Beckham’s struggle with hammocks and tarantulas

What do you do when you hang up your boots after 22 years spent playing for the world’s greatest football teams If you are David Beckham you join forces with three friends for a motorbike trip into the heart of the Amazon rainforest.

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TV Guide: How did this programme come about

Beckham: The film is something I’ve never been able to do before now. When Anthony (Anthony Mandler, the director) and I first started talking about it we wanted to go to a place where I had actually been before but in a different direction and this was how we came up with going to the Amazon. I’m a big motorbike rider and so are two of my three friends that came with me on this trip, so it was the kind of journey that had no schedule. My whole life, my whole career has been about having a particular schedule that I’ve always kept to, so we just wanted to be able to jump on the bikes and do what we wanted wherever we wanted. It was important to also find somewhere where I was unrecognisable and we found that. It was a really special journey. We met some incredible people along the way, saw some amazing things, all in a country that is the home of football.

How much did you know about the plan before you set off

Anthony was totally clued up about the whole plan. He just didn’t brief us very well, especially Derek who came with a suitcase of ‘going out’ shirts. He wasn’t expecting to camp, he wasn’t expecting to go into the jungle. Dave and I were better prepared but Anthony still didn’t tell us much which is what I wanted. Obviously he briefed us slightly, but things like staying in hammocks every night, sleeping in the jungle,
things we were going to see, people we were going to meet, that was a total surprise.

What were the main challenges of the trip

How long have you got The first challenge for me was getting comfortable in a hammock. I’ve been in a hammock before with the kids or with Victoria, but sleeping in a hammock that was going to be your bed for 12 days, that was a whole different thing. I can’t lie. My first night’s sleep in the hammock was terrible. I had about 30-minutes sleep. About two days later someone decided to explain how best to sleep in a hammock and after that it was great. Not showering or washing – I’m a clean person so that was pretty tough for me. And then riding the bikes. I’m used to riding bikes, but not in that terrain or in that kind of weather, so that was difficult. Being away from the family was hard too.

Was the experience everythingthat you had hoped for

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It ended up being everything that I’d hoped for and more. It’s an experience that I’d definitely do again because it involved being away with friends, on motorbikes and being in a place like Brazil.

Were there any particularly scary or funny moments that took place that are maybe not in the documentary

There are hours and hours of scary, funny moments that definitely could not be broadcast. Some of the language was slightly colourful – not from myself of course, I don’t swear too much – but from the other guys it was. The moment we stepped off our bikes and set foot in the jungle stands out. We were literally three metres into the jungle when we came across a tarantula and that was like “OK, we’re in it now”. And there’s a moment when we start walking into the jungle and you can see the atmosphere change within me, Derek, Dave and Anthony. You can see our faces change, our eyes change. All of a sudden we’re hearing monkeys and our guides are telling us about the jaguars and that started worrying us a little bit. It was starting to get dark as well so we literally had to set up camp, put hammocks up, get a fire going. That was when we all realised we were in it for real.

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