LEWIS HAMILTON has swept aside fellow racing giants during his glittering F1 career, but now he has an unlikely new rival to contend with – actor Idris Elba.
I can reveal the seven-times world champion is taking on the Hollywood star in a race across the desert as part of a Channel 4 two-parter.
The pair will compete against each other in electric 4×4 off-road vehicles in the notorious Dakar Rally.
A TV insider says: “Idris is a self-confessed speed freak and was determined to make this a tough race for Lewis.
“The course is one of the toughest in sport, with the rough terrain a constant hazard for drivers.
“But that didn’t put either Idris or Lewis off as they were desperate to out-do each other, and their rivalry was captured brilliantly on camera.”
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Idris And Hamilton Race The Desert will feature two-hour episodes and will air this year.
Lewis has been championing electric off-road racing cars after creating his own team for Extreme E, the championship series.
The vehicles the pair use for the show can go from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and are built to withstand the harshest environments.
The 8,500km Dakar Rally takes place in Saudi Arabia over a number of days.
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Lewis and Idris have been pals for years and have met up at various race meetings globally.
At the height of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, Lewis was forced to self-isolate after being pictured with Idris — who later tested positive for the virus — at a charity event.
In 2013, the Luther star filmed a BBC two-part documentary about racing cars called Idris Elba: King Of Speed and also boasts that he owns an impressive fleet of luxury vehicles.
He once revealed he bought his first car at 14 and drove it to school every day.
I bet that got some looks.
RYLAN’S STRICTLY U-TURN
RYLAN CLARK gushed that he was looking forward to his “fifth year at Strictly” – weeks before he quit the BBC Two spin-off, It Takes Two.
The host shocked fans last week by announcing his departure, saying it was “time to hang up my glittery jacket”.
But in conversation with debating society Cambridge Union in February, he told the audience: “This will be my fifth year at Strictly.
"I will smash everyone off the dance floor.”
During the talk, Rylan also revealed former Strictly pro Oti Mabuse blames him for not winning a Strictly treble after he turned down partnering her on the Christmas special.
Rylan said: “When Oti left Strictly, I was going to be her last partner as the Christmas trophy is the only one she’s not won.
"Oti said ‘You stole the trophy from me’ as I said I was not going to do it.
"If I do Strictly I’ll do it with Oti as she will attack me if I don’t.”
Doesn’t look like it will happen now.
ITV1 has revealed the celebs taking part in the next series of Cooking with the Stars.
The line-up will include Bafta-winning actor Jason Watkins, Gavin & Stacey’s Joanna Page and Corrie’s Samia Longchambon.
The show will be hosted by Busted star Matt Willis and wife Emma.
CARR’S OFF FOR A RIDE
JUST what we need – another Carr on the road.
Thankfully Alan won’t be causing any congestion or pollution as he’s on a bicycle for tonight’s episode of Interior Design Masters.
The BBC One show continues tonight with its host heading to Bristol where the designers have to work their magic on a string of hair salons.
I reckon Alan will need to pay them a visit to fix the helmet hair he’ll have from that bike trip.
STREAMING, catch-up and live TV service ITVX has already hit one billion streams in the first four months of its launch.
Hit dramas The Twelve, Without Sin and A Spy Among Friends, plus Nolly and Litvinenko, helped the platform rack up the impressive numbers after it started up in December.
EUBANK GOES ON STRIKE
CHRIS EUBANK is so fed up in new reality series Scared Of The Dark he’s gone on strike.
The former boxer refuses to take part in challenges and embarks on an 11-hour silent protest, in scenes shown in tonight’s show on Channel 4.
And his antics are not only infuriating his co-stars, host Danny Dyer is rattled too, comparing Chris to a “child”.
After moaning at fellow contestants including Paul Gascoigne for speaking “tragically” about their lives, Chris pulls out of a challenge halfway through and vents his fury.
Chris says: “Look, when it comes to a fight I back down from no man, but I’m 56, I’m not a boy any more and my body has been through a great deal of trauma.”
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Gazza says: “Personally, I think he’s scared of the dark and should leave.
"I’m telling you now, he’s fighting the dark, it’s got to him.”
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