Costa, Del, Sol: Antony Costa’s charity bike ride around the south of Spain – part two


So the ‘Costa, Del, Sol’ project was going better than expected. I had agreed a fee with Costa’s agent and told him I would soon be in touch with more details. If you’re just joining us, read part one and catch up.

While I was revelling in my initial success, I heard back from Derek Acorah’s agent Brian.

I’ll discuss with him, but he is on tour from the end of January and already has some fourteen separate engagements contracted for February, so scheduling it would be the first problem.

I decided to leave Acorah to it. After reading some of the antics on this site, you may think I have no scruples. But I would never, ever stand in the way of a man deceiving people and giving them false hope by pretending to speak to their dead relatives. I draw the line at that. You do you Derek. This was all about Antony anyway.

Antony Costa Alvin stardust

A slimline Antony poses with Seal (l) and ex-England international Peter Beardsley (r)

The Agreement

A few days after I had last emailed Costa’s agent, I got this from him.

Can you provide the agreement required? Reference dates, February will work. We have a week where Lee (Blue) is in Italy on a solo project which means Blue’s commitments are on hold and is likely the best week for Antony to be away.

Looking forward to it.

I really don’t like it when agents tell me they’re ‘looking forward to it’ or that their client is ‘really excited’ about whatever made-up opportunity I have pitched to them. It tugs at the heart strings, you know? But i’m not a quitter, so the show went on.

A week later I replied.

I’m currently in Morocco [I actually was], but have already requested the required agreement be created and I will send it over as soon as possible. Looking forward to working with you guys. Will be in touch soon.

Now this next bit got me.

Thanks. Will there be any training for Antony in advance of the show?

I could imagine Costa’s agent telling him he’d got him a great bit of work.

– ‘Antony, I’ve got a brilliant opportunity for you. It’s a charity bike ride for a Channel 4 production. £15k for a bit over a week’s work. Great exposure.’

– ‘Ha, no way!! What, like one of those mad 100-mile rides or something is it?’

– ‘Err i’m not sure exactly. Hang on, let me see how long it is again…oh it’s actually 500 miles.’

– ‘Oh for fuck’s sake. 500 miles? How am I gonna do that?’

I thought it only right that I immediately allay whatever fears a seemingly perpetually expanding Costa had. I promised him the very best training ahead of his gruelling challenge.

Hope you’re well. I’ve just got back in the office this morning and after speaking with our solicitors, can confirm I’ll have that agreement ready for you at the start of next week.

Regarding your question. Yes there will definitely be training for Antony and the other riders. We will have a full fitness team that will draw up specific programs for the three riders and we will have access to the sports science labs at Loughborough University, where a team will test VO2 max, lactate threshold and more. We will ensure, with Antony’s allowable commitment, that he is in great shape and well capable of the ride’s demands. We are also hoping to get some footage of a training session with either Mark Cavendish or former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche. So he’ll also be getting some expert tips on technique as well.


Apparently, 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche had agreed to train Antony

The measure of a man

I had mentioned in a previous email that we may need some body measurements from Costa in order to get a bike custom-made for him. In fact, I felt the success of this whole tease rested on securing those measurements. It’s one thing getting replies to emails about what are actually very plausible work opportunities. It is another thing to get a celebrity to send over a measurement from the bridge of their nose across the top of their head down to the back of their neck, so you can have a bespoke cycling helmet made for them.

I decided it was time to go for it. I felt I’d built up enough of a relationship with his agent. I had to try it.

Secondly, as I mentioned before, we have been lucky enough to have Specialized agree to create bespoke bicycles and helmets for the riders. Apparently, these can take up to six weeks to create from scratch and I’ve had an email asking if I can get a series of measurements of each rider so they can get started on the construction. I’ve pasted their list of required measurements below:

For Bike:

Foot size (shoe size)

Distance (in cm) from:

– Navel (belly button) to centre of inner ankle bone (left and right sides)

– Hip bone to under arm (left and right sides)

– Central underarm to inside wrist (left and right sides)

– Across the palm (left and right sides)

For Helmet:

Circumference of head (starting just above the brow)

Bridge of the nose to back of the head (hair line)

Ok, I’ll leave that with you and will be in touch again shortly.

Could I have asked for more? Could I have made the measurement requirements truly ridiculous? There’s a very fine line between oddly plausible and obviously ridiculous. On reflection I think I had done enough in the lead up to probably safely push things a bit further, but I was happy enough at the time with how things were going. Apparently, so was Costa’s agent.


