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Fiennes and Blaine to team up for new Alaska challenge
6 Nov 2003 by Matt Knight
Veteran explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes is to team up with box fanatic David Blaine to perform the mother of all endurance stunts, it was announced yesterday. Speaking at a press conference in London, the two heroes explained that the challenge would combine the two men's talents to produce a show that it is hoped will stop the world spinning on its axis.
Fiennes will be pulling a naked and blindfolded Blaine across Alaska on a sled. The stunt, which they hope to complete in four weeks, has the added spice of Blaine risking his life further by having to shave all his body hair off, with a cutthroat razor, whilst in transit.
It is rumoured that Blaine has trained himself not to bleed when cut, but a specially-trained TV crew will be on hand to dispense tiny bits of tissue paper and "get some good close-up shots" should he nick a main artery.
"This is the challenge to end all challenges," Fiennes enthused yesterday. "It's Jack London meets Quentin Tarantino. We want ordinary people to be inspired by our selfless acts of bravery. We are pushing the human envelope."
Blaine, who sat next to Fiennes at the press conference, did say a few very poorly-chosen words, but no-one could understand him because of the 30-second gap between each one of his utterances. Fortunately, though, only the entertainment reporter from BBC Three was listening to the crazy/cool attention-seeking delusionist from New York.
The stunt, which will be covered live by Sky One, will cost up to £10m to stage and Birdseye and Gillette are already confirmed as sponsors. Fiennes and Blaine hope to raise half a million pounds for the Laser Eye Treatment for Moles Foundation, but it was not made clear how or why.
Fiennes was meanwhile quizzed by DeadBrain reporter Douglas Ramsbottom on the inspiration behind his previous world-changing endurance test of seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.
"I was playing the quiz machine in my local pub – The North Pole - when a question about me came up," he explained. "Not only did they get my name wrong – Randy Fines – but they wrongly named Gary Barlow as the first man to trek to both poles. I was incensed and began playing the fruit machine and spun the jackpot 777 immediately! So there you have it."
Reports that Fiennes had initially hoped to bore to the centre of the earth with a plastic trowel from his allotment in Hertfordshire were flatly denied. "I was bored, not boring," he said.
Once this challenge is over, Blaine is reportedly considering dressing up as a seal and living at the North Pole for six months in a move that environmental experts have described variously as "dangerous", "pointless" and "cold".