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I TALK TO Alex Brooker

I caught up with Alex Brooker about The Last Leg, Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body, his love for The Last Leg co-host Josh Widdicombe and Justin Timberlake.

This time last year one of the most successful shows on Channel 4 in recent times, The Last Leg was about to begin fronted by Australian comedian Adam Hills. Think of it as the sister show to the Paralympic Games.

Now in a post-Paralympics world, Adam, Alex and Josh take a look at the weird and wonderful talking point stories of the week to enjoy and celebrate what makes this country so unique.

The show was so successful that this week sees the series return for a third time and Alex Brooker, whilst still sitting on The Last Leg sofa will be stepping out on his own for the first time in his documentary Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body which delves into the world of male body image, shedding some light on how men really feel about their figures.

It's been almost a year since the Paralympics. What has your life been like since?

It's been pretty mental. Not a lot of people knew who I was apart from the people on my Facebook. But now, a lot of people know who I am and have seen from the show.

Going from unknown to quite quickly doing a show with over a million viewers has been pretty mental to be honest with you.

It's almost like now, when you see me on telly laughing and having a good time, it's almost like I'm celebrating the fact that I'm doing something.

It must have been such an honour being asked to be part of the Paralympics?

Yeah, it was huge. Obviously there was a time when I had to decide whether to take the job in the first place, because I did have a job before as a Sports Journalist and it was a career I put six years into. So technically I left it for what was essentially nine days work.

I could never have forgiven myself if I'd not have gone and experienced it. And to be honest with you, even in my wildest dreams, I don't think anyone though the Paralympics would be as incredible as it ended up being.

I mean, the Olympics were brilliant but the Paralympics really carried it on. It wasn't a shock but you know that whole spirit of last summer, because it was a spirit, brilliant.

Also the fact that it didn't rain either, I mean it rains all the bloody time and it just stopped raining, and it was sunny, and it was like - "What the hell?" - everybody thought there'd be kids looting JJB's didn't they?

You mention there that it was a massive gamble taking the job in the first place. Did you ever expect The Last Leg to go on and become what it has? I mean here we are talking about series three.

Obviously, when I joined Channel 4 I was employed by the Paralympics as a pitch-side reporter, that's what my job was going to be. I was going to be The Last Leg's feature reporter and then it kind of evolved and they wanted me to stay on the sofa.

There was never any hesitation for me to be put on that sofa, I was very lucky to get asked. It was the right fit, and as soon as I met Adam and obviously Josh as well, I wanted to be a part of it because I knew it was going to be really good.

Had you met either of them before?

I'd met Adam (Hills) a few months before, had a couple of meetings, spent some time with him and Josh (Widdicombe) I only met the day before the Paralympics started.

The thing is though, and as much as it pains me to say it, because he'll love it, is that Josh was my favourite comedian before I'd met him. I saw him at the Comedy Gala last year, before I even knew he was going to be on the Paralympics and I thought he was the funniest person. He had me in stitches.

And even now, I've seen the material from his last show four or five times now but I still don't tire of it. As much as it pains me to say it because he'll love that we've been speaking about him.

I've told him, sometimes he's like - "You're talking bullshit." - and I'm like - "No, I genuinely do enjoy it." He knows that I'm a massive fan because he's seen me laugh at his quirky little jokes. But it's good, it's great that I get to work with him.

Who would be your ideal future guest on The Last Leg?

I really like Russell Brand, I think he'd be great. Justin Timberlake, (laughs) I don't know why, I just like Justin Timberlake! As soon as I found out he was going to Wireless I got tickets straight away I was so excited. And then from a football point of view I'd probably really like Thierry Henry because I'm an Arsenal fan.

But, that's probably because I'd want to meet him, but then to be honest with you I don't think he'd be particularly funny on the show. I'd just like to meet him! (Laughs).

In the last series of The Last Leg we started to see some of your journey to Rio 2016. Does that continue throughout this series?

I'm pretty sure that we will do, I mean it didn't end too well for me at the Velodrome at the end of the last series, so I think a lot of people are expecting me to retire after crashing and making myself look like a tit!

But, I will be soldiering on. It was my own fault anyway, if I'd have just slowed down, I didn't do what they had told me to do and I ended up rolling down the Velodrome covered in wood. But it's one of those things you know, it's not stopped me.

Now off the back of The Last Leg you've got your own series Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body. Tell us a bit about that?

Well, I mean blokes now, more than ever are more conscious about their weight and how they look and I wanted to kind of, delve into that world.

I'm not talking about the weight-loss programs where it's some bloke who's like 40 stone and then losing 20 stone, which is good for him but you think - "Well you're still 20 stone."

It doesn't reply apply to everyday life that situation. So I wanted to look at it from an everyday blokes point of view. We all want to look a bit better when we go to the beach on holiday, and stuff like that. And you know, we could all do with easing up on the beer and stuff, and I wanted to see as well, if it was possible for me to do it myself.

And how has it been?

It's been good. I've been pleased with the results that I got at the end of it. I lost a decent amount of weight, I got myself in fairly good shape so it was good. And for me personally I feel a lot better for doing it, and like I say, it wasn't always 'fun' I must say, but I've enjoyed the end results of it.

Do you think there's a difference these days between male and female body image? Or do you think it's all merging into one?

I think it's kind of merging into one, if I'm honest with you. I think before, it was traditionally women were always kind of, self-conscious and stuff like that. And it was a woman's thing, we had that over them didn't we a little bit? That we couldn't give a shit.

That's all gone now and I don't know... women want more from men as well don't they? Ever since that 'Fifty Shades of Grey' stuff, you've got to blame that.

I blame 'Fifty Shades of Grey' so much. You know, no bloke is going to go and buy you a flat, lock you in there, come back and give you ten orgasms a day. It's just unrealistic. At the best, you can kip over at mine, get five minutes and a cuddle. Do you know what I mean? (Laughs).

What's the thing you've learnt that has alarmed you the most by making this documentary? Or perhaps something that you didn't realise before?

I didn't realise how many more men now are getting eating disorders, that's quite alarming. You don't really think about it, and I think, a lot of doctors, from what I've researched don't really either. They reckon that 65% of British men are overweight, and 8% of mena re concerned about their body shape.

There was another one as well, this woman said to me - "1 in 3 men would give up a year of their lives to get the perfect body." - and that was shocking.

I put that out to my mates, and there was twelve of them there and I went -"How many of you would give up a year of your life to get the perfect body?" - and every single one of them said yes.

I'm sure The Last Leg and Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body is enough to be getting on with at the moment, but what else are you working on?

At the moment obviously, My Perfect Body, that's going to be out at the end of the month, the same time I start The Last Leg so obviously I'm concentrating a lot on The Last Leg. But doing My Perfect Body, is kind of a big thing for me, because it's the first thing I've done on my own, away from Adam and Josh.

I've done a few bits here and there, I went on The Million Pound Drop and Alan Carr: Chatty Man a couple of times and I've really enjoyed doing that but this is the first time it's just been me, standing alone. And I hope it's a success and people still like me for it, as much as what they seem to on The Last Leg. And ideally I think that might open up a lot more doors.

I'd like to do more documentaries maybe, I enjoyed this one. I'd like to take myself on journey's - exploring aspects of life. I quite like that and having my own take on it. Very much like we do on The Last Leg with the news every week. But I miss The Last Leg when I'm not doing it, so I'm really looking forward to doing it again, I'm really excited and I can guarantee that on that first show, I'll be sat there like an excited annoying child.

The Last Leg returns Thursday 31st July at 10pm on Channel 4

Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body airs Thursday 31st July at 10:50pm on Channel 4


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