with the support of
the people of Kent, he carries on. Thank you. He looks knackered, to
be honest. I wouldn't want to be doing it. Would you? No way.
for the money. It is not just the great British public who are
turning a to cheer him on. He has no idea I have come to run
with him today. You are doing really well. What are you doing
here?! Ready? I will run with youth. You are my favourites dancer, johns.
-- Scouser. John is now nearly halfway through his final ones. The
carnival spirit has given him a new lease of life. With eight miles,
John makes Eddie talk to Sir Joseph Williamson's School in Chatham.
They raise �28,000 last Sport Relief, which they hope to beat at
this time. It is amazing how much money he has raised. It is also
work Chris Moyles hands over FF2 Skinner to keep John on track.
can do another 40 miles, and then do another five miles on vapour. I
think he is on Weber. John makes his living by making people laugh,
but it is getting harder and harder to smile. The road is full of
people cheering and nobody wants to see you in bits. It takes it away
from them. I don't go to have to # Life goes on
# Day after day... # # Every way... #
# So ferry # Across the Mersey. #
Against all the odds, John completes his second marathon.
want to see he is all right. He's He's raised loads of money. Proud
of him. Hopefully, he will make it. He is fantastic. He is doing an
amazing job. We love him. It is all for a really good cause. Chris
Moyles is a leg! And Frank Skinner. Straight in there. Oh. My whole
body is hurting. My feet, the shins, the front of my shins, hamstrings -
everything. If anyone's got any doubts about how cold this is,
those ducks were yellow when I put It is the last day of John's five-
day Sport Relief Challenge. So far, he's travelled over 260 miles under
his own steam. Today, he is facing his final marathon and he is
running on empty. Oh (BLEEP)... Yards from the start, it is obvious
he is suffering. I know (BLEEP)... Cheers, mate. All right, mate. My
right shin. Oh. John's got stabbing pains in his right leg, but he
manages to stagger on, knowing the next pit-stop is only a few miles
away. Thanks, mate. Good luck. Thank you. Argh! Oh. Thanks. Thank
HORN SOUNDS Cheers, mate. John finds something deep inside to keep
going. The support he is getting from the public is driving him on,
even though he is in agony. Morning! Morning! APPLAUSE Thank
you. Thank you. Thanks. Thank you. 20 quid. How brilliant is that? It
does give you a lift, a lift like you wouldn't imagine to be honest.
HORNS SOUND Cheers, mate. John's still got virtually a whole
marathon to run on his damaged leg - the result of four days of
extraordinary physical endurance. At the next stop, Greg calls for an
emergency physio session. John's condition is causing real concern.
Argh! That's it! Right there. is not happy with what he has found
and he is worried John may be doing himself lasting damage. One of the
things we are worried about is whether there's a hairline fracture
in the bone, the shin bone itself. That can happen with stress, the
amount of stress that he has undertaken in that leg. That is
very bad news. That is quite a serious injury. It could stop him.
Argh! We are looking after him. We are making sure that he remains
safe, his health remains safe, however if this continues to get
worse, we will have to talk to him about it. John's exhausted. Greg
treats his strained muscles, abrasions and blisters, straps his
leg up and gives John whatever he needs to keep going, including some
moral support. John's brother Eddie and Robbie Savage have turned up to
run the next leg with him. I'm not into comedians, but he is brilliant.
He has my sense of humour, which is very funny! LAUGHTER But a
completely different dress sense! Look at the shorts! He is in a lot
of pain. He's a winner. He will do As John approaches Greenwich Park,
his two youngest sons give him the lift he will need. We will run
through the park to support him, talk to him while we are running.
Hopefully, we will not just talk about school. Dad's in red! I know,
I can see him. Let's go. How have you been? It's been an interesting
week. It's all right. It's all right, mate. Good to see you,
Oh. Argh! He is doing something like this for kids he's never met
before and he is like putting himself through utter pain. You
have seen his leg, all bruised. He just keeps on going. Come on, John!
Come on, Robbie! APPLAUSE At the final pit-stop, John's eldest son,
Joe, is there to meet him. How are you? This is the last chance the
medics have to examine John's leg. I don't think the bone is broken.
That is just causing pressure. Argh! Yeah, yeah. YEAH! They are
doing everything they can to keep him moving. I don't think it is as
bad as it could be. No-one seems to be agreeing with me. LAUGHTER When
he finishes, he will need an x-ray, but for now he is given the go-
ahead to carry on. As he slowly makes his way into London, John
barely has the energy to run let John limps towards the finish line.
His achievements are monumental by anyone's standards. So proud of him.
I think going out to Sierra Leone, seeing what the money does, that
spurred him on to do it. It will make a difference. Him doing this
will make it all worthwhile for other people. Staggering the
support. Staggering. It will be what helps him. Thank you. I'm so
proud of him. So proud of him. John finally has the finish line in
his sights. He is like a national hero. He's done so much and he will
change so many lives and save so many lives as well. Mixed emotions.
Dead proud and dead worried about him. He hasn't half gone through it,
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 63 seconds
John Bishop, everybody! Have you any idea how much you have raised
for Sport Relief? I haven't. No idea. I have got the official
figure right here. Want to hear it? I have to say that's blown me away!
This week's over. It's done with. It will be forgotten. That money is
going to change lives and it is going to change the lives of people
that we don't know, people we haven't met and what's going to
happen is they are going to have a better life and then they will
contribute to all of us having a better life. On their behalf, I
have got to thank you. APPLAUSE absolutely, yeah, just relieved
that he is here now and he will be all right. CHEERING I can't thank
people enough for the goodwill. People were patting me on the back,
people were cheering me. But also they are the people who saw me, the
people who were 300, 400, 500, 1,000 miles away who thought, "I am
now motivated enough to pick up my phone and send a text" or to join
the Sport Relief Mile. They are the people that I thank. If I had done
all of this and they hadn't done their bit, then it would have been
worthless. I thank them. You can still do your bit tonight. It is
really easy. Text the word "HELP" to 70005 and you will be donating
�5 to Sport Relief. All the money will be added to John's total to
John Bishop takes the word 'triathlon' to new heights in an extraordinary physical and mental challenge for Sport Relief. John cycles, rows and runs from Paris to London, accompanied by celebrity supporters like Davina McCall, Chris Moyles, Freddie Flintoff, Dermot O'Leary and Frank Skinner.
This incredible challenge pushes John to his limits, and the only way he keeps going is remembering why he is doing it in the first place - to raise money for Sport Relief. John visits Sierra Leone to see the incredible work done by Sport Relief, and learns how vaccines that we all take for granted in the UK can save lives.
This intimate and honest documentary captures the laughter and the tears as John battles with intense pain and exhaustion in his determination to succeed.