I will do my best to get you what you need from below.

Ps. Please don’t forget the agreement.

The agreement. The agreement. God, man, am I not good for my word?

Two long weeks passed. I was purposely delaying my response in the hope that they would send over the measurements before I was forced to put together some agreement that may or may not put me in some legal grey area I really didn’t want to be in. I also began to think he’d twigged it was a wind-up. That the measurements request was a step too far. But then.

Please see below for measurements for Antony. Looking forward to seeing that agreement.

They actually did it! There at the bottom of the email were all the measurements I’d asked for.

Foot size (shoe size) – 9 UK

Distance (in cm) from:

– Navel (belly button) to centre of inner ankle bone (left and right sides) 105cm

– Hip bone to under arm (left and right sides) 55cm

– Central underarm to inside wrist (left and right sides) 65cm

– Across the palm (left and right sides) 18cm

For Helmet:

Circumference of head (starting just above the brow) 68cm

Bridge of the nose to back of the head (hair line) 51cm


Costa could look forward to high-tech analysis at Loughborough University’s School of Sport

I couldn’t believe it. This was fantastic. In the laughs and excitement that followed I’d forgotten that at their end this whole facade was still ongoing. As far as I was concerned, I had gotten what I wanted and it was over. But another email came through a week later.

Is there any further development with this one? I am mindful of the fact we are now into the last four weeks of the year and I would like to see this deal wrapped before Christmas.

Oh shit. I realised it was time to start wrapping this up. So I sent this over.

Please accept my apologies once more. Basically, as the show is reliant on having all three participants involved (Antony, Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell) we have been waiting for all concerned parties to agree before signing off on anything. The original delay has been in relation to Sol who has/had some serious problem with the proposed dates of the ride.

His team have got back to us recently and we were sure it was all good to go, agreements ready to go out and get this sorted and into full motion. However, Derek is now having reservations, claiming that he is having visions and ‘negative energy’ related to the ride. This is desperately frustrating of course and has stalled us again.

I understand your frustrations and hope you understand we can’t sign off on this until everyone is on board. I am working hard to find a back-up ‘Del’ for the show, but struggling.

If he doesn’t confirm by Wednesday I will let you know and we will more than likely have to postpone this. If he confirms, you will 100% have an agreement to sign by Thursday morning.

True to my word, that Thursday morning I finally wrapped the whole thing up and laid the project’s failure at the feet of Derek Acorah and his visions.

I’ve just got off the phone with Brian Shaw (Derek’s agent) and they’ve pulled out. We’re gutted. I’m sorry it hasn’t come to fruition. Senior management are talking about scrapping this idea altogether and I think they probably will. Apologies again and good luck with the tour next year.

A week later, Costa’s agent replied. A gentleman to the very end.

Thank you.


I wished this whole thing was real, just so I could actually work with his great agent. I was going to miss him.


Costa, Del, Sol: Antony Costa’s charity bike ride around the south of Spain – part one

Antony Costa

Let’s begin with a really quick refresher in case you’re reading this and don’t have a clue who Antony Costa is. He’s a member of what was once a very successful boy band called Blue that had three number-one albums between 2001-2004. In 2005, the lads checked out at the top and went on to do various solo projects. Costa took to stage acting and also featured in some reality TV shows, such as I’m a Celebrity. He also found time to launch a solo singing career, albeit a heartbreakingly unsuccessful one that saw him compete to be the UK’s entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. He didn’t win.

By the time I decided to tease him Blue had reformed and were touring. Things were looking up for the lads once more. Some of them hadn’t fared as well as the multi-talented, industrious Greek-Cypriot from north London with the ‘i’ll do anything’ attitude.

Splashing the cash

I had wanted to target Antony Costa since the story of his pissing against a cash machine while simultaneously withdrawing money broke in 2011.

Antony Costa cashpoint pee

Splashing the cash: the multi-talented Costa withdraws money while urinating

I’d initially experimented with the idea of pitching a joint venture to Antony and his fellow Blue bandmate, Duncan James. They were to feature in an advert showcasing a collaboration between Costa Coffee and Dunkin’ (Duncan) Donuts. But it just didn’t feel ambitious enough. Even if they’d gone for it, I felt the idea didn’t have legs and would have fizzled out quickly. I was becoming more daring at this point. I felt in my bones that if I could just get my pitch to Costa right that the payoff would be great. Was I to be proved right?

