The Bridge: Race to a Fortune press pack - Interview with AJ Odudu

Category: Press Pack Article

What was it about The Bridge that appealed to you?
The Bridge is the type of show I would have taken part in. It’s full of adventure, it’s bold, it’s brave and it’s set in Vietnam. You get to meet a lot of new people, see how you work and develop in a team but it’s also about the individual. A challenge like that, which sounds impossible, is right up my street. So when I was offered it, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to get involved it this show, it sounds epic’.

Did you watch the first series?
I loved the first series and now it’s got more jeopardy, an exotic location, Aldo Kane – who is incredible to work with - and me! I really hope everyone likes it and enjoys it as much as I enjoyed filming it.

What was it like filming in Vietnam?
January is essentially Vietnam’s winter and the weather was up and down, it was volatile. Some days we were freezing and some days it was absolutely scorchio. I really felt for the teams, they were really at one with nature and they were at the mercy of the tides and the sandflies, gosh, everything. It was so fascinating to watch them come together and see how they navigated their way through that.

You said this is the sort of show you would have applied for. Would you have been happy in their camps and going through everything they did?
I guess so. I did SAS: Who Dares Wins which was set in Chile in the Andes mountains and was absolutely freezing and we had no washing facilities whatsoever. This still has a touch a glam, for sure. They had the gorgeous sea to wash in at least, we didn’t have any of that but it’s still a huge feat.

When you first met the contestants, did you make judgements on who you thought would do well and did people surprise you as the competition went on?
That’s what I love about shows like this, people always surprise you. The person you think might be the frontrunner turns out not to be, or the people you think are laying low and quiet in the background are the secret assassins. It’s so interesting to watch people surpassing even their own expectations. That’s what I really love about it, people are so much better than what they even believe themselves to be sometimes, so it was great to be part of something that watches people develop those skills and confidence as the days went on.

The South Beach team seemed more cohesive than North Beach in the first episode. Do we see that start to change across the series?
There are so many twists and turns and so much jeopardy, it’s not all plain sailing. Let’s just put it that way!

When Aldo goes onto the beaches to see how the teams are getting on, he doesn’t mince his words in his assessment of their bridge building. How would you respond to that?
It must be quite brutal, you’ve tried your hardest or you think you’ve tried your hardest, all day chopping wood, tying it together and putting on these flotation devices and then you get it in the sea and it all crumbles apart… And what’s even worse is someone comes along and goes ‘that’s rubbish’. It would be a tough pill to swallow to hear that from Aldo but what you’ve got to remember is that they’ve got an incentive of £200,000 and with that incentive, I could suck it up!

Where do you fit into a team dynamic? Are you a leader, do you prefer to be more reserved at first?
I think I’m a bit of both. Team dynamics are tricky to navigate and sometimes you have to lead and sometimes you have to follow. It’s about finding the balance and knowing when to assert yourself.

Are there any standout contestants we should be looking out for?
They’re all incredible characters. I definitely think looks can be deceiving but they all bring so much to the table and stand out for their own unique reasons.

Even in the first episode there are tears and tantrums - does this continue throughout?
This is a challenge of a lifetime that’s hard mentally and physically with so much money at stake so of course the emotions are going to change from episode to episode, much to our viewing pleasure.

It looks like there might be a bit of a romance, too, which is a little unexpected?
I mean, no one was expecting it! But you never know, some people find connections in the most unusual of circumstances and there’s potential for anything when people are working so closely together.

Where do you get to stay when the contestants are on the island? Are you in a plush hotel somewhere? 
Thankfully I got to stay in a plush hotel and I was really happy about that. As much as this is the show I would have participated in, I’m not and so as a result I was loving the fact I got to go back to the hotel and have a nice hot shower and food I didn’t have to cook over a campfire. I was very lucky.

It is right you’re not a swimmer? How would you have coped with the arrival at the island and having to swim to the beach with all your belongings?
You can use your bag as a flotation device and that’s what I would have gambled doing. I would also have got with a really strong swimmer. On South Beach for example, I would have got with Ethan and said ‘you’re literally swimming me to shore’. I think you have to assert yourself in those situations to make sure you literally don’t drown. I’d have been a mess!

Has working with Aldo and hearing about his many adventures made you want to take on any extreme challenges yourself?
Maybe just a little bit more travel. Aldo has seen the world, he loves to travel, he loves to explore, his son is called Atlas! Going on an adventure at some point would be epic, really cool. Maybe a world trip where I could stop at nice hotels along the way. Aldo is more extreme than me, he backpacks, climbs a mountain and is like ‘yeah I’m going to sleep on that rock’ or ‘I’m going to sleep in the jungle’. I’m not that brave!

How would you briefly sum up The Bridge to entice viewers to tune in?
The Bridge: full of adventure, travel, drama and humour, it’s very exciting and a lot of fun. Watch and enjoy.

The Bridge: Race to a Fortune
Tuesday 7th June, 10pm, Channel 4 & All 4