The Only Viking in the Village
Neil Delamere is going back to his roots - his half Viking, half Norman roots, to be exact - to find out everything there is to know about our axe-toting ancestors who left such a huge mark on our country. In this two-part series, Neil will uncover the fact and fiction behind his hairy ancestors, while trying to see if he has any Viking left in him as he eats, dresses, sails and fights like a Viking! The culmination of his journey sees Neil put his new found Viking knowledge to the test by moving in with some modern day Vikings in Denmark - a group of rather hirsute gentlemen who want nothing more than to impale Neil on the end of a pointy sword. On his comically historical journey from Ireland to Denmark, Neil takes to the standup stage in Waterford with his own comedic musings about the Vikings.
Determined to find out all there is to know about his Viking ancestors before embarking on a journey to Denmark where he'll live with a ferocious band of modern day Vikings, Neil decides to find out where it all began. A tour of Dublin - and a stint on the Viking Splash tour - reveals that the Vikings never actually wore horned helmets, that they were capturing Irish people and selling them as slaves all over the world, that many of their most ferocious warriors were in fact spotty teens and that they were feeding beer to children as young as three!
When not on stage regaling audiences with comic stories of everything the Vikings did and didn't do for us, Neil begins the first leg of his training to prepare him for his Danish Viking encounter. He fashions his very own Viking sword, gives it a truly ferocious name - and learns how to use it, sort of. He gets kitted out in full Viking regalia - this involves far more bodily fluids and entrails than you'd think - and heads to Waterford to get first hand experience of a Viking ship.
Neil arrives in Viking HQ - Denmark, albeit on an aeroplane rather than in a ferocious longship, but it's not long before he gets all Kirk Douglas and decides to try out the ultimate feat of Viking bravery - running the oars of the world's longest reconstructed Viking ship - The Sea Stallion. The Sea Stallion was built in Dublin in the 10th Century and found scuttled in Roskilde Fjord. The ship sailed to Dublin and back to Denmark in 2007 crewed by a group of hardy lunatics.
After risking life and limb, Neil makes the journey to Lejre, the historical village and home of a group of Danish people who believe they are Vikings. They dress, eat, talk and fight accordingly.
Needless to say, Neil's Irish charm and briar-sharp wit manages to offend all of them within minutes. A Viking alternative to the Karate Kid's Mr Miyagi takes pity on him and trains him up to be a proper Viking warrior which leads to much swordplay, spear throwing, chainmail wearing and Neil finding himself propped against a tree with an apple on his head.
He gets to try out true Viking life while watching his back for a giant hairy man with an axe, who seems to have it in for him.