Bradley Walsh and son Barney take on new challenges in a new series of Breaking Dad

Bradley Walsh embarks on a grueling new fitness regime this month and hires a personal trainer to put him to the test. However, it wasn’t a New Year’s resolution that prompted him to do it, but he noticed his declining fitness as he tried even more hair-raising extreme sports in the new series of ITV’s Breaking Dad.

The lighthearted program, in which host The Chase and his 24-year-old son Barney travel abroad to try out the scariest bungee jumps, bobsleigh rides and all sorts of other terrifying escapades, returns this week for a fourth run.

“What this show does is you assess your mortality,” Bradley said in a Zoom conversation with the duo.

“I’m turning 62 this year, so now it’s time to cram everything in, and I don’t think I’m fit enough. I have to train hard to get some of these things done because it’s so taxing on me.

Barney, 24, and his father Bradley Walsh, 61, (pictured) travel 3,000 miles from Croatia to the Arctic Circle in the fourth series of Breaking Dad

“When I was freediving – without oxygen – in this series I went down a few feet, but the expert was able to hold his breath for ten minutes, and Barney is pretty good at that too. I struggled and got a little claustrophobic and splashed in the water.’

The pandemic hasn’t helped his condition either, admits Bradley.

“For the past few years, instead of going out and starting a big fitness regimen and getting stuck, people have been sitting around — and I’m one of them. I’m sure I could lose some weight.”

What’s more apparent than his magnitude on Breaking Dad is the mental toll some of the challenges take on Bradley, the beloved presenter and actor known for The Chase, Blankety Blank, The Larkins, Doctor Who, and more.

In the show, thrill-seeker Barney encourages his skittish father to overcome his reluctance and take on adrenaline-fuelled challenges. The higher the altitude the better, because Bradley is afraid of heights.

Their latest journey, a 3,000-mile trek from Croatia to the Arctic Circle in their trusty motor home, begins with a new scare for Bradley. Barney enlists them for a rope swing across the field at the Poljud football stadium in Split – the rope is tied to the roof, 125 feet above the ground.

Bradley, who was too scared to follow Barney’s bungee jump from the 720-foot platform on top of Switzerland’s Contra Dam in the final series, also nearly backs out of the rope swing, but eventually makes the jump.

Bradley said he once received a text from ITV boss Kevin Lygo saying 'please, please take it easy'.  Pictured: Bradley trying out the aqua bike

Bradley said he once received a text from ITV boss Kevin Lygo saying ‘please, please take it easy’. Pictured: Bradley trying out the aqua bike

“Yeah, I hated that,” he admits. “In the final editing they had to blow away a lot of curses. Frankly, I was terrified.’

Barney joins in and tries to put a positive spin on the experience. “Yeah, but if nothing else, that’s cool to say you did it,” he says.

Bradley shoots back: ‘Yeah, but are they going to say on my epitaph, ‘Here lies the idiot who jumped from the football stadium’? I don’t think that means much to people!’

In the new six-part series, the couple has many more exciting adventures.

After Croatia, where they also ride freediving and aquabikes (like jet skis), they wind down a bobsleigh track in Norway (“Your head feels like a nail in a can that is rattled very violently,” is Bradley’s verdict) and learn to surf in a storm in the Arctic Circle (“Even the experts said, ‘I would never come out on days like this!’)

They had to blow out the swearing. i was terrified

It’s a wonder ITV bosses aren’t begging one of their most bankable stars to stop taking on such risky ventures, especially after Bradley broke three bones in his back in the second series when he fell off a bull during a rodeo in the U.S.

‘I once had a text from ITV boss Kevin Lygo who said something like ‘Please, take it easy’, Bradley chuckles. “But things like the rodeo, that was on my bucket list and things like that don’t scare me. But that’s where I got injured in the end!’

And what about Mrs. Walsh, Donna Derby? Isn’t she worried that her husband or son – or both – will end up in the hospital? “She does, she does,” admits Bradley.

Barney (pictured) said traveling together, not only as father and son, but also as friends, and sharing memories was great

Barney (pictured) said traveling together, not only as father and son, but also as friends, and sharing memories was great

“But when we did a skydive in America in the first series, Donna had always wanted to do that. She has a bit of adventure in her, more than I do.’

Half the fun of the show is the chatter the couple swaps in the RV as Bradley drives them from one destination to another. They have always been close, but say making the series has brought them closer together.

“It was great to travel together, not just as father and son, but also as friends, to be able to go to these places and have fun and share these memories,” says Barney.

Bradley agrees. “I think we’ve done about 100 activities now. For a father and son or parent and child to do that is very special.

“And to do it for me so late in life and to do it with Barney, who really cares and cares for me, is amazing.”

Bradley (pictured) said if they can reconnect one family to their series, they've done their job

Bradley (pictured) said if they can reconnect one family to their series, they’ve done their job

They have received many messages from viewers inspired by Breaking Dad to try to forge closer bonds with their own family members. “There was one I’ll never forget,” says Barney.

This man said, ‘My father and I got into an argument five years ago and I haven’t spoken to him since. But after we both watched your show, I was so moved by it that I approached him.” Then they planned their own road trip along Route 66. I just love that.”

Bradley was momentarily touched by the news. “No matter how many series or activities Barney and I do, if we can reconnect one family together, we’ve done our job,” he says.

There are already plans for a fifth series of Breaking Dad in Australia and New Zealand. God knows what scary thrills await Down Under – this could really be a great time for Bradley to start that fitness regimen.

Bradley And Barney Walsh: Breaking Dad returns on ITV on Monday at 8pm.


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