Celebrities prepare to set off for Namibia desert expedition for Sport Relief tonight

21st February 2020

Celebrities prepare to set off for Namibia desert expedition for Sport Relief tonight 

  • Team of celebrities, including Frankie Bridge, Nick Grimshaw and Karim Zeroual depart for Namibia this evening

  • Video reveals a flavour of what the celebs have in store for them

  • The goal is to break down the stigma of mental health and raise money for mental health services

  • One in four people will experience mental health problems in their lifetime

  • The challenge will be filmed for a special Sport Relief documentary set to air on BBC One in March

Friday 21st February: The team of intrepid celebrities taking on Sport Relief: The Heat Is On, a 100-mile expedition across the Namib Desert, is due to set off tonight.

Frankie Bridge, Karim Zeroual, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Louise Minchin, Nick Grimshaw, Rob Rinder and Samantha Womack have had to prepare for an extreme change of the elements as they originally signed up for a trek across a frozen lake in Mongolia, with the change of plan down to ongoing travel disruption in East Asia.

Over four days, starting on Monday, the team will attempt to traverse the Namib Desert in Namibia by foot, bike and ski (on sand) to reach the Eduard Bohlen shipwreck on the notorious Skeleton Coast. They will face exhausting days in the blistering sun as they take on the highest sand dunes on earth and encounter deadly desert wildlife as they cross the world’s oldest desert  - all in temperatures up to 35 degrees Celsius. 

An hour-long documentary will chart the highs and lows (both physical and emotional) of the team as they tackle the world’s highest sand dunes for Sport Relief, and it will be shown on BBC One during the week of the 9th March.

One in four people will be affected by a mental health problem in their lifetime, and each of these adventurers feels passionate about speaking up and taking on the elements to crush the stigma surrounding this issue.

Louise Minchin, said: “I can’t believe we are nearly about to head out to Namibia - the challenge is upon us! It’s going to be so tough. Huge sand dunes, scorpions, nearly a marathon a day, snakes: I mean wow! It means so much to me for doing this for Sport Relief to help fund mental health services. I am sure we all know people who are affected by mental health issues including friends and family members. It is something I have experienced in the past. 

To raise money to help anyone… even if I can help one person when they are reaching out and they need assistance, then that’s what is going to get me through those hard miles out there in the desert. Knowing that somebody might get help is the reason I am doing this.”

Dr Zoe Williams, who has been offering training support to the celebrities over the past couple of months, also remains on board and will join the expedition team on the ground to offer medical advice and help keep the public up-to-date on how the extreme elements will affect them.

Dr Zoe, said: “Both Mongolia and Namibia come with their own, completely different physical challenges. The cold and the ice are punishing on the body and the mind, and the desert brings different demands. Their main physical challenges now will be dehydration and heat exhaustion. They will need to take really good care of their feet because sand combined with heat is a menace on the feet. There is no denying the amount of physical exertion required to cross 100 miles of sand dunes.”

BBC Breakfast, The One Show and BBC Radio 5Live will all be will be tracking the team’s progress next week. Each day, from Monday to Thursday, they will follow the group’s ups and downs as they tackle this 100-mile desert challenge of a lifetime, with footage straight from Namibia, and daily catch ups as the team take on this epic adventure. 

Sport Relief is back on Friday 13th March. Find out how you can get involved here.(opens in new window)


 Comic Relief Media Team 

media@comicrelief.com(opens in new window) 

0207 820 2500