The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN VICK­ERY

Will Hamish Blake and Andy Lee go too far one day and end up get­ting hurt? That is the worry for Blake’s wife Zoe, just weeks af­ter the birth of their first child, Sonny.

Zoe is right to worry. Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South Amer­ica is the com­edy duo’s most dan­ger­ous TV se­ries yet. The early Car­a­van of

Courage and Gap Year ad­ven­tures – which cov­ered Aus­tralia and New Zealand, Great Bri­tain, Amer­ica, Europe and Asia – were jaunty fun-filled af­fairs.

Gap Year South Amer­ica has a dan­ger­ous edge. Blake and Lee al­most start tread­ing into

Jack­ass ter­ri­tory as they get burnt don­ning fire­works-laden hats, risk as­phyx­i­a­tion hik­ing to the top of a seething vol­cano, take a raft down the Ama­zon, and go sewer div­ing.

Blake ad­mits he and Lee have a bad habit of want­ing to up the ante with ev­ery stunt, and one day that might land them in trou­ble.

“That is what Zoe is wor­ried about,” Blake says. “Ando and I can’t help it. Ever since we’ve been teenagers, we’ve egged each other on. That un­for­tu­nately is what guys do.

“You try not to take stupid risks. You don’t want to see the other guy hurt. But there are cer­tainly cir­cum­stances where, be­cause it is two guys en­joy­ing an ad­ven­ture to­gether, it is like two fuel rods be­ing next to each other in a nu­clear re­ac­tor.”

“It cre­ates an ex­cite­ment which pushes the bound­aries. We have to re­mind our­selves to make smart de­ci­sions.”

Blake’s life has changed dra­mat­i­cally since he and Lee started their glo­be­trot­ting TV shows in 2007.

In Jan­uary 2012, Blake an­nounced he was en­gaged to Zoe, his girl­friend of 18 months, and the pair were se­cretly mar­ried that De­cem­ber, on Blake’s 31st birth­day. Sonny was born on May 10 this year.

“A lot of Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South Amer­ica was shot while Zoe was preg­nant, which was prob­a­bly a good thing be­cause the game changes when you’ve held your child in your arms,” Blake says. “Nei­ther of us had been over to South Amer­ica be­fore. I think we thought it might have more of a party at­mos­phere (than Asia, which they vis­ited last year) but then go­ing into it you re­alise there is a less safe edge to it.

“Some of the sit­u­a­tions we find our­selves in are pre­car­i­ous, but that is the ro­mance of South Amer­ica.”

The pair vis­ited Mex­ico, Gu­atemala, Costa Rica, Colom­bia, Bo­livia, Ar­gentina and Brazil.

Se­cu­rity was an is­sue from the start. Rebel paramil­i­taries still cause havoc in Colom­bia. Brazil has been hit by an­tiWorld Cup ri­ots. The fave­las (slums) in Bo­gota and Rio de Janeiro are no-go ar­eas.

“There were def­i­nitely places where I was a bit ner­vous about the kid­nap fac­tor,” Blake ad­mits. “Es­pe­cially when I was on the verge of Zoe hav­ing a child, I knew it would not get me off on the right foot as a fa­ther if I


was im­pris­oned in the jun­gles of Colom­bia.

“I was con­cerned, but then I re­alised it’s prob­a­bly as dodgy walk­ing down King St (Mel­bourne’s night­club district) on a Fri­day night.

“In the end, we were so lucky with the people we met.

“They en­joy hav­ing fun and mak­ing their own fun.” A fea­ture of the Car­a­van of

Courage and Gap Year se­ries are the out­ra­geous dares Blake and Lee dream up for each other.

In Gap Year South Amer­ica, Blake eats gi­ant worms and ends up in hospi­tal af­ter an ini­ti­a­tion to man­hood cer­e­mony.

“If I was hol­i­day­ing in the Ama­zon, I would never think of eat­ing gi­ant worms,” Blake says. “And I hated do­ing it. They taste like worms.

“We at­tempted to take a gi­ant in­flat­able cylin­der down the Ama­zon and our guide spent the en­tire time telling us about the things that could kill us if we fell in the river.

“The vol­cano we hiked had just erupted, but the guide seemed so sure where to step, as though he knew all the safe spots.

“There was no way he could have known.

“I don’t know if that makes us sickos, but we also love it.” Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South Amer­ica, Chan­nel 9, Tues­day, 7.30pm.

Hamish Blake and Andy Lee get friendly with some lo­cals in Hamish & Andy's Gap Year South Amer­ica.

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