Alex Brooker is the Hobby Man for Channel 4

ExclusiveThursday 28th April 2022, 8:48am by Jay Richardson

Alex Brooker. Copyright: BBC, 7 Wonder

Alex Brooker has landed a Channel 4 series about discovering new hobbies, British Comedy Guide can exclusively reveal.

In the four-part series Hobby Man, the Last Leg star is joined on a crash course in pastimes as varied as gliding and knitting by comedian Joe Wilkinson, The Inbetweeners' Joe Thomas, television chef Andi Oliver and presenter Scarlett Moffatt.

Made by Gadget Man production company North One with the Motion Content Group, each hour-long episode will see Brooker and his guest trying three hobbies, from the familiar to the obscure, though everything will be something viewers can try themselves.

Offering a potted history on each activity, covering everything from the origins and cost to what you need to get started and the type of people you're likely to encounter, they'll be meeting passionate advocates for each hobby around the UK, with Brooker pledging to challenge himself like never before. Production is currently ongoing, with the presenter and Thomas trying out dog agility in Wiltshire earlier this week.

"I've realised that I'm now in my late 30s and still only really like the same things as I did when I was 12 - basically football and Ghostbusters," said Brooker. "And while most people used lockdown to find new hobbies or carry on their existing ones, I mainly watched children's TV to keep my kids happy so I'm delighted Channel 4 have made me their Hobby Man!

"It's been amazing travelling around Britain with our brilliant guests and getting out my comfort zone trying new hobbies. From learning to knit, making my own beer and getting panicked 3,000 feet in the air in a glider - it's been some experience! I hope the audience enjoy it as much as I have."

Hobby Man was commissioned by Clemency Green, Channel 4's senior commissioning editor for features and daytime at Channel 4 and is executive produced by John Quinn for North One and Melanie Darlaston for Motion Content Group.

"There are so many weird and wonderful things that us Brits do in our spare time, and we couldn't wait to put the brilliant Alex Brooker through his paces," said Green. "We're delighted that he's agreed to let us share in his undoubtedly unique quest to find a new hobby."

Quinn added: "It's a win-win - watching Alex and his companion each week getting stuck into some of the huge range of new hobbies on offer was always going to be highly entertaining, funny and, no doubt occasionally, less than successful. But if people do like the look of what they see, there will be lots of practical information on how they can have a go themselves."

Meanwhile Brooker, who has a prosthetic leg, having had his right leg amputated as a baby and been born with hand and arm deformities, has spoken about becoming the first disabled player to feature in the latest Soccer Aid game for Unicef in June, appearing alongside the likes of Mo Gilligan, Peacock's Lucien Laviscount, and ex-professional footballers Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Patrice Evra.

"As a kid I played football, but it's the one thing where, within the realms of my disability, I kept on trying to play as a teenager," Brooker told the Press Association.

"I had operations on my legs when I was 16/17 and that was all just because I wanted to carry on playing football. And it was one of those things where, when I got to about 19, I realised that actually I'm just not going to be able to do it every week any more. And so, for me, football was the first time when actually my disability, genuinely, I can honestly say, it stopped me doing something and it bothered me ... I've not played football for a long time, but to be able to come back and be able to play in this is a really big thing for me."

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