'We're best mates now' - How Happy Mondays' rocker saved Catchphrase host Roy Walker from drowning
Catchphrase star Roy Walker was saved from drowning by Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder after being hit by a massive wave.
The legendary east Belfast-born TV host was knocked from a paddleboard while the pair were filming a new show, 100 Years Younger In 21 Days, on the Mediterranean isle of Sardinia.
The musician (55) dived into the choppy sea to save former TV show host Roy (77) who cut his leg open during the drama.
Shaun said: “Saving Roy Walker’s life was the best thing I’ve ever done — he’s now my new best mate.”
An insider reportedly said that Mr Walker — known for the famous catchphrase “say what you see” — credited the singer with saving his life. The progamme features eight celebrities taking part in a novel experiment to see if they can reverse the aging process without undergoing plastic surgery, aiming to lose 100 years between them.
They will be subjected to strict diets and exercise routines as well as extreme anti-aging treatments.
It also stars EastEnders actors June Brown (90) and Sid Owen (45), soap star Claire King (54), astrologer Russell Grant (66), former Loose Women star Sherrie Hewson (67) and TV personality Sandra Martin (55).
In a 2016 interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Roy recalled how his life hasn’t always been a barrel of laughs.
When he was starting out as a comedian he also ran a fruit and veg shop on his native Woodstock Road while working as a compère at the Talk Of The Town club at night.
One day in 1972, two men approached him at the shop, at which George Best was a regular, and jammed a Browning pistol in his face and demanded to know if he was “married to a Fenian”.
Mr Walker had met his wife Jean, who was a Catholic, while he was serving in the Army.
The gunmen told him he had 24 hours to leave the country along with the rest of “them Fenian lovers across the street”.
He said he cried while locking up the shop that night, posting a notice on the shutters: “The owner of this shop served Queen and country for six years.”
It was firebombed and the Walkers couldn’t even say their goodbyes to locals as houses were being torched close to their family home where their three children were asleep.
“I was lucky to get out once all that nonsense started. I got held up, it could have been worse,” he recalled.
“I was able to get away, with my family. I wasn’t a victim.”