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TALENT TALK: A Conversation With Extreme Weatherman Donal MacIntyre

1 Jun, 2003 By: Dan Bennett

You've heard of extreme sports athletes. Now the world gets an extreme weatherman.

What else to call British investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre, who stars in the BBC Video documentary The Weather, streeting July 29?

The series originated on the BBC and has been airing on The Learning Channel, and the episodes are now compiled for the DVD release. The Weather features MacIntyre showing the powerful force the weather can become. He exposes himself to extreme cold until his body functions start to shut down. He exposes himself to a 100-mile-per-hour tunnel wind so he can understand the nature of a hurricane. He spills over a 40-foot waterfall in a canoe. And he wallows in the wet heat of Belize before experiencing the ultimate drying-out in the Sahara.

“I was the lab rat for the worst the weather can offer,” MacIntyre said in a telephone interview from London. “As an investigative reporter, I am up against danger all of the time. I know danger. I know danger perpetrated by armies and criminals. But here we are in the extremes of the environment, with nobody to blame but the environment itself.”

MacIntyre asked himself again and again if it was all worth it when he was about to face another weather battle.

“I kept asking myself if I had lived a full life,” he said. “I kept telling myself that I had.”

MacIntyre is proud to say he has experienced 21 of the things people often say they want to experience before they die.

“When I jumped out of an airplane over the Arctic Circle, I knew that at least I was seeing the most fantastic view I had ever experienced before I died,” he said.

Despite his bravery, MacIntyre insists he's not an adrenaline junkie and didn't necessarily experience a strange thrill from all of his feats.

“By doing all of these things, I simply accepted an offer that any sane person would accept,” he said, matter of factly. “How else would I get the chance to do these things?”

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