TV review: Idris Elba No Limits, Discovery
Actor Idris Elba takes on some of the world's toughest motorsport challenges
As an actor, Idris Elba is used to having a stunt team behind him. And even if they don't get it right the first time, you can just set up for take two. However, there's no safety net on No Limits, as Elba straps in and tests himself by participating in a series of racing trials.
The series opens with Elba preparing to take part in the Circuit of Ireland Rally (later episodes include drag racing, aerial acrobatics and an attempt to break the 'Flying Mile' record set by Malcolm Campbell in 1927), his first challenge being squeezing his chunky 6'3" frame into a purpose-built Ford Fiesta R1, before heading to Scotland (Lanark and Knockhill) to hook up with five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae (and father of rally legend Colin McRae) for his training. He can't even compete until he passes his rally license.
After they arrive in Ireland the realities hit Elba, as he gets a taste of negotiating the 60 kilometres of narrow, windy country lanes that make up the Circuit of Ireland. There's genuine trepidation balanced out by his competitive streak. In rally driving, control and technique is as important as speed.
The real thrill in No Limits is watching someone push themselves. Following in the tradition of Top Gear and more recent contenders like Speed with Guy Martin, how much you enjoy the show hinges on how much you like the presenters - and Elba is an incredibly likable, personal bloke. Before acting he used to work on the factory floor at Ford assembling Fiestas, so there's a deep, ingrained love for the sport.
Inevitably there are a few bumps, crashes and spills along the way, nicely building to the climatic race. Only about 50% of drivers complete the course, so even crossing the finish line is a challenge in itself. Some of the action sequences could be more dynamic, but No Limits effectively captures the adrenaline and passion inherent in motor sports, even for non-petrol heads.
Idis Elba: No Limits premieres on Discovery, Mon 6 Jul