Radio review: Joe Wicks is an endearing desert island guest

Nuala McCann

Desert Island Discs Joe Wicks Radio 4

He's everybody's favourite PE teacher.

Ever since coronavirus reared its ugly head, Joe Wicks has given children around the world – and a lot of grown-ups – an early morning PE lesson in lockdown.

My morning cold start was poor and I fell off the wagon so I never got into the fancy dress Fridays or tried the Harry Potter Wand lunge.

But on this Desert Island Discs, Joe Wicks was endearing in his innocence and enthusiasm for life.

He was thrilled about being on Desert Island Discs and so taken with how much his lockdown PE meant to people: “I'm not sure in my life I will do anything more meaningful that the PE with Joe during lockdown.”

His YouTube videos got so many hits that he set a Guinness World record...not bad for someone who had not the easiest of childhoods.

His mother had his brother when she was 17 and Joe when she was just 19 and his father was a heroin addict who was in and out of his life.

“I always had love that's the most powerful thing you can have in life,” he said.

“We've all turned out very well, we've turned into nice gentlemen.”

For music, the choices were hard to beat from George Ezra to Van Morrison to Bob Marley.

And for all of his father's drug addiction, there were good memories of holidays in France sleeping in tents.

Now, says Joe, his dad has moved on with the help of Narcotics Anonymous and he's clean.

There were emotional moments too: “I didn't hate my dad, I hated what drugs were doing to him...”

His absolute love for his mum was evident.

“I wasn't a really unhappy kid, I just cracked on with it, it was all I knew,” he said.

Tears and laughter... this was a rollercoaster of a ride – but Wicks shone out as truly sincere and warm of heart.

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