BBC documentary featuring ex-England footballer in Brazil included encounters with a frog and a snake, plus hair concerns. David Beckham told his wife Victoria that he would wear a hat in the rainforest after she voiced concerns about his hair.
It was billed as David Beckham’s epic journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, but Michael Palin has branded the former England football captain a “wimp” after he was rattled on his debut BBC1 travelogue by a frog, a snake and concerns about his hair.
Beckham and three friends travelled to Rio de Janeiro, where they played beach volleyball with the locals, before journeying to the remote Yanomami tribe for the 90-minute film masterminded my Beckham’s marketing guru, Simon Fuller.
The footballer, who hung up his boots last year, spent the night in the rainforest during the 12-day trip – “literally the middle of nowhere,” he said – accompanied only by his friends and two expert guides.
Beckham achieves one of his ambitions, which was to find somewhere in the world where he was not recognised, and has to explain football to one of the locals.
Beckham said: “It is the first time I have ever had to explain what soccer is to anybody apart from Victoria.”
Beckham, who travels around much of the country on a motorbike, described some of the experiences as “terrifying” and complained about the perils of having to sleep in a hammock.
He is filmed being left shaken by a brightly coloured frog which appears on top of the tent and by a snake which he worries is on his back and is seen slithering off into the jungle.
Palin, the Monty Python star and veteran of numerous BBC travelogues including one to Brazil, who interviewed Beckham at the programme launch on Monday, told him: “You are a wimp really. David Attenborough would have interviewed it [the frog].”
Beckham said: “I wish the snake had been bigger. It was bigger than it looks on TV.
“I am not a big frog fan. It was bright orange and I was told it was pretty dangerous. I was a little bit nervous about that.”
Before setting off on the journey Beckham is filmed being given advice by his wife Victoria.
She asks him: “What are you going to do with your hair, with all that humidity?”
Beckham replies, much to the approval of his wife: “I am going to wear a hat.”
He also related a tricky experience with one tribesman who was naked and covered entirely in black paint.
Despite his misgivings about the sleeping arrangements, Beckham said he wanted to do another travelogue “without a doubt”.
Whether it is on the BBC remains to be seen. The documentary, David Beckham: Into The Unknown was funded by its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, BBC1 and Fuller’s XIX agency. It has been sold to around 15 countries so far.
Fuller is understood to have first approached the BBC last year with the idea for the documentary, in the run-up to the football World Cup this month.
Palin said the programme showed aspects of Beckham he had not seen before. While he said parts of it were “more David Beckham than David Attenborough”, he said it was well shot and praised the footballer as a “good observer”.
It will air on BBC1 next Monday and in Brazil on the same day.