Joe Wilkinson

Joe Wilkinson

'I think I touched over 13 owls'

Joe Wilkinson on his new bargain travel series with Katherine Ryan

Joe & Katherine’s Bargain Holidays kicks off next week with comedians Joe Wilkinson and Katherine Ryan seeking out the most cost-effective breaks. Here Wilkinson talks about how Ryan ‘sulked’ at some of the cheapness, how he indulged his love of owls, and his new game-changer, the ‘mousie’…

Tell us about the series?

Basically, Katherine’s glamorous and I’m less so, so I thought this was a good opportunity to save her a few quid. 

In my opinion, Katherine spends money willy-nilly on holidays and things when it’s not necessary, because you can do things on a budget and still have, not as good a time, but still a good time. 

I’m sure if you’re staying in The Ritz it’s very nice and you probably have very plumped-up cushions, but you can get pretty plumped-up cushions for less money. 

We went around Europe and I showed Katherine the delights of paying less. She sulked sometimes, but generally she was a very good sport and realised the error of her ways…

Although I believe straight after filming she went back to her original ways of spending money.

Where does your love of a bargain come from? Is this how you live your life?

I don’t like spending money where I don’t have to, it grates on me if I do. I couldn’t enjoy a holiday if I’d spent over the odds because I’d just be bringing it up all the time.  This was heaven for me, knowing that we hadn’t spent more money than we needed to. 

How long have you been friends with Katherine?

 I’ve known her for 10, maybe 15, years. We started out doing stand-up at a similar time, she was way more successful than me early on and rightly so. She tried to move on from our friendship but I wouldn’t let go and I hung onto her coat-tails.

When you start out in stand-up everyone knows everyone, then we’ve been lucky enough to work on lots of things together. I’m in a little bit of awe of Katherine, she has a very brilliant way of looking at everything. 

I feel a little bit like one of her children when I’m around her because I want to learn from her. She’s wise, apart from spending money - that’s her one flaw.

Were you surprised she signed up to the show?

Very much so, I assumed it was a clerical error. But I think she softened through every episode and she embraced everything. She gave it all a go, even if it wasn’t her cup of tea.

I know for a fact I can be quite draining, but was she was very understanding of how draining I can be and didn’t let it show.

Katherine puts you through the wringer with some of the things she gets you to do, such as the bobsleigh in Latvia and climbing in Montenegro…

She did get me to do a few things. Basically, if Katherine thought there was any element of danger, she thought it best that I do it.

I wasn’t sure she was actually pregnant, I thought it was a ruse to avoid climbing up a cliff or being pulled along by a big yellow banana boat. 

The child did appear, so I give her that. 

You’re scared of heights but seem to end up doing a lot of things that require you to be up high.

Each day at breakfast Katherine would go ‘Is there any way of getting Joe up high?’ And she found a way most days. Is that bullying? I don’t know.

Did you or Katherine buy gifts for one another on your travels?

The thing I remember most is Katherine’s desire to spend money we hadn’t agreed. We’d have a low budget, maybe not spending more than a tenner and… I think she likes the feeling of money slipping out of her fingers. 

‘She was like "I’ve spent another seventy on this herb you can wave in front your nose…" The presents were a lovely thought, but it was slightly irritating that she spent too much money on them.

We heard you had a hair-raising moment in Montenegro…

The luggage fell out of the car, but that’s every holiday. You can’t let that ruin a holiday. A car boot flying open and stuff flying out the back dangerously, you must never let it ruin a holiday. Stuff and people fall out of things, it’s just the way things are.

We’re living through tricky times with rising costs, do you think this series could be helpful for viewers?

I hope so.  It didn’t feel like we were on a budget, it was all super fun and a  bit of an eye-opener about what you can do for not big bucks. I hope people give these places a go, they were really good fun and they weren’t expensive. 

It does feel like the right time for this kind of show, everyone’s struggling a bit, but you still need a holiday.

In Norfolk, we see you very enamoured with the owls you meet at a sanctuary. Have you always been a big owl fan?

I love owls. It’s a bit of a no-no for me if I meet someone who’s not bang into owls. I’m certain I won’t get on with them. I think I touched over 13 owls. 

I did worry about where we could go from there in the series, how we could top a load of owls. We chucked a load of money at the owl lady and she let me touch her owls. I was in heaven.

Tell us about ‘the mousie’…

Ah, the mousie, hopefully soon to be a global phenomenon. At the time when I invented the mousie – and I did invent it, if anyone says anything different on Wikipedia, I’ll be fuming – there was a lot of selfie-ing and I thought there needed to be competition, a new kid on the block, so I came up with the mousie. 

You put the camera where a mouse would be, it’s a mouse-eye view, like if a mouse was taking your photo. You put the camera on the timer and you get what a mouse would have taken a photo of.

I think it’s going to change the world like the internet did, or penicillin. I genuinely think the world will never be the same. I’m going to be known as the ‘mousie guy’. I have been called that before but that’s because my eyes are very close together, so for once ‘mousie guy’ will be a positive. 

I’m going to be like the guy who invented the internet, this is my gift to the world. Though unlike him, I will take some money, for every mousie taken I get £1.50. That could be lucrative when it takes off.

Finally, if roles were reversed and Katherine invited you on a high-end, expensive and luxury holiday, would you accept?

That’s a tough one because I hate waste. I think we’d bicker because, as I say, you get Katherine on a roll spending money and it’s hard to stop. She’s a money spending juggernaut. That would really stress me out. I don’t know if I could step into that world.

And what if I got into it? Once you’ve done a five star all-inclusive it’s hard to go back.

• Joe and Katherine’s Bargain Holidays starts on Channel 4 on Thursday April 25

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Published: 16 Apr 2024

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DVD (2012)
Him & Her Series 2


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