Danny MacAskill is one of the superstars of YouTube. His spectacular and breathtaking bike tricks won him fame and celebrity online, after a viral video swept the Internet.
Daredevils: Life on the Edge is a one-hour documentary for Channel 4, following Danny MacAskill as he sets out to understand why young people take risks by pursuing the ultimate sensations and extreme sports. In his journey across Europe he meets his heroes - many of them also stars of the YouTube era - to understand what it is that drives them to take risks. Why do they seem so fearless compared to ‘normal' people? And what do they actually gain from taking these incredible risks?
In just three years, Danny has become one of the world's most spectacular and famous cyclists. His three jaw-dropping online films have accumulated over fifty million views on YouTube, and he's appeared in a raft of commercials around the globe. His skills are undeniably breathtaking and his creative vision is truly unique. But a decade of daredevil stunts has taken its toll on this young man from the Isle of Skye. He's suffered a series of injuries and is now recovering from surgery on both his knee and his spine. He's in purgatory: he can't ride yet, and despite sustaining those injuries whilst riding, he dreams of getting back on his bike.
In this one-off special, Danny finds out how his heroes face the fears, risks and danger of their sports. Along the way, Danny and his heroes also meet psychologists and scientists who may be able to provide some insights into the motivation behind their extraordinary risk taking.
In Northern Ireland, he meets the TT legend Guy Martin, and gets to experience the raw power of Guy's new racing bike for himself. TT is incredibly dangerous, often deemed the original extreme sport. In its history, TT has claimed the lives of over 200 riders on the Isle of Man. Could it be that the participants in TT and all extreme sports are really just ‘adrenaline junkies', or is that label fundamentally flawed?
Danny travels to the Alps, to meet the fearless high liners "The Frenchies", whose sport sees them rigging and walking "high wires" between mountain peaks in a sport dedicated to crossing unfathomably high voids. Are these acts of dare simply sensation seeking? Finally, Danny travels onto Switzerland to meet his biggest hero: the wingsuit proximity flyer Jokke Sommer. This is Danny's idea of the ultimate thrill, but in the Swiss town of Lauterbrunnen, the European base-jumping capital of Europe, will Jokke's proposed cliff jump prove a risk not worth taking?
The journey into extreme sports also becomes a battle with extreme weather, as every leg of Danny's trip is increasingly challenged by ever worsening weather conditions. Yet despite the bad weather, his lack of experience in any of these other extreme sports, or his injury, Danny can't quite stop himself from trying to experience some of these sports in some form for himself.
Daredevils: Life on the Edge is an exploration into what drives young people to take risks and push themselves beyond the limits. Will Danny's fascinating exploration into extreme sports help him create bigger, better stunts in the future - or will he hang his helmet up for good?
The film is a new commission from Channel 4's Education team who have a focus on life skills for young people.
Prod Co: Christie HQ in assoc. with Renegade Pictures
Prod./Dir: Mike Christie
Commissioning Editor: Faraz Osman