By LOUISA LAY and RICHARD WOOD
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Millions were watching on Saturday night as an X Factor contestant threw himself out of a plane.
Wearing a Union Flag coat, Rylan Clark appeared to skydive into the show’s studio as he re-created the Queen’s apparent entrance into the Olympic opening ceremony for his performance of a Spice Girls medley.
But what the television audience didn’t know was that it was actually filmed in the skies above Beccles – and the flamboyant 23-year-old hadn’t even left the ground at all.
Jason Thompson, co-owner of UK Parachuting, Ellough, was actually the man filmed jumping out of the plane, after he was approached by producers of the show, and although Rylan didn’t make the jump himself, he did travel out to Ellough Airfield to film there.
Mr Thompson said: “Rylan really wanted to go up in the plane but while he’s under the care of the X Factor he can’t, so I went up instead.
“They took my measurements for the clothes he was wearing beforehand and I had a spray on beard. Rylan did some filming with the plane on the ground.”
Mr Thompson was joined by an X Factor cameraman on board the plane, but while he stayed on board UK Parachuting’s own film crew took the jump themselves.
Although Rylan wasn’t able to jump on this occasion, it seems he may be making a return to the region to try it next year.
Rylan said: “I had such an amazing time. They were such a brilliant team and it really put the cherry on top of Saturday night’s performance,
“I look forward to visiting again in the new year to skydive.”
Mr Thompson, who has completed 10,000 jumps, added: “He was really nice, we didn’t really know what to expect but he really got on with it and it was good to have him around.
“He said he was under no illusions that he could win and said he thought last weekend might be his last, but he was just really enjoying himself. He was going straight back to London to meet Geri Halliwell and he was really excited about that.”
It isn’t the first time the Beccles airfield has been used for television.
Debbie Douglas, star of The Only Way is Essex and mother to Lydia Bright did a tandem skydive in February to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital and it has been the venue for pop videos and various other programmes.