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Ant Middleton and Liam Payne: Straight Talking, Sky 1 review - when the commando met the pop star | reviews, news & interviews

Ant Middleton and Liam Payne: Straight Talking, Sky 1 review - when the commando met the pop star

Ant Middleton and Liam Payne: Straight Talking, Sky 1 review - when the commando met the pop star

Manly true confessions under African skies

'They're paying you how much?' Ant and Liam share a joke in Namibia

“What is wrong with us? What are we doing here?” Liam Payne asked the camera, as we neared the end of his jaunt round picturesque Namibia with his quizmaster Ant Middleton. The short answer would be “it’s for the publicity, you idiot,” but of course he knows that full well. He’d just leapt off a cliff face and swung in wide circles on a rope above the russet-coloured desert far below.

It looked quite fun actually.

The formula here was Bear Grylls Lite, as special forces veteran Middleton took a “journey of a lifetime” across Namibia by road and rail with X Factor and One Direction veteran Payne. Though you never know, they might have only travelled about 20 miles and then bodged it all together in the edit. Whatever. The difference is that where Bear wants to beat his companions into submission with brutal outward-bound treks and food that crawls across your plate, Middleton uses the splendour of the great outdoors as part of his seduction technique to prise out some innermost secrets.

It partly worked, but would have been more successful if Middleton hadn’t been outflanked by Payne’s straightforward willingness to talk about himself. The theory is that Middleton is a devilishly cunning interviewer (with the military he did something called “technical questioning”, which luckily didn’t involve pulling Payne’s toenails out), but Payne understood exactly what he was doing and how far he was prepared to go. Passing through the eye of the media hurricane as a member of one of the world’s biggest pop groups has obviously taught him a thing or two.

Anyway, he talked frankly – or as frankly as anyone would with an omnipresent camera crew lurking a few feet away – about his relationship with Cheryl Cole and their son Bear (they’re separated, but still seem very close), his determination to succeed, and even times when the chaos of stardom made him feel suicidal. “Why do you like older women?” asked Middleton cheekily, prompting possibly Payne’s most evasive answer, when he said Naomi Campbell “was just a friend.” And, er, that One Direction comeback? Yep, could happen, but only as a four-piece (ie no Zayn).

The most interesting bit, though, was when Payne turned the tables and got Middleton to talk about killing the enemy in combat. “It’s just a job,” said Middleton, adding that you had to believe it was the right thing to do to get the job done. For a moment, something very like a pang of doubt flashed across Payne’s face.

With the military Ant did something called 'technical questioning', which luckily didn’t involve pulling Payne’s toenails out


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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