Actor Walliams to brave dirty Thames in new Sport Relief swim

ACTOR David Walliams is braving raw sewage and deadly diseases to raise money for Sport Relief by swimming the entire length of the Thames.

The comedian and panel show host will be setting off from Lechlade in Gloucestershire and will swim 140 miles over eight days to reach Big Ben in London.

Walliams’ epic swim will also see him brave bitingly cold river water, which can cause cramp and involuntary breathing spasms known as a “gasp reflex”.

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As well as carefully navigating the busy river traffic, the Little Britain star will have to deal with murky water that harbours a cocktail of bacteria such as E.coli, salmonella and hepatitis.

Walliams will also have to avoid the 39 million cubic metres of raw sewage that finds its way into the Thames every year after heavy rainfall.

The comedian said: “Most people in the UK know the Thames, and most people think the idea of swimming in it is horrifying. And it is.

“It’s really not a safe environment to swim in – people really mustn’t try this, I have an incredible team of experts to help keep me safe.”

The entertainer said that he would require numerous injections to help ward off infection from the polluted water.

The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Walliams vs The Thames, which begins on 5 September, will be filmed for a documentary to be broadcast next year.

In 2006 he swam the Channel, raising £1 million for Sports Relief.