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Wiggo is billed the radio star - critic hails Sir Brad's Archers guest spot for Sport Relief

Guardian's Mark Lawson applauds Olympic champ and 2012 Tour de France winner for role in long-running BBC soap...

The Guardian’s TV and radio critic, Mark Lawson, has complimented Olympic time trial champion and 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins on his acting skills following yesterday evening’s Sport Relief-themed episode of long-running BBC radio soap, The Archers (on BBC iPlayer here).

Wiggins fetched up in Ambridge to present the prizes for the Rough and Tumble race, and had the format of the event explained to him.

“After the water jumps, contestants climb that wall roll down the hill onto the parallel bars and then they pick up their bikes for the last leg and that’s the cycle sprint into Jubilee Field,” he was told.

“Quite the challenge, this Rough & Tumble,” replied Wiggins. “I wouldn’t mind having a go myself.”

Wearing a suit – a mistake in the country, as he’d later learn – Wiggins had to fend off questions such as “I thought you were northern?” to which he replied, “Well, I live near Manchester,” and “I was sure you were a woman,” which prompted the response of “Not the last time I checked.”

In a review of the episode that highlights the difficulty for celebrities to play themselves and sound credible, Lawson says, “It wasn't quite radio gold, but Wiggo delivered silver at least.”

He added: “Real-life cameos in drama can easily become a bike crash, as the royal appearances [of Princess Margaret as well as the Duchess of Cornwall on The Archers] showed.

“But this one worked because Wiggo is an experienced media performer and the writer (Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti) came up with the sort of stuff Wiggins might actually say (‘This looks a bit tasty’ and ‘My money's on the big fella’, when Ian and Rob locked handlebars).”

Another of Wiggins’ lines was, “Competition brings the worst out in people as well as the best,” that for some reason had us thinking about Wiggins and Chris Froome during the 2012 Tour de France.

There's a behind-the-scenes look at the Sport Relief special on the show's website.

Back in his day job, Wiggins has confirmed to the Team Sky website that unlike Froome, he won’t be riding the Volta a Catalunya.

Expectations are that he will ride in support of defending champion Froome at July’s Tour de France.

But following the latter’s withdrawal earlier this month from Tirreno-Adriatico due to a back injury, it’s the second race in succession where the pair were originally scheduled to feature in the Sky line-up but one or other pulled out.

Instead of racing in Catalonia, Wiggins will focus on his preparations for next month’s Paris-Roubaix, one of his main targets for the year, and May's Tour of California.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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ChairRDRF | 385 posts | 9 years ago

A pedant writes: I think you mean "complimented". If he had "complemented" Wiggo he would have been doing a dou8ble act with him.

allez neg | 496 posts | 9 years ago

Never mind the archers, go on iplayer and listen to Friday's News Quiz - funniest thing I've heard in weeks.

MartyMcCann | 277 posts | 9 years ago

Chapeau on the headline Road CC!  41

SteppenHerring | 382 posts | 9 years ago

I'm sorry but Ian lamping Rob was definitely the highlight.

Had Brad got shedded in The Bull and let loose a trademark foul-mouthed tirade at Shula for being a sanctimonious cow, that would've been a lot better.

Cheesyclimber | 146 posts | 9 years ago

Hahaha, dat headline.

markyboy007 | 22 posts | 9 years ago

Unfortunately it was not enough Wiggo and too much Archers.

captain_slog | 577 posts | 9 years ago

It makes me wonder what other cyclists we'd like to see in the soaps. How about Lance as an Eastenders dope-dealer, riding his Boris bike round Albert Square? Or a Neighbours reboot with Kylie living next door to the Orica-GreenEdge team?

Actually, I currently have an idea under development for the BBC. In my scenario, the Romans have invented a primitive type of bicycle. The so-called tempus trialis involves gladiators hurtling round the Circus Maximus hacking at each other with swords. Carnage prevails until the arrival of a captured rebel slave leader who begins to organise the fightback. The only problem is I've no idea who to cast.

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