Last updated at 4:09 PM on 4th March 2011
There is no doubt about it My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding has been a real success story for Channel 4.
while television bosses of the show have been enjoying bumper
ratings – nearly nine million viewers per episode – participants of the show have found their world turned upside
down and their lives have been threatened.
fighter Paddy Doherty, who appeared in the original one-off documentary
as well as a number of the episodes in the subsequent series, has said
he was nearly killed after appearing on the show and he has been ‘to
hell and back.’
On the show: Paddy Doherty and wife Roseanne appeared happy but after it was aired the bare-knuckle fighter got into a fight and nearly died
‘In the past few months I’ve been to hell and back, and the world is watching, the 52-year-old fighter told the Daily Star.
Near-death: Paddy Doherty has said he regrets appearing on My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings show
The Manchester-based traveller, who runs the caravan park where he lives with wife Roseanne said he deeply regrets agreeing to the show and told the paper how he was minutes from death because of his participation.
Doctors said he was just 10 minutes from death after a brutal beating by fellow traveller Johnny Joyce, who was previously thought to be his cousin and whose family did not appear on the show.
He told the paper: ‘The past few months I’ve nearly died and I’ve watched my wife, who means more to me than every breath in my body, collapse.’
Doherty had been under police guard after fellow travellers turned against him for breaking their code -disputes are usually settled in the gypsy community with a brawl or by a handshake – and fellow travellers were apparently furious that Paddy went to police following the confrontation with Joyce, instead of having it out with the other gypsy men.
Paddy, who appeared on Danny Dyer’s Britain’s Deadliest Men TV show,
denies the Joyces are related to him, said: ‘I didn’t call the police.
My jaw was broken. I couldn’t talk.
‘The police got involved because the attack was so serious. They thought it was going to be a murder.’
was put on trial accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
The maximum sentence is life in jail, but a jury at Minshull Street
Crown Court in Manchester cleared Joyce of any wrongdoing and agreed
that he had retaliated against Doherty in self-defence.
Compulsive viewing: Ratings tipped nearly nine million per episode of the latest series but Paddy has said he regrets taking part and revealed his wife was ‘near-suicide’
The court case put considerable pressure on his wife Roseanne pushing her to the brink of committing suicide.
The mother-of-five said: ‘Looking back, I don’t think we should have done it…It seems to have brought a lot of trouble to our door.’
She added: ‘Things just got on top of me. I thought I was going to lose Paddy and I couldn’t stand life without him.’
Last month Doherty told a courtroom how his tough-guy claims on the show were ‘all nonsense’ and that he had not taken part in a bout for over 30 years.
He claimed film makers in another programme had told him what to say in his TV appearances and said that all his talk was ‘for show’ and that his real-life persona was that of a ‘peace-maker’.
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding was originally made as a one-off documentary but was commissioned into a five-part series after enjoying unexpected popularity with viewers tuning into the learn more about the traveller lifestyle.
The bumper ratings saw reached nine million viewers tune in for each episodes in the series and it has become Channel 4’s eighth highest-rated programme ever and Simon Cowell is said to be taking the show to the U.S.
Paddy said: ‘I loved every minute of making it. I agreed to do it because I hoped it would help change the way people see the travelling community, to break down barriers between us and ‘country people’.
‘I still hope in the long run that is what will happen.
‘But the personal cost to me and my family has been too high. If I could turn back the clock I would not take part. I’m not a celebrity.’
Do you have a story about a celebrity? Call the Daily Mail showbusiness desk on 0207 938 6364 or 0207 938 6683. For U.S. stories, phone 310 642 2317.