'Freeze the Fear': What is Holly Willoughby's ice challenge show? Who are the celebrity contestants?

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·6-min read
Freeze the Fear features cold water therapy. (Hungry Bear Media)
Freeze the Fear features cold water therapy. (Hungry Bear Media)

A completely new take on the celebrity challenge show launches tonight with Freeze the Fear, which harnesses the cold therapy super powers of Wim "The Iceman" Hof.

Hosted by Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack, it sees a group of celebrities take on a series of freezing cold challenges to expand their horizons of what they believe they are capable of doing.

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Find out when the series starts, who's taking part, and who Wim Hof is right here.

When is Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof on TV?

Freeze the Fear begins tonight (Tuesday) at 9pm on BBC One.

Who is Wim Hof?

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 19:30:00 on 04/03/2022 - Programme Name: Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED – not for publication until 19.30hrs 4th March 2022** Wim Hof - (C) Hungry Bear Media - Photographer: Pete Dadds
Wim Hof is known as The Iceman. (Hungry Bear Media)

The Dutch cryotherapy enthusiast has harnessed the powers of ice cold water and special breathing techniques to create an incredible way of controlling nerves and pushing physical boundaries.

Known as The Iceman, his celebrity followers include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and Matt Damon, who have all been won over by his 46 years of experience in using the cold to his advantage.

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Hof is known for his inspiring social media posts and amazing YouTube videos, with his own achievements including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.

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Wim Hof's way of life has drawn in many fans. (Hungry Bear Media)

He has learned to control his breathing, heart rate and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures, and claims that it's perfectly possible for all of us to learn to do the same.

While his own love of cold water began after a winter swim aged 17, he told how the tragedy of losing his wife Olaya in 1995, who had been battling depression, and being left to bring up their four children really kickstarted his use of cryotherapy.

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He said: "The children made me survive but it was the cold that brought me back to life. It healed me. Instead of being guided by my broken emotions, the cold water led me to stillness and gave my broken heart a chance to rest, restore, rehabilitate.

"That is the message I want to share. This is what I found. I want to share the love. I don’t want anyone else to be in the same stressful situation that I was left behind in."

Which celebrities are taking part in Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof?

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 19:30:00 on 04/03/2022 - Programme Name: Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: **STRICTLY EMBARGOED – not for publication until 19.30hrs 4th March 2022**

(l-r back then front row)

Owain Evans, Chelcee Grimes, Gabby Logan, Dianne Buswell, Patrice Evra, Alfie Boe, Professor Green, Tamzin Outhwaite Owain Wyn Evans, Chelcee Grimes, Gabby Logan, Professor Green, Dianne Buswell, Tamzin Outhwaite, Patrice Evra, Alfie Boe - (C) Hungry Bear Media - Photographer: Pete Dadds
The celebrity cast. (Hungry Bear Media)

The celebrity recruits who've committed to Hof's way of life are French footballer Patrice Evra, sports reporter Gabby Logan, singer Alfie Boe, ex-EastEnders actor Tamzin Outhwaite, weatherman Owain Wyn Evans, Strictly Come Dancing pro Dianne Buswell, rapper Professor Green, and footballer and singer Chelcee Grimes.

Professor Green said: "I took part because my mental health has not been at its best. I hit quite a low point last year and I just really wanted to reboot and get my energy back.

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"I knew that the cold-water swimming was perfect for that as it’s something I’ve used intermittently. I understand the benefits of cryotherapy but I wanted to do it properly - as it's supposed to be done."

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++Safety disclaimer: cold water exposure was done in a controlled environment under the supervision of professionals.  Don’t try this at home++,2022-04-05 00:01:00
Professor Green talked about how the therapy helped him. (Hungry Bear Media)

Buswell, who grew up in Australia, said it was the first time she had experienced such cold temperatures: "When I was growing up, going to a cold place wasn’t really an option because it was so far away from us. I’ve only seen snow in the last few years; this was so, so different from anything I’m used to."

And Boe said of his admiration for Hof: "I keep in touch with him, send him pictures and messages and we talk regularly. First and foremost I just wanted to be his friend. Having people like that in your life is the positive kind of energy you need."

What happens in Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof?

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The celebrities try out cold showers. (Hungry Bear Media)

The series sees the celebrities move into a camp of tents in the stunning, snowy landscape of the Italian mountains.

No one is knocked out of the show as it's not a competition with a winner, but the celebs are pushed beyond their comfort zones as Hof coaches them through a number of freezing challenges.

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++Safety disclaimer: cold water exposure was done in a controlled environment under the supervision of professionals.  Don’t try this at home++,2022-04-05 00:01:00
Wim Hof shows how it's done. (Hungry Bear Media)

Viewers will see them swim under ice, do yoga at perilous heights, submerge themselves in ice baths and abseil down a mountain face, as well as taking on entry-level activities like breathing techniques and cold showers.

Outhwaite admitted: "If I had to do it all again now, knowing what I know, I don't know if I would. But in a way, it also changed the way I think about lots of things."

Who are the show's presenters?

Programme Name: Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Lee Mack, Holly Willoughby - (C) Hungry Bear Media - Photographer: Pete Dadds
Lee Mack and Holly Willoughby present. (Hungry Bear Media)

This Morning star Holly Willoughby, who admits to being one of Hof's famous fans, hosts the show alongside comedian Lee Mack.

Willoughby said of her own adventures in cold water therapy: "I’ve dipped in and out of it really. It’s not something I’ve done religiously. I do find the cold shower thing really hard. I have done it, but I don’t like it although I do feel better afterwards which makes it really annoying that I can’t commit to it.

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"If I go away on holiday or something, I’m like ‘right I’m going to go and do it then’. I find it much easier if it’s the summer or if it’s sunny, but Wim would tell me off for that because you can’t be a fair-weather Wim Hoffer."

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Picture shows: Holly Willoughby, Lee Mack,0 00:00:00
Lee Mack and Holly Willoughby get to grips with the cold. (Hungry Bear Media)

Mack said of meeting Hof: "Put it this way, I’ve worked with Patrice Evra before, who is known as the crazy man of football, and even he found Wim a bit crazy!"

He added: "I made it very clear from the outset that ‘Yes I would love to present this show but there are a few things you need to know, I am doing nothing, and when I say nothing I don’t mean a little but none of this.’"

There will also be a spin-off show, Munya and Filly Get Chilly, which sees presenters Munya Chawawa and Yung Filly take on some of the ice challenges and meet the contestants.

Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof begins tonight (Tuesday) at 9pm on BBC One.

Watch: Holly Willoughby admits she was 'in tears' over Freeze the Fear