herald

Friday 19 January 2018

Baz back on track with wacky new series after his drink-drive ordeal

RTE star Baz Ashmawy (35) has admitted he's delighted to be included in the autumn TV schedule.

The popular presenter is returning to our small screens in October with a new instalment of Baz's Culture Clashes, a four-part series that sees him living with a throng of weird and wacky characters.

The part-Egyptian star has had a bad few months-- in February he pleaded guilty to driving while drunk, a judge put him off the road for two years, and RTE suspended him without pay for one month.

He's now back with a bang and says it feels great. "There's nothing much you can do except cycle on with things. There's nothing much you can do about the rest of it. It is what it is, but it's good to get back to work and get back to normality," he said.

Speaking about his RTE2 show returning for another season, he explained: "I'm heading off shortly to live with the Suri tribe in Ethiopia, as you do. I'm looking forward to that, but it takes about three days to get there, which I'm not looking forward to. But once I get there, I'm sure I'll get on very well. I'm also going to the borders of New Mexico where there's a very, very large hillbilly family who run an alligator farm. I'm going to live in a trailer park with them for a while and see what life is like."

But not all his adventures will be to far-flung places, as he has already started filming a segment in Ireland. "We did that last week. It was a week of looking at the pest control industry in Ireland, so that was very glamorous. I was out shooting pigeons at a farm in Wexford last night, that's why I'm a bit tired today," he added.

"RTE wanted a very quick turnaround on the series, so I'm making four programmes, but I may do a couple more later on in the year."

However, his hectic schedule has meant he missed a crucial event in the life of his baby daughter Hannah, born to his girlfriend Tanya Evans 15 months ago.

"They're all away at the moment because I'm filming, but she started walking the other day and I missed out on that, so I was a bit p***** off but I saw in later on Skype," he added.







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He is also relishing his 2fm weekend show with sidekick Lucy Kennedy, which he describes as "all very nonsensical" but that they have a huge amount of fun doing it.

And thankfully he has had no repeats of the health scare that happened to him last May. He had to spend two weeks recovering in St Vincent's Hospital after suffering from a collapsed lung during a punishing work-out session.

He then boarded a plane from London to Dublin when he suddenly had stabbing pains in his chest during the flight and had to be rushed to hospital.

mfinn@herald.ie

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