• Maya Jama puts her courage to the test (BBC Studios / BBC Scotland)Source: BBC Studios / BBC Scotland
Jason Fox pushes his celebrity guests out of their comfort zone and brings them face to face with fear.
Kate Myers

16 Feb 2022 - 9:14 AM  UPDATED 23 Feb 2022 - 9:48 AM

“That’s not something I would ever like to do. Ever.” They may be words full of trepidation, but they are music to the ears of former British soldier, professional daredevil and host of the series 48 Hours In Wales, Jason ‘Foxy’ Fox. Over the two action-packed days that make up each episode, this part Man vs Wild, part I’m A Celebrity adventure, sees Fox push a well-known celebrity to the brink. In preparing to complete seemingly impossible physical challenges, he also encourages them to open up.

The breathtaking natural beauty of Wales provides the perfect playground for Fox to put his guests through their paces in training for the final task. First up is American comedian Rob Delaney, who is faced with the possibility of launching himself off a 150-foot tall viaduct at the end of his 48 hours. And how does he feel about it?

“Afraid? Sure. It’s hilariously terrifying,” Delaney admits. We doubt that the average person would still have their sense of humour knowing that a free fall 45 metres backwards is imminent, but Delaney seizes the opportunity with both hands and puts his faith in Fox. This only adds to the amusement of Fox’s response when asked for his thoughts on Delaney’s chances of completing the jump. “If he f***s around, he’s f***ed.” Well, that’s reassuring.

For TV star and model Maya Jama in episode two, seeing the funny side of the whole situation is proving more difficult, but as she explains, if she doesn’t laugh, she’ll cry. Jama can’t even comprehend standing on top of a 75-metre transporter bridge, let alone completing a bungee jump off it, but she’s determined to give it a red-hot go. “If you’re not afraid of it, what’s the point in doing it?” Fox asks her.

Admittedly, both Delaney and Jama could have an entirely new perspective on fear after a couple of days abseiling, zip lining and tombstoning with Fox in the Welsh countryside. At least he hopes they will!

It should be said at this point that, despite what it may seem, the series is far from the familiar format of a linen-clad host watching on with words of encouragement while a celebrity puts their life on the line. Fox doesn’t ask his guests to do anything he wouldn’t do himself, and is right there with them every step of the way; whatever target has been set, he must achieve it as well. Thanks to his lifetime of experience and training, Fox knows that preparation is key, and he creates specific tasks that are tailored to help each celebrity succeed. Are they easy? No. Does he let them quit? Absolutely not. But there’s something to be said for the confidence that comes when each stomach-churning exercise is complete.

Tackling impressive physical obstacles is definitely not the sole objective here, though. Fox wants to get to know these public personalities as people, away from the spotlight, and find out what has motivated them to take on such an extreme challenge in the first place. Despite having a stern, no-nonsense approach reminiscent of an old-school high school PE teacher, Fox also has an innate ability to put his guests at ease.

He’s disarmingly honest, and at no point denies the enormity of what he is asking them to do, but it’s his straight-shooting style that enables him to have real, unfiltered conversations with both Delaney and Jama about the moments that have led them here. Whether it’s childhood trauma, grief, addiction or simply self-doubt, nothing is off limits. 

This whole experience for host and guest alike is fundamentally about “getting comfortable with the uncomfortable”, and Fox’s philosophy is very much focused on facing a challenge head on, whatever form it may take.

It goes without saying that activities of physical endurance and performance also require a fair amount of determination, perseverance and grit. As 48 Hours In Wales proves, completing these tasks may make hearts race, but it can also help them heal, as Fox shows his guests the power that can come with feeling the fear and doing it anyway. 

48 Hours In Wales screened  Saturday 19 February on SBS VICELAND and is now streaming at SBS On Demand:

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