As part of an aggressive network launch, Discovery Life Channel – which officially replaces Discovery Fit & Health on Thursday, Jan. 15 — introduces a rich lineup of original programming including the docu/adventure series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mother (Thursdays at 10pmET).
The series is an Americanized version of the popular U.K. hit of a similar name — 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy — and is part travel, part endearing relationship, part oddball adventure show featuring Irish daredevil and travel host Baz Ashmawy and his 71-year-old mother Nancy as they grab life by “the scruff of the neck” and tackle a bucket list of adventures together.
The title is a bit misleading, as Baz, obviously, isn’t really looking to kill his mum (the bloke actually said he’d strangle her if that really was the case), instead it’s a lighthearted trek across the globe where he tests his mammy’s mettle.
Proud mum Nancy actually takes a bit of the credit for the show’s idea. “Well, I wanted to do a sky dive, so in a way, I started the ball rolling,” Nancy shares. “I had no idea how far Baz would go with it, although. It was such an amazing trip and such an exciting adventure. Sometimes I think to myself, did we really do all those amazing things? Scuba dive? Roller coasters? Whitewater rafting? Sky dives — even a rally through the Sahara? Just shows you — you’re never too old to feel young.”
While Baz thought he could stump his mom on some of his preconceived adventures, she surprised continuously — actually, so much so that she didn’t say a bad thing about any of it. “Nothing was the worst but the most difficult was probably swimming with the great white sharks in South Africa. I can’t swim. I’m afraid of water and I’m not too fond of great white sharks either, so to do that was pretty hard — but I did it and I got a wonderful sense of achievement. I couldn’t have done it without my son though.”
Nancy’s way too modest. As for Baz, who has six children of his own ages 2 through 18, he originally brushed off his mom’s idea on skydiving thinking she was too old. The series has proven to be a hit in the UK and is now airing throughout Europe.
“Who thought trying to kill your mother would be so universally popular,” he joked. “It’s brought us all together in some weird way. …I was in Paris recently for the launch over there, and it’s been doing really well in Italy. I’m really proud of this. I’m really proud of my mom.”
From what he learn about Baz growing up (you’ll get the backstory in the premiere episode) he was no easy child to deal with so the title of the show could have easily gone in Nancy’s favor with something like, “50 Times I Wanted To Kill Baz.”
“I got a couple of whooping’s over the years, so it’s not like she didn’t start the fight, to be honest,” Baz adds. “She was a good mom to me but she did need to keep me on the straight and arrow, so I was very grateful for that. I went through a few schools when I was younger. I was always a bit wild.”
Baz has spent much of his adult life doing comedy/travel shows where he traveled the world doing crazy things.
“I’d just do anything I’d get a buzz out of, I got a buzz out of living a little edgy,” Baz shares. “Anything where I felt my adrenaline pumping is where I always felt alive, and I think my mom just thought ‘geez, this guy’s nuts.’ But it suited me. I got paid for what I loved doing, which is a neat trick if you can do that in life. If you can get paid for doing something you love it’s a great way to earn a living.”
Now he’s sharing the love with his mother in 50 Ways to Kill Your Mom (Thursdays at 10pmET), as well as a newfound emotion, which is fear.
“I didn’t think she’d do it,” Baz says of the sky diving jump. “I had this speech in my head where I thought she’d get into the plane, she’d freak out and I would tell her it’s OK, not to worry. But she didn’t. She was cool. She was calm. And then she was gone. She was gone out of the plane. And this was like 18,000 feet — this was the highest sky dive you can do in commercial sky dives in the world. … All of a sudden I started questioning everything. It was very intense. …I was just worried about her. I’ve done about 10 sky dives in my life. I’ve done so many, but doing it with her, I just worried about her the whole time. It was just no enjoyment at all. You can write these things down on paper but to do them is a different thing.”
And through that self-discovery comes an endearing, fun look that proves age doesn’t matter.
“She’s balsy. She’s brave. She impressed a lot of people,” Baz says. “The crew the entire time were kind of willing her to do these things, and then when she did them they would just erupt and applaud and clap her on. It was amazing to watch someone be that brave at that age. …Now she’s a super hero.”
> The six-part series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mother premieres on Discovery Life Channel (formerly Discover Fit & Life) Thursday, Jan. 15 at 10pmET.