Not since the days of Total Wipeout and Takeshi's Castle have we seen a water-based gameshow where contestants undertake various obstacles to see how high, far, and fast they can fly through the air before landing in the icy waters – all for a chance to win a substantial cash prize, or in this case, the Cannonball Cup. But primary presenter or ITV's brand new gameshow, Freddie Flintoff, who's a former cricket champion and who also heads the BBC Radio 5 Live podcast Flintoff, Savage & the Ping Pong Guy, reveals Cannonball is here to change the game.
"I think this is probably more of a level playing field for people, where you see people on the show of different ages, backgrounds, and they can all compete against each other. I think that's one of the unique things about it," he said. "You then have things like Ninja Warrior or probably even Total Wipeout, where you have to have quite a decent level of fitness to do it."
Freddie Flintoff fronts ITV's new gameshow Cannonball
And since there's no cash prize, why exactly do people do it? "I'm somebody who has no aspiration to sing, so The X Factor, The Voice, doesn't make me want to do it… whereas as a kid, growing up, you climb trees and all the rest of it," Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya explains. "This is that scaled up to the max. So I want to be in that box now, where they all are, the sun is shining, everyone is having a great time, everyone's happy… why would you not want to do it?"
Radzi is such an enthusiast of the challenges, he – unlike his fellow presenters – even took it upon himself to try one out, and did it hurt? "Not in the slightest," he quips. Though The Saturdays' Frankie Bridge teases: "I think you chose to do the one that doesn't seem that scary, the one that I'd choose to do if I had to do it!"
Frankie Bridge spent three weeks away from her boys during the filming of the show
It takes quite the daredevil to compete on the show, but for Freddie, his daredevil days, he says, are falling behind him. "For ITV 4 I went to America for six weeks to do cliff diving, and bull riding, but to be honest as I'm getting older, I think I'm becoming more aware that I'm not invincible…" he said. Freddie, who's turning 40 this year, jokes he was brought onto the show as a "super nanny" for Frankie, 28, Radzi, 30, Ryan, 29, and Maya, 23. "Just to look after the kids, they get a bit unruly... But yeah, I think with stuff I've done over the years I've spent time away from home, I think the missus is quite happy when I go away for a week."
Frankie reveals she was more hesitant to leave behind her two young boys for three weeks, admitting: "I was really worried about leaving the boys behind, Freddie and I were saying earlier, when you've got kids, our job is great, you kind of have to choose is it worth going away from home for, is it something you're passionate about, or whatever, and this sounded amazing so I was like, 'I have to go.'"
And did they have any time to themselves away from the show to enjoy what the Maltese town of Valletta – where the series was filmed for three weeks – had to offer? "Gosh it was just work, work, work," Northern Irish comedian Ryan admits. While Maya, who is currently dating rapper Stormzy, confessed: "We did only actually have two days off during the whole time, it's not proper work, and it didn't feel like that. It's like we're all together, we go and speak to the contestants, we have a little time when we're together for lunch and then we're chilling in the changing rooms and stuff so it wasn't intense."