The first email is always the hardest with these things. Email addresses from a standard provider like Gmail or Yahoo don’t give the agent any sense of who you are or what projects you’ve been involved in. It’s an immediate red flag. But if you can just get the door open enough, it’s easy to bluster on a bit further with each email that follows. I started this highly enjoyable celebritease by sending this over.

I’m enquiring about the availability of Mr Antony Costa for a charity show I am putting together for Channel 4, hopefully to be shown in the first quarter of next year. It would be part of a comprehensive list of performances with a variety of celebrities trying their hand at circus performing, musical instruments and stand-up to name just a few.

The idea I have in mind is to be titled ‘Costa, Del, Sol’ and would see Antony joining with Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell for a 500-mile charity bike ride around the southern coast of Spain.

I would be very grateful if you would let me know if this is something your client would be eager to take part in. It’s a very worthwhile cause and along with the other acts on the show would be guaranteed some great exposure.

I thought I might as well have a go at luring in Derek Acorah and Sol Campbell while I was at it. No story is complete without the inclusion of a footballer and spirit medium-cum-ghost hunter. So they got emailed, too.


Psychic medium Derek Acorah prepares to contact the spirits

Sol Campbell’s agent was having none of it and didn’t reply. Derek’s agent was willing to work a bit harder for his golden goose.

I would need some more details before discussing further with Derek. If you could help with details of the charity, production company, period in mind, timescale etc.

That sounded fair enough. Here you go sir, have some bullshit for your troubles.

The charities are Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and Great Ormond St. I work as part of a small independent creative team that draws up concepts, scripts and show ideas for a range of production companies. For this particular show we have been brought in by Twenty Twenty, who have worked on numerous factual shows for Ch 4, most recently the successful First Dates. They had a general idea about a large scale charity show and we have been sourced to come up with a range of varied segments. As regards filming dates and length etc it is quite fluid. The actual planned ride would be done over the course of a week, but of course there would be some filming and training required before that. They have stated they would like to have it all done by April/May so I think we would be looking at having the ride in February while the weather is rather cool and bearable for the three riders. Does Derek have any long distance cycling experience?

In the meantime, Antony’s hard working agent had gotten back to me.

Do you have a specific set of dates in mind for this bike ride? Please also advise on fee for Antony and which charity the artists would be raising money for – or would they be able to choose?

I replied with this fawning paragraph added to the same response I sent to Acorah & Co.

As for Mr Costa’s fee, what would he usually require for something like this? He is of course a much bigger draw than his proposed co-riders and this would need to be reflected accordingly. I would say that my seniors are very keen to have him involved and so I expect we can find a figure that is satisfactory to all parties.

The price of fame?


Antony undergoes a non-invasive fat-freeze procedure

Now, stop reading for a second and have a guess at what Costa’s fee would be? Got a figure in mind? Let’s see how close you got.

I could offer you Antony for £15k inc. Please let me know if that is satisfactory. As for the dates, Blue are doing promotion in Japan and the US starting in February however I am more than sure we can find a suitable week to work around.

I remember at the time being offended by what I saw as his lofty demands for a charity event. Looking back now, I guess it’s not that unreasonable. Anyway, the bait had been taken. It was now time to reel them in, with a very subtle slight to Messrs Acorah and Campbell’s popularity, or lack of, thrown in for good measure.

Thank you for facilitating this. After discussing with the organisers and financial team we would like to thank you for the offer and we readily accept. Antony’s participation will be vital to this particular aspect of the fundraising drive and so we are happy to work around his schedule. Mr Acorah and Campbell, understandably, have a more open calendar so whatever suits Antony, i’m sure, will suit the others.

I will be in touch further with details in the near future. To ensure the riders have the very best equipment we are working with our sponsors Specialized to have bikes custom made to suit the exact specifications of each person. I’m awaiting details of what information they will need precisely but it will be things like weight, height, inner leg measurement, foot size etc. This will enable them to build a bike that will make Antony most efficient when riding.

Would Antony Costa agree to start training for an imaginary cycling challenge? Would he send me a wide range of ridiculous body measurements in order for me to have a custom bike built for him? Would the spirits warn Derek Acorah he was being strung along? Find out in part two.