Daredevils launches on Channel 4 with ‘The Human Bird’

by Lisa McGarry

A brand new series of visually stunning films which asks what compels some people to risk their lives and push themselves to the physical and mental limits of human capability.

Each film follows one Daredevil in a quest to fulfil a personal dream: to cross one of the world’s highest canyons, hundreds of feet above the ground on an inch-wide rope without a safety harness; to run a marathon 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, barefooted and wearing only a pair of shorts; to fly down the face of the Matterhorn in a winged Teflon suit only ten feet away from the surface; and to take a home-made flying car on an odyssey from London to Timbuktu, driving across Europe and flying across sea and desert.

The first film, The Human Bird
, follows daredevil Jeb Corliss as he aims to fly down the Matterhorn in Switzerland in a winged Teflon suit, within five feet of the jagged cliff face.

Proximity-wingsuit flying involves donning a state-of-the-art winged suit, jumping out of a helicopter or off a cliff side thousands of feet up, and flying terrifyingly close to some of the world’s most dangerous mountain faces, before pulling a parachute at the very last minute. It is the closest man has ever got to realising the dream of flight; and it is extremely dangerous. Jeb Corliss has a self-confessed death wish. As a young boy he was diagnosed with counterphobia: ‘a pathological desire to confront fear’.

Jeb, who always wears black, has found that the thrill he gets from leaping from the world’s highest buildings and mountains is the only way to free himself from his dark moods and suicidal tendencies: ‘Through death, I found my life.’ But his Matterhorn dare proves far from straightforward. Arrested for attempting to base-jump off the Empire State Building, Jeb could be facing a year in prison.

Daredevils launches tonight at 9pm on channel 4.