THE GAMES - CHANNEL 4

Here at the Designer Magazine offices were the first to knock any D-list celebrity that chases fame on the likes of Celebrity Big Brother, Fame Academy or The Salon. But Channel 4's The Games offers something different with the competition being about the strongest will survive rather than the media savvy sycophants who plan each carefully worded conversation to gain maximum effect in the tabloids.

Competing against each other in week long series of events will be Melanie C, James Hewitt, Gail Porter, Harvey (So Solid Crew), Terri Dwyer (Hollyoaks), Lee Latchford Evans (ex-Steps), Miss World: Azra Akin, Bobby Davro, Josie dArby (Merseybeat, CBBC), and Jean-Christophe Novelli (chef). Designer Magazine caught up with the odds on favourite to smash the competition, Harvey, to find out how the preparation has been going.

Q: You've been in training for The Games over the past couple of months. Has it been more intense than you expected it to be?
A: It's been nearly 8 weeks now and last weeks the final week of sessions and just ready to go. The training has been first class obviously cos it's all like the England Coaches that train the National Squad. It's been brilliant because i'm in the best shape of my life.

Each day day you have double sessions. For instance yesterday I had Long Jumping at 10.45 till 12.45, had a lunch break and then head weight lifting training so you're always adapting yourself to different things in one day. I'm actually the strongest one in 4 of the events out of 6 so that should be enough for me to win it, but at the end of the day it all boils down to the day of the competition. You've just got to make sure you're on point and all the training pays off really.
 

Q: To be honest looking at the list of contestants it is yourself and Mel C that are gonna walk through everything?
A: That's what everyone thinks, but I'm not a person to boast and brag. Phone me when I come out then I can boast and brag, but to the end i'm not saying nothing.
 

Q: Have you met the other contestants yet and how are you getting along with them?
A: Basically the women train together and the guys train together so we've been together for the last 2 months living like brothers. It's been a great experience and everyone there's absolutely amazing and that's just being honest. If I don't like someone I'd honestly say, but everyone's a diamond and it's so shocking because we all come from different worlds.

I've become very close with Jean-Christophe Novelli, the French chef, and James Hewitt which is very weird. I know it's weird but me and James have really really close because he's a genuine bloke and he talks on the level and I like people that are straight to the point. It is shocking, it's a different experience for me in there and they're definitely people I'll be friends with when I come out.
 

Q: We all thought you'd develop a Goldie / Les Dennis style friendship with Bobby Davro. Has that not happened yet?
A: Oh no, Bobby's hardly never there at training and he's his own character. I don't know what to say about Bobby. Lee (ex-Steps) is another nice guys. He's very quiet, but me and Lee have had a lot of time together and a few conversations and he's a got a good heart and relaxes and keeps himself to himself.

You see me I don't read papers, I think the papers are a load of sh*t to be honest and that's my honest opinion. But some so called celebrities feel they need papers, but I feel the only time I need a paper is when I'm promoting something positive I've done. Not for all the negative reasons.
 

Q: You've got the Big Brother cameras on at all times. How do you feel about never having a private moment?
A: It's going to be different because people know were in there for a reason. Were hardly going to be spending a lot of time sitting down together. Were going to be up and about going to get massages, going to the steam room, your saunas and going to get treated. It's going to be mad but with this it's sport though..so if you don't do well you're going to look like a mug on national television.

As I said in training the guys know that I'm stronger. JC said "if I had a son I wish he was like you". I am competitive, but I'm not competitive in training because were there to have fun but when it comes to the actual events it's no holds barred.
 

Q: Nowadays you are known more for the TV presenting and appearance than the music. How do you feel about this?
A: The music was where I built my trade up and got known, but then people see other aspects of me. Without seeming big headed I like to call myself an entrepreneur because I just enjoy doing things and enjoy life man. You've got to enjoy this while you're hot because you could be doing jobs like working in Sainsburys.

My friends used to go that I should be on tele when I younger. I was always the crazy one, always the loudmouth one, always the one out there at the end of a joke. I think all my true friends thought TV was where Harvey deserves to be because that's my character.
 

Q: You're still doing the music though and I believe there's an album in the pipeline. Tell us more?
A: I was recording the album just before I went into the house, but I've calmed down now. I need to focus my mind - Eye Of The Tiger, man.

It's nothing like Get Up An Move. Get Up And Move was the worst career mistake of my whole career. It was the record label and what they want and all that pressure and I've only gone with this label cos we work  together and are both happy...not because they want me to be this rap rock superstar as my last label did. This ain't America and it was never going to work over here. The new stuff is more on the Fabulous tip...commerical rap with proper singalong tunes and loads of club bangers on there as well.
 

Q: With all this happening it must be hard to catch up with Alesha sometimes?
A: It's crazy. Obviously she's rehearsing for her tour at the moment and she's just come back off holiday, but we spend as much time together as possible. I've just been hanging up her washing today cos i've had the day off. Me & Alesha ain't really industry boys and girls and we spend a lot of times with our friends and our family come round our house. Were tight for our family and that's our happiness really. That's our form of freedom...just doing the normal things like you do.

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The Games starts on Sunday Night on C4

For schedules see local press or check out
www.channel4.com
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