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Welsh TV chef flies through the air on world’s biggest swing in new S4C series

10 Apr 2024 6 minute read
Chris “Flamebaster” Roberts takes flight on the world’s biggest swing

This is the terrifying moment a Welsh TV chef flew through the air at 75mph on the  “world’s biggest swing” for a new S4C series.

Fearless Chris “Flamebaster” Roberts careered 450 feet over a fast flowing river on the famous Nevis Swing in New Zealand towards the bottom of the deep canyon near the Kiwi adventure capital, Queenstown.

The area provided the backdrop for the popular Lord of the Rings films..

The Caernarfon daredevil says the experience was among the highlights of the three-week trip for his new television series for S4C,  Alun, Chris a Kiri yn Seland Newydd (Alun, Chris and Kiri in New Zealand).

Chris with award winning comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean and tv presenter Alun Williams

Road trip

His fellow presenters,  award winning stand-up comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean, who comes from Anglesey and television presenter Alun Williams, who lives in Cardiff but hails from Rhuddlan in Denbighshire, opted to give the white knuckle ride a miss.

The three-part series, made by independent Caernarfon-based television production company Cwmni Da, is being shown at 9pm on Wednesdays, with the first episode being aired on Wednesday, April 17.

The trio’s epic trip began in South Island and they drove the entire length of the country  to Auckland in a white 4X4 vehicle.

En route they sampled the beer at Speights, New Zealand’s oldest brewery, and cycled up Baldwin Street in Dunedin, which has pipped  Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech to be crowned as the steepest street in the world.

Chris said: “We began in Queenstown on the Nevis Swing which is bonkers and terrifying. It’s like a trapeze where you’re suspended hundreds of feet in the air. You sit on a tiny seat and I’m 24 stone and then you’re let go and you swing.

The structure is composed of a giant bridge suspended above the Nevis River with a launch room a third of the way out along the cables.

“It’s pretty scary and not for everyone,” remarked Chris.

Chris, 38, went from being a man who cooked on an old-fashioned spit roasting fire with his friends – without anyone watching – to overnight fame as a Facebook foodie with thousands of fans.

His mouth-watering videos on Facebook were an instant hit with food-lovers and saw him land his own show on S4C. But this series is not about cooking.

Presenters Chris, Kiri and Alun

Crazy stuff

“It’s not a food show as such although I do some cooking along the way like cooking in the boiling water that bubbles up from the thermal springs in Rotorua. It’s about three people chatting and bonding during a road trip and doing crazy stuff along the way. It was so much fun, and great to do something different.

“And we got on really well. Alun is a right character and Kiri can be very funny. She’s been learning Welsh and it was great to see her improving as we went along speaking Welsh with her all the time,” said Chris.

It was also a “very special trip”  for Kiri, whose name has a Māori origin and means skin of a tree or fruit.

She said: “My mother lived in New Zealand when she was young and she loved the name and she gave it to me. And I have Māori connections and we have family living in New Zealand but I’d never been there.

“New Zealand is a very small country but very much like Wales it packs a punch and has so much going for it and I’d love to go back.

“If I had to choose a personal highlight I’d go for the day we started out on a boat and caught some crayfish before flying to the top of a mountain in a helicopter where we had some gin.

“Later the boys cooked the crayfish we’d caught. It was a wonderful day but the whole trip was an amazing experience,” she said.

As on previous tours Kiri will be collecting items for a charity. Peacock sees her collecting pens and pencils for Pens for Kids UK, a small grassroots charity that collects pens and pencils and distributes them globally so that children have the equipment they need to continue their learning.

Challenges

Alun Williams, one of the co-presenters on Heno, Prynhawn Da and Bore Da,  thought he had struck gold during the first day of filming the series.

The trio had arranged various challenges and after hearing the Queenstown founder William Rees had made his fortune after discovering gold in a nearby river, Alun thought it appropriate to have a go.

“The river Arrow is named after a river in Powys and anyone panning for gold in the river is guaranteed to find some,” he said.

They linked up with Justin Eden, who has been panning for gold for more than 40 years, and he showed them how to sift through the silt for the precious metal.

“Soon Justin pointed out the tiny  flecks of gold in the pan that were worth about 10 dollars (about £4.70) so we decided to have a little competition to see who could find the most.

“I chose a spot away from the others and in a few minutes I found what looked like a large nugget of gold. Justin confirmed it was gold and worth two thousand dollars, about £950, But unbeknown to me Chris had asked Justin to plant the nugget in the pan so I would find it. Oh the disappointment,” he said.

Since their return from New Zealand the trio have kept in touch and recently got together at Cellb in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The former police station has been turned into a cinema, cafe and performing space and is the centre of many youth activities in the quarrying town.

Chris showed off his cooking skills making pizzas with some of the youngsters while Kiri hosted a session for would be stand-up comics and Alun led a media workshop.

Alun, Chris a Kiri yn Seland Newydd is on S4C at 9pm on Wednesday nights from April 17. It will be available for streaming on S4C Clic, BBC iPlayer and other platforms. English subtitles are available.


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Dai
Dai
1 month ago

Hundreds of people probably do it. Why is it terrifyingly noteworthy when he does it?

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