And they're off Ruby Walsh and sister Katie saddle up for new series of Ireland's Fittest Families
Ruby Walsh and his family will aim to add a new title to their well decorated trophy cabinet as they line out for a special series of Ireland’s Fittest Families.
Now the jewel in RTÉ’s crown, the reality TV series will replace Dancing with the Stars in the 2021 TV schedule.
And we can exclusively reveal that there will be a celebrity version of the fun format which will debut the show in January.
First past the post in the celebrity line-up is jockey Ruby Walsh and his highly decorated sister Katie.
They will also be joined by Ruby’s good friend fellow jockey Nina Carberry, in a highly competitive team that will prove difficult to beat.
Joining the Walsh family will be TV presenter and influencer James Kavanagh, who rose to national fame when he co-hosted Ireland's Got More Talent alongside Glenda Gilson.
James’s brother is non other than Conor McGregor’s coach John Kavanagh, however, the MMA figurehead will be consigned to the sidelines and will not be taking part in the show.
Another well known figure taking part in the series is Múinteoir John Sharpson from the hugely successful RTÉ Schoolhub show.
John teaches in Mary Mother of Hope school in Clonee and became a household name alongside Múinteoirs Ray and Cliona during lockdown.
He is no stranger to children's television having featured on RTÉjr’s Bright Sparks, The Today Show with Dáithí and Maura, Pop Goes the Weekend and Twigín.
He will be joined by a number of friends and family however, with The Walsh family taking part, it looks like he may be the pupil rather than the teacher.
“It is going to be one hell of a contest and you can be sure that Ruby hasn’t lost the competitive spirit since retiring,” a well-placed source told the Sunday World.
“The celebrity version of Fittest Families has become sort of a tradition when it comes to kicking off the new series and it was brilliant to be able to get one in the bag given the current climate.
“The whole series was filmed in a Covid-free camp over three weeks filming in the grounds of the Killruddery estate in Co Wicklow.
“Ireland’s Fittest Families will be the first Irish format to be filmed and completed within the new Covid guidelines.
“And thanks to some clever production and a very talented cast and crew and 11 special families, we feel we have made a series that everyone can buy into in the new year."
Show bosses constructed a bespoke assault course complete with never before seen tests and challenges and managed to complete the shoot without any interruptions.
This was due mainly to the decision to construct a completely self-contained Covid testing facility on the grounds of Kilruddery.
Producers hired what they described as “the Rolls Royce of experts” when it came to Covid-19 testing bringing in the woman who designed and set up the Government testing centres.
The show will also return host Mairead Ronan and Coaches Davy Fitzgerald, Derval O’Rourke, Anna Gearey and Donncha O’Callaghan.