Vietnam: The Final Chapter

So I returned from my Vietnam trip almost two months ago now, and I haven’t fully written about how it all ended. It’s taken this long for me to get round to it. For me, I came home early having reached a point during the trip where I decided it just wasn’t for me (see a few posts back). The first two weeks were fantastic, don’t get me wrong, and my life has definitely changed thanks to the experiences we had. I’m very glad I did it, and should such a situation arise again I may very well partake such an adventure again.

Matthew Ian Avis

Unfortunately for my traveling buddy, he was never to return.

Matt (Mavis to his friends, and Matthew Ian Avis to the newspapers) continued on with the trip without me. Being the biker he was, he fell in love with the trails and the stunning roads. A bikers heaven. He carried on with two other backpackers we’d met before I left (a team of riders whom I had previously nicknamed TIBULA). On Friday 6th December he sent me the map of the final route for the final ride:

Mathew Ian Avis

He knew I’d had enough of the bikes and continued to update me (and a biker forum, so I later found out) of all their breakdowns on that final leg. He was so keen to keep to the rough schedule we’d both agreed (get there 3 days before our return flight so we could sell the bikes on to other backpackers who want to ride back North).

Matthew Ian Avis

On Sunday 7th December they completed the trip. Well and truly within the time limits. I know he was over the moon to have finished the journey. And I was incredibly pleased for him to have done so, if not a little jealous (and annoyed that I hadn’t completed it). It was long, arduous, painful, costly and life changing. But he did it (unlike me). A fantastic achievement.


Mavis died in the early hours of Sunday 8th in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. My understanding is that they had gone out that night to celebrate the end of the trip, and somehow (yet to be fully explained to me) he fell from a balcony at the hostel he was staying at and died from his injuries. He was 33.

It’s indescribable for me to try put anything into words that explains how I feel. People go through grief in a multitude of fashions. It pains me in unfathomable ways that I didn’t stay longer and complete the trip too. It pains me that I wasn’t there. It pains me that Mavis is no longer with us.

We all suffer the loss of such a fantastic friend, colleague, brother and son. But nobody loses out more than Mavis, for not being given the opportunity to carry on with the crazy, lucky, full life he lead.

But when he was here, we did incredible things with incredible people. And that’s what I’m taking from him. Be incredible.

Matthew Ian Avis

I tip my hat to our employer, Endemol and Channel 5, who allowed us to dedicate the first show of Celebrity Big Brother 2015 to Mavis as he was due to start pre-production Directing on the series when we returned from Vietnam in December. The entire crew (large enough that all our offices and portacabins are referred to as “the village”) have taken a huge blow with his loss. A donation was also made towards the charity chosen by his family at the funeral.

Big Brother 2011: Eviction No 6

The drama unfolded with 4 housemates up for nomination. Originally it was 2; Anton and Jay. That weeks twist was that both were ‘evicted’, but actually stayed in the Large Task Room of the Big Brother house, designed to look like a crypt. They could watch on a plasma screen everything that was being cut and shown to everyone at home. They used this to their advantage to up their game when they eventually got back in the house. As a finale to the task, Jay chose Harry to also be up for nomination with Anton picking Jem.


However. Come Eviction Friday the public had voted more times for Harry and so he was saved. The shock result was that Jem was also saved with the next best amount of positive votes. A lot of people had their minds already set on her being the one coming out. And so it came down to between Jay and Anton…

… and in part 2 it was announced that Anton was the 6th person to be evicted from the Big Brother house. His game was over.



Big Brother 2011: Launch Night


The launch of Big Brother 2011 was one of the best shifts ever. When the Morning Directors got in early, the Big Brother house was eerily quiet and still. Paddy Doherty had won Celebrity Big Brother 2011 the night before and nobody had been in the house since. An industrial deep cleaning team arrived promptly to deal with the carpets and the matresses. The ‘task team’ went in and put fresh sheets and covers on every bed. The kitchen was stripped and steam cleaned and all new utensils were put in and the garden was miraculously turned into a beach area with sand and a Life Guard hut. The smoking area was also turned into a VIP party area with gloss black flooring with under lighting, a VIP bar area and decor. All very swanky! Turned out this was only for the first day or so as part of a task.

Brian Dowling rehearsed from 10am onwards with the Roll To Record crews. He does it well and is even better with a good reactive crowd.

Technically I had finished my shift at 3pm but decided to stay the whole day to find out who the new housemates were. The names weren’t given till after 5pm and the internal photos weren’t shown till about 7pm.

By 7.30pm the crowds were in and the warm up guy had his work cut out. He played a selection of tunes such as We Will Rock You and got everyone involved with hand clapping and singing and occasionally throwing a Big Brother t-shirt into the cheering crowds. I like stuff like that, considering it’s a night out for the audience. The happier the crowd, the better they respond.

I found myself a good view for launch; right up by the photographers! A priveliged position! I even managed to get caught on camera a few times…

One by one the FOURTEEN housemates went down those famous stairs. And the fun began with Pamela Anderson, watching each VT as they went in and observing from a purpose built ‘living room’ area situated in the Large Task Room, taking notes for comment later. Some housemates were adoringly cheered whilst others were predictably booed.

Overall, the new housemates were a good looking bunch all under the age of 30.