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Would you put your mum in harm's way for television, or is she just too precious?

Well-known local men reveal if they would copy the hit TV show and push their mother to the limit

By Kerry McKittrick

You might have seen some interesting trailers on the television recently. Irish TV presenter Baz Ashmany has made a career out of travelling the world and throwing himself into extreme situations.

In his latest series for Sky TV, he takes his 71-year-old mum, Nancy, along for the ride. In 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy, viewers will see the pensioner try out sky diving, stunt driving and even alligator wrangling. According to Baz the aim is to gently test his mother's limits – some of them being gambling her pension away in Las Vegas or snake charming – in fact, anything at all that comes into their path. Kerry McKittrick talks to two men from Belfast about their 'mammies' and finds out what their 'mammies' have to say about them.

‘I’d put mum up for a show like this, it’s a great idea’

Olympic boxer Paddy Barnes (27) lives in Belfast with his fiancee Mari and their daughter Eireann (4 months). He says:

I wish my mum would tidy up after me and do things for me, but she hasn't done since I moved out. I'm the first of four brothers and mum is a little more protective of me than she is of the others. That drives me a bit nuts — I'm sure the others feel the same. She worries about me getting hurt when I'm boxing. She also used to smoke (which I hated) for years and only recently quit.

Mum comes to every fight and spends her time shouting things to my dad — not to me. She gets really excited.

The best thing about mum though is the brilliant support she has always given me. When I was living at home, I got proper dinners every night. She also did all my laundry and there was a lot of that — I train up to three times a day, so there was always kit that needed to be washed on top of everyone else's clothes. Now I know how to use the washing machine.

I've seen a clip for this TV series and I think it's a great idea — I'd put my mum up for that any time.”

Ellen Barnes (50) lives in Belfast with her husband Paddy. They have four grown-up sons; Paddy, Michael, Gareth and Thomas. She says:

When Paddy was small, he was the quietest child you could ever meet. I think the boxing brought him out of his shell. I remember going to watch him box at the National Stadium in Dublin and there were two guys in front of us saying things like Paddy was really funny and witty. I had to ask them if it was my Paddy they were talking about because he never opened his mouth in the house.

Laundry was a big bad habit of Paddy's — dear help Mari. He was a terrible one for leaving kit bags lying around for a long time. After the first time he went to the Olympics, his kit bag sat in my office for five months after he came back. It's amazing how many towels he's able to use — I don't understand how a guy can use six towels and I can dry myself with a flannel, and I have hair when he doesn't.

I'm close to all of my boys and although we do follow and support Paddy, I never wanted to give him more attention than the other three. We're a very close family, but murder each other at times, just like every other family. I think Paddy's learned to speak his mind now and get things out in the open instead of him letting them fester. It's funny now that Mari and Paddy have the baby — you'd think they had won the lottery. Paddy brings her down to my house and stands over me when I hold her, telling me I do things wrong. I tell him that karma is a funny thing, I've raised four kids so I know what I'm doing!

I've been watching a few clips of the TV show and I would love to do things like that. I've even abseiled down the Europa Hotel and Scrabo Tower to raise money for bowel cancer. I was meant to do a sky dive too but it fell through — I would never rule it out!”

‘Daredevil stunts are definitely not for me’

Ralph McLean (44) is a TV and radio presenter and lives in Ballymoney with his wife Kerry and their children Tara (7) and Dan (6). He says:

I have a brother and a sister — I'm the baby of the family and I think I was probably spoiled rotten. I had a great childhood and my mother is the sweetest, nicest woman you could ever meet. I couldn't ask for a better mother.

I’m very close to my mum and she's a great granny to my two kids; they love her and she dotes on them. It's nice to see her working her magic all over again. She's very laid-back, always calm and always in control. Women from that generation are always impressive.

Mum is a brilliant cook. She's the classic Irish mum who would cook anything for you at any time of day. If you went round to her house at 4am she would have a fry waiting for you.

One of her specialities is a chocolate cake that is just gorgeous. The whole family loves these cakes and even extended family members are always asking her to make one for any birthdays that are coming up. But mum thinks her cakes are terrible — she always says that we only ask for them because we feel we should. We love them, but she is forever telling us to throw them out. We always tell her that if we didn't want them, then we wouldn't ask for them, but she doesn't believe us. It drives me insane that she doesn’t appreciate how brilliant a cook she is.

I couldn’t see my mum doing any of the things they do in the TV programme. Neither of us could really see the point of going sky diving or bungee jumping. We’ve never understood the appeal of those sort of things.”

Iris McLean (71) lives in Lisburn and has three grown-up children, Gordon, Heather and Ralph. She says:

There is one thing that drives me nuts about Ralph — and I'm sure it would drive anyone nuts. He is a terrible hoarder. He collects books, records and even those tape cassettes that people used to use.

There are still boxes and boxes of these things belonging to him in in my house. He always talks about picking them up, but rarely does.

When he actually does, he might lift a couple of boxes but you would hardly know because it barely makes a dent in what's there.

The boxes have been sitting here for 20 years. I also still have bookshelves full of Ralph’s things and live in hope that some day he will come and do a big clear out.

There are of course plenty of good things about Ralph. He's very kind-natured — I know all mothers would say that, but he is. He's also very laid-back and hard to rile. It would be hard to get him in a bad temper. I'm sure there's a temper in there somewhere but it doesn't come out to me.

I haven't seen anything about this programme 50 Ways To Kill Your Mammy. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a cowardly person and prefer to keep my feet on the ground. I like to see other people do daredevil stunts, but they're definitely not for me.”

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