The 38-year-old has trekked through the Arctic, tackled alligators in Denver, lived with a remote tribe in Ethiopia, worked on a trawler, shadowed the Irish Army in Chad, trailed rat exterminators and got close to some of America’s most violent criminals at a maximum security prison in Oklahoma.Nancy had longed for some thrill-seeking experiences herself after seeing her son in action, but it was a chance conversation they had after listening to a radio programme about a sky-diving nun that sparked the TV show.‘At first I was dismissive and told her: “You’re too old, Mum.” She was really put out.‘If I was having a heated discussion with a cameraman, she’d come over and say: “Stop cursing.” It was like being a child again.‘When you’re a teenager your parents have no redeeming qualities, no matter what they do.But I look at Mum today and realise how true she is to herself and how strong she is in her everyday life even though she has an ordinary life.It took a long time before I could bear to touch, let alone hold them, and even then it had to be with their heads and beady eyes facing away from me.’Baz expected a similar issue with the alligator wrestling: ‘I didn’t think she’d sit on the back of a wild alligator.I’d wrested it from a pit and pulled it from the water with a rope.
‘It’s something I’d really wanted to do, so it was particularly special.
‘We were at the airport and an airline check-in attendant said to me: ‘‘How old is she? ‘I found this so patronising and said: “She’s standing right next to me, so why not ask her?
”The experience does appear to have affected Baz more than Nancy who, although she has since been signed to a celebrity agent, has happily and quietly slipped back to her normal life - playing Scrabble, drinking tea and looking after her grandchildren who live near her in Dublin with their parents, Baz and his partner Tanya Evans. I live my life and go for walks just like I always did.
On camera she was just her usual modest, understated self, not acting.
More importantly, Nancy has proved to be an anti-ageism inspiration.