Exclusive: Baz Ashmawy to reunite with mammy Nancy for Christmas Special on RTE
Baz Ashmawy is planning a special Christmas show with his mum Nancy for RTE.
Having wrapped on three seasons their Emmy award winning series 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy, the 42-year-old presenter was not ready to part professional company with his mum.
“I really really wanted to do something with Nancy again,” he tells Independent.ie
“Mammy was at an end and we thought look, no more stunts, but a lot of what made Mammy work was Nancy. She’s a great personality and people love her so I wanted to do something else with her.”
The show will see Baz going to great lengths to surprise Nancy with a meeting with one of her idols, the identity of whom has yet to be revealed.
“I can’t say much because she doesn’t know what it is yet,” he says, “She knows it’s to meet someone she’s a big fan of but she doesn’t know who.”
Whoever they are, they’re on the A-list and Baz admits he already started the process of trying to track the star down but admits, “it’s proving very, very difficult.”
However, he adds it will be “great craic” doing it.
“I hope I can do it for her,” he says. “I really want to do it for her. [If it doesn’t happen] it’ll be awful! But I think the journey is going to be as interesting as the five minutes of her getting to meet this person.”
Baz will be a regular face on the small screen through autumn and beyond. He recently approached RTE One and RTE2 controller Adrian Lynch with several projects and the autumn schedule will see him tackle two documentaries on addiction as well as the Christmas Special with his mum.
“I had a really good sit down with Adrian and I told him about what I wanted to do – documentaries I was really passionate about or I would want to watch.”
All Bets Are Off is about the impact of gambling on Irish people’s lives and is the first of several documentaries on addiction. There will also be one on cocaine.
“These are things I think we need to put a spotlight on in Ireland,” he says. “Coming from me, as well, I’m no saint and I think I’m not judgemental and I just want to hear people’s stories.
“I love documentaries. I love balancing it with doing something fun like what I’m doing with my mum. I like to do that grittier stuff too and I love Ireland and I love making documentaries here and to make them for RTE One is where I want to make them.”
Speaking at RTE’s autumn launch on Thursday, Lynch said he is “delighted” to start what will be a “long-term relationship” with Baz.
“I have to say I’m such a massive fan of Baz,” he said, “I think he’s absolutely brilliant. I used to produce shows with him in it so I know him very well. He’s a huge talent. He came to me and said he wanted to do stuff that was substantial as well. The gambling documentary explores manhood and gambling and addictions and what that all means. And he’s bringing a personal slant to it.”
Baz reveals he has friends who have been addicted to gambling and he has personal reasons for wanting to cover each of the topics in the documentaries.
“I love people, I love people who are different to me and everything comes from some place, some relationship or some reason why I have an interest in it,” he says. “Otherwise you’re just sitting back and doing something you’re not really close to.
“But I have friends who have a problem with gambling. Again, it’s not judgemental. Some people are professional gamblers in Ireland and that’s amazing. On the flip side there are other people out there who have lost everything.”
He continues, “It’s an addiction you don’t see. We’ve got this very casual attitude to gambling in Ireland, funny one-liners, the bookies, and it’s kind of trivialised. Your drug dealers go to bed, your pub closes but with online gambling you can just keep gambling your life away if it becomes that self-destructive.”
Baz recently had a stint on RTE Radio One with That Baz Thing and opened with a frank admission about how his drink driving arrest six years ago negatively impacted his life and that of his family.
“You hear arguments about radio presenters paid this and that but you put your heart and soul into it. I’m one of those presenters where, if I’m talking to someone, I’ll reveal something about myself so they feel comfortable revealing something about themselves.
“You carve away little bits of yourself every time. I’m no saint and I think that’s why I get on with people sometimes. I’m not pretending to be something I’m not. I think you’ve got to do that as a presenter. You’re asking people to open up to you and how can you ask them to open up if you won’t open up to them?”