Celebrity Race Across The World: Melanie Blatt and mum Helene tearfully recall painful childhood memory

Virgin Radio

4 Oct 2023, 08:00

Credit: BBC

Celebrity Race Across The World continues tonight (4th October) and things will take an emotional turn for singer Melanie Blatt and mum Helene. 

The pair are on the third leg of their journey alongside Alex Beresford and his dad, Noel, McFly drummer Harry Judd and his mum Emma, and racing driver Billy Monger and his sister, Bonny. 

In a preview of tonight’s episode, All Saints singer Mel and Helen, who are racing their fellow celebs to the checkpoint in Zermatt, Switzerland, take a moment to enjoy the sights of Nice and pay a visit to castle hill to witness the midday cannon. 

It’s here where they share a tearful moment and reflect on a serious operation Mel underwent as a child after she was diagnosed with scoliosis. 

Recalling the moment she found out about the condition, Mel says: “They discovered I had scoliosis a few months into starting stage school, because I was doing ballet there and my ballet teach was like ‘stand up straight!’ and I was like ‘I am!’.”

Helene adds: “She had a really badly twisted spine and the hospital informed us that if we didn’t put her in a brace, she would probably be paralysed by the age of 21. So, we left England, sold everything and went to France for her operation.”

Helene then describes the moment she had to make the tough decision to choose the potentially life-altering surgery for her daughter. She said: “I spoke to a doctor who was pioneering a new operation and if we were willing to sign a discharge form [for Mel to have the operation], which was a 50/50 chance of being paralysed… So we [decided to] sign the form.”

A shocked Mel replies: “I didn’t know all of that. It feels like talking about a different person almost. My mind is blown right now.”

Helene continues: “You just do what you have to do for your kids. I get it. You’re a great mum… If I hadn’t of had that operation I would not have had the life that I have. You know, 21 is just before All Saints became successful.”

Tonight’s episode marks the halfway point in the Celebrity Race Across The World journey, with the teams hoping to traverse 24 countries and over 10,000km in total. The pairs are tasked with getting from one location to another in each episode, only without taking a flight and with no mod cons such as phones and internet access. 

The star-studded duos began their challenge in Marrakech, Morocco, all in the hope of making it to the finish line in Tromsø, Norway. 

Celebrity Race Across The World continues on Wednesdays on BBC One at 9pm.