British cricketer Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff (pictured, left) and former pop star Abz Love (right) are headed to BBC2 with their respective series Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week and Country Strife: Abz on the Farm.
The Flintoff-presented six-part series – which will air on BBC2 this fall – aims to find the UK’s “toughest recruit” by having men and women take part in a number of grueling physical challenges, the likes of which were used by international army regimes.
The tests – which include exercise drills, mind games, enforced marches, escape challenges, interrogation drills and pain – have been built to reflect the selection processes used by such special forces as the U.S. Navy SEALs, the Philippines’ Naval Special Operations Group, the Russian Spetsnaz (Special Purpose Forces) and the UK’s SAS.
Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week was commissioned by BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw and acting head of documentaries Maxine Watson. The commissioning editor is Sam Bickley and executive producers are Rachel Watson and Aysha Rafaele.
“I have always had an interest in the Armed Forces and what it takes, both physically and mentally,” said Flintoff in a statement. “The contestants are going to be pushed to their very limits and it is going to be a great insight into what our Armed Forces go through on a daily basis.”
Elsewhere, former pop star Abz Love – who once fronted UK boy band 5ive – will swap his luxurious city living for life on a Welsh farm in the forthcoming series Country Strife: Abz on the Farm.
The 3 x 30-minute series – which was again commissioned by Shillinglaw as well as Tom McDonald, head of commissioning for natural history and specialist factual formats – will follow Abz and his partner Vicky as they buy and renovate a farm in rural Wales. According to a release issued by the BBC, “With a little help from their new neighbors they’ll take on a world of mud, rain, livestock and vegetable planting and learn what it takes to survive in the countryside on a shoestring.”
“Country Strife is a warm, engaging series following a charming, open-hearted couple trying to live the good life against all odds,” said McDonald in a statement. “With no knowledge of country life, very limited funds and a series of increasingly outlandish ambitions and plans, Abz and Vicky are in for an often hilarious reality check as they touch down in rural Wales.”
Country Strife: Abz On The Farm was produced by Tin Can Island for the BBC, with Andrea Cornes serving as executive producer.