Sleb Safari: When celebrities Tango with the Grim Reaper

Alison Steadman posing up a storm with some Shetland ponies

STOP the presses, we’ve a new addition to the Celebrity Brush With Death canon.

To recap, and in no particular order, we’ve had stories involving Bono, porpoise botherer Dick Van Dyke and Leonardo DiCaprio: now, to that roster of dignitaries, we add Alison Steadman.

Allow Sleb Safari to offer a brief overview of what we’ve learned about each member’s Tango with the Grim Reaper.

Bono’s dalliance with death was in the air, mid flight from Dublin to Berlin, when a door reportedly blew out.

Honorary Cockney Dick Van Dyke has twice escaped from the jaws of death.

Once he fell asleep on his surfboard and drifted far from shore.

"I woke up out of sight of land... and I started paddling with the swells and I started seeing fins swimming around me and I thought, 'I'm dead!'," he recalled.

"They turned out to be porpoises [and] they pushed me all the way to shore. I'm not kidding." We know you’re not, Dick.

Mary Poppins’ squeeze had a second near miss when his car went on fire while he was driving it and a passing motorist came to his rescue.

No-one reported seeing any porpoises.

The third star in our Celebrity Brush With Death hall of fame has cheated death not once, not twice, but thrice which seems excessive and downright greedy.

Leonardo DiCaprio racked up an explosion on a plane, a shark ‘attack’ and a skydiving accident, all by the age of 40.

The first was on a flight to Russia when a wing of the aircraft exploded “in a fireball” and the plane made an emergency landing in New York.

His next near tragedy was the result of taunting sharks in a cage dive.

“A great white jumped into my cage when I was diving… Half of its body was in the cage, and it was snapping at me… I sort of fell down to the bottom and tried to lie flat.”

Leo’s third adventure came in the form of a knotted parachute during a skydive.

“I didn’t think about the extra chute, so I thought we were just plummeting to our death,” Leo has told The Wired.

And now, step forward Alison Steadman, whose multiple brushes with death all took place during one single journey and were in the pursuit of a noble cause – protecting seal cubs with an animal rights charity.

Alison’s journey to Prince Edward Island in Canada sounds like the stuff of nightmares evolving from driving across an eight-mile bridge in a blizzard to a helicopter flight where “the door kept flying open”.

And to top that off when they came in to land “the pilot bounced the chopper up and down to test the strength of the ice”.

One can but hope that after that ordeal Alison was made an honourary seal.


Mary Berry Kicks Kale to the Curb

THREE cheers for Mary Berry who has put kale firmly in its place.

You can barely pick up a recipe book this weather without being slapped lightly in the face with kale leaves.

Mary's new cookery TV show started on BBC1 last Thursday and ahead of the first episode she set out her stall on kale.

“You’ll notice that there’s not much kale in the show.

“It’s the fashionable thing at the moment. Four years ago it was given to horses. Now it’s everywhere, but I think it will pass.”

Mary, Sleb Safari doffs its hat to you.


Win tickets to Brian Kennedy in concert at Glenarm Castle

Brian Kennedy outside Glenarm Castle

Sleb Safari is giving away five pairs of tickets for a Brian Kennedy concert in the gorgeous setting of the Glens of Antrim.

Brian is playing the May In The Marquee festival at Glenarm Castle later this month. It’s a new festival and other acts on the line up include Bay City Rollers starring Les McKeown and the 80-piece Education Authority Youth Orchestra.

The festival runs Friday May 25 to Sunday May 27, with Brian Kennedy closing it at 7pm on the Sunday.

To be in with a chance of winning one pair of tickets, answer the following question correctly: What was the name of Brian Kennedy’s most recent album?

Email your answer to and please include your contact details. Mark your entry ‘Sleb Safari/Brian Kennedy competition’

The closing date is noon on Wednesday May 9. Usual Irish News rules apply

You can get more information at


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