The format will go into production next week and will be hosted by Top Gear presenter Andrew Flintoff and AJ Odudu, who currently fronts ITV’s backstage coverage of The Voice UK.
During a grueling physical mission that’s expected to take up to four weeks to complete, the two boats of stars will stop off at checkpoints in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, during which they will undertake spectacular physical challenges that could give them an advantage in the race.
South Shore founders Melanie Leach and Andrew Mackenzie told Deadline that the show is relatively coronavirus-proof, given that it is filmed almost entirely outside, and cast and crew can maintain a tight bubble.
Presenters, the cast of celebrities and key crew have quarantined in the run-up to filming and will be tested for Covid. Safety consultants specializing in the disease are also on hand, in addition to safety measures that are unique to a show in which inexperienced rowers chart 500 miles of open sea.
Leach said Don’t Rock The Boat will benefit from their experience making English Channel crossing show Sink Or Swim for Channel 4 last year. “We were thinking about what are the other things that we could do with a celebrity cast that is really physically and mentally challenging,” she said. “Rowing is a great British tradition… and we thought it’s a good precinct that feels unexplored in terms of celebrity reality shows.”
She added: “ITV was very keen to find something that was producible under corona circumstances. The great thing about this show is it’s predominantly outside and we can also produce it within a bubble.”
Don’t Rock The Boat is South Shore’s first commission for ITV main channel after Leach and Mackenzie set up the company last October following their departure from Twofour. South Shore’s other commissions include ITV2 lockdown show Home Alone With Joel Dommett and a BBC One eating disorder documentary fronted by Flintoff.
Don’t Rock The Boat was ordered by ITV entertainment chief Katie Rawcliffe and commissioner Kevin O’Brien. Executive producers are Caroline Davies, Leach and Mackenzie. Jess Thomas is the series editor. ITV Studios is distributing the format internationally and Leach said there was already interest from overseas broadcasters.
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