I'm a celebrity get me out of hereThe X-Factor 2010Dancing On Ice 2011Big Brother 2011SCD 2012 ForumDancing with the Stars 2011


Big Brother 2013 Forum

The Blue Room Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Reality TV > Dancing On Ice - 2011
  Active Topics Active Topics
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Register Register  Login Login

Holding out for a hero

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
  Topic Search Topic Search  Topic Options Topic Options
Alex View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
He can heal the sick

Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 18226
  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Holding out for a hero
    Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 15:12

Skating on thin ice has taken on a new meaning for a hero

Published: 12/01/2011

SOMETHING makes me feel distinctly uncomfortable about war hero Johnson Beharry appearing on the Dancing On Ice TV programme. It is something to do with the fact that reality shows and I have never seen eye to eye.

Over the past decade, the world has been bulging with Z-list celebrities – people who have spent a few minutes in the limelight on Big Brother or chewing lizards on I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me out of Here.

Right across Scotland, slack-jawed viewers spend hours every week watching people get fired, swap wives, jump from cliffs, eat spiders, lie down with snakes, race around the world and vote each other off islands.

Dancing on Ice comes into the same category, although even I will admit there is a lot of skill involved.

But the central concept of shows like Big Brother is that they are real; that we are watching a slice of actual life.

Are we hell.

On all these shows, the contestants know the cameras are there, and they play to them. Everybody's trying for a Bafta.

What bugs me most of all is that there are no real celebrities any more – as in role models.

We used to have heroes, people who actually did something to earn our respect.

Now we have a hero, one who earned the Victoria Cross in Iraq, appearing on a programme which, frankly, makes me shudder. It is not as bad as Strictly Come Dancing, but almost.

Johnson Beharry is someone I really admire. He was given the Victoria Cross in 2005, the highest honour for gallantry given to British and Commonwealth forces. It was the first VC awarded to a British soldier in 20 years.

The Dancing on Ice contestant was given it for two outstanding acts of gallantry which left him badly scarred, psychologically as well as physically.

In his autobiography, Barefoot Soldier, he spoke of how his brain injury changed him, made him prone to mood swings and flashbacks to the traumatic incidents in 2004.

Despite his past trauma, Johnson has entered the competition and says he finds the prospect of skating in front of a huge TV audience of 10million people more frightening than the day he risked death to save the lives of his fellow-soldiers.

He says he is afraid of falling; that if he takes a tumble his participation in the show will end.

After all, Johnson Beharry is a soldier, not a man cut out for any cheap limelight.

Having grown up in poverty, he readily admits the VC has had a massive impact on his life. It has opened doors for him which were previously always closed. Even generals must salute him.

Dancing on Ice could prove to be a turning point in my life as well. I might actually watch it just because this incredible man is appearing in it.

Somewhat fittingly, Johnson looks like someone who has been through the wars. At the time of his heroism, he was so badly wounded that he had to have his skull, nose and face rebuilt with titanium plates. He was in constant pain – in his head, shoulders and back.

And now, here he is, ready to dance/skate across our screens with a bunch of lesser beings. The man is quite remarkable.

Johnson Beharry was born into extreme poverty in the Caribbean island of Grenada, near the shanty town of St Mark, with seven brothers and sisters.

The family lived in two rooms and their only shelter from the tropical storms and boiling sun was a flimsy corrugated tin roof.

There was no running water and they had nothing but beans and rice to eat.

At 13, Johnson dropped out of school and worked as a mechanic and labourer, discovering a passion for driving and engines.

In 1999, deciding his life needed direction, he went to stay with relatives in London, but fell in with a bad crowd, drinking and taking drugs.

The fear of ending up an alcoholic like his father prompted him to cut off his dreadlocks and join the British Army – the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment – just to try and make something of himself.

In August 2001, he went to Catterick, in Yorkshire, to train and became a driver of a Warrior tracked armoured vehicle in C Company, 1st Battalion.

Prior to Iraq, he served for six months in Kosovo and three months in Northern Ireland.

On May 1, 2004, this Dancing on Ice contestant was driving a Warrior when he was called to help a foot patrol which had been caught up in a series of ambushes.

The Warrior was hit by multiple rocket-propelled grenades, causing widespread damage and resulting in the loss of radio communications.

Johnson just kept driving – straight through the ambush. A number of soldiers in the vehicle were injured, but he didn’t flinch, didn’t deviate.

That is what separates this incredible character from the rest of us.

Using every ounce of training, he extracted his wounded colleagues, all the time exposed to further enemy fire.

On that occasion, he was cited for “valour of the highest order”.

Then, on June 11, Johnson was, once again, driving the lead Warrior of his platoon through Al Amarah when his vehicle was ambushed. As the hatch of his vehicle was blasted open by enemy fire, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded a few inches from his head and shrapnel lodged in his brain, shattering his skull.

Unbelievably, he managed to take control of the vehicle and drive it out of the ambush area before he lost consciousness.

Together with the first incident, he saved the lives of 30 comrades.

Because of his VC, all officers, up to the chief of the general staff, have to salute him, and his bravery, a very far cry from his poverty-stricken days in Grenada.

Winning Dancing on Ice will not be the most memorable part of his CV, but at least 10million people will be able to see what a real hero looks like.

Source


Edited by Alex - 12 Jan 2011 at 15:13
Back to Top
Bren View Drop Down
Vintage Vamp
Vintage Vamp
Avatar
Private Dancer

Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 61031
  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 15:17
what a great article
Back to Top
Alex View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
He can heal the sick

Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 18226
  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 15:20
Makes you think doesn't it Bren?

I'm glad that he's been given an opportunity to appear on DOI, but in the larger scheme of things, Johnson's too good for the show (any reality show tbh) if you see what I mean
Back to Top
Bren View Drop Down
Vintage Vamp
Vintage Vamp
Avatar
Private Dancer

Joined: 19 Jan 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 61031
  Quote Bren Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 15:28
It puts ones own problems in perspective and the braveness and actions of the man just amazing - agree Alex about him being too good for a reality type show - but the fact that he is enjoying it and has said that he has stopped dreaming about what happened in Iraq since being on show,  instead dreaming of the steps he has to perform on the ice and if learning this new skill gives him some happiness and pleasure - then all power to him and I really wish him well in the show.
Back to Top
Alex View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar
He can heal the sick

Joined: 19 Dec 2003
Location: United Kingdom
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 18226
  Quote Alex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 15:40
I was actually relieved he made it through to the actual show. He most definitely wasn't the worst skater, but as we saw with Laura if your name's not out there in media land, the public tend to forget about you. Luckily this wasn't the case. He did great, especially when you consider his extensive injuries.
Back to Top
Eviesmum View Drop Down
Nymphomaniac
Nymphomaniac
Avatar
Twilight Mad

Joined: 02 Jan 2009
Location: Norwich
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3352
  Quote Eviesmum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jan 2011 at 18:02
Great article.  I'm a bit confused though.

Is he still a serving soldier (I guess not as he's on DOI), or are his injuries so severe that he's not serving anymore.

I thought he did a lovely job on Sunday - he was a very neat skater (like Gary), hopefully if he knows his routines he can start to put in a bit more performance.  Have to say I really liked his partner too - she seemed very sweet with him.

Also just to add that Donal frequently fell over and he came second so falling over is not a problem.


Edited by Eviesmum - 12 Jan 2011 at 18:02
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down


Click Here to Visit!
Sirlinksalot:bigbrother Reality TV Links:Bigbrother