Jack Whitehall Tackles Gareth Bale, Jose Mourinho in YouTube’s ‘Training Days’

YouTube’s first European original “Jack Whitehall: Training Days” is from the producers of “Carpool Karaoke,” and will look to take some of the production smarts of that series to the world of soccer, the host told Variety.

“The genesis of the idea was trying to make ‘Carpool Karaoke’ but for football,” Whitehall said. “Doing it in a World Cup year meant that we could also try to create the perfect format to get everyone excited for the biggest sporting event on the planet.”

Comedian and actor Whitehall meets some of the biggest names from the beautiful game in the ad-supported show, including Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, and Colombian star Radamel Falcao (pictured). James Corden’s Fulwell 73 is on production duty.

The host deliberately took the stars out of their comfort zone and the stunts include sneaking England player Kyle Walker onto Simon Cowell’s “Britain’s Got Talent.”

“These are guys who, for the most part, are media trained to within an inch of their lives,” Whitehall said. “They also spend their lives answering the same questions over and over again from pundits and sports journos. I think they really relished the chance to talk nonsense, dick around, and show a side to them that you don’t see in post-match interviews.”

The show will go out on Whiteahall’s YouTube channel. There will be three weekly shorter videos alongside the main weekly 22-28 minute episode. “There is need for a long form show and some short form content as well because people consume YouTube in different ways at different times of the day,” said Luke Hyams, who joined YouTube from Disney last year as its head of originals for the EMEA region.

Whitehall has made shows with the BBC, Sky Netflix, and Amazon and said YouTube “want to make shows with the same scale as TV if not more, attract the top talent, have production values and big locations.” He added that in his series “we travel around the world on this show, from super yachts in Monte Carlo to the NBA at the 02.”

Talent is increasingly aware of how YouTube can help them build a following and a brand Hyams said: “Traditional celebrities have set up channels and really embraced it, like Kevin Hart, Will Smith, Jack Whitehall…having a place where they can connect directly with their audience is really valuable and you will see lots more celebrities and public figures following suit.”

“You look at Kevin Hart and James Corden – these are huge stars who have chosen to make content for YouTube because they understand that the way people watch stuff is changing,” Whitehall said.

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