How does she manage?

Abbi Collins, Stunt person.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

What do you do?

Everything, from setting myself on fire and falling down stairs to jumping off buildings, crashing cars and having fights. I performed in The Da Vinci Code, Doctor Who and both Bridget Jones films, where I doubled Renée Zellweger. There are only about 20 women in the UK on the stunt register. Still, my kids aren't all that impressed.

How did you get the job?

Twenty years ago I was modelling and got talking to a photographer about my love of extreme sports. He said I should do it for money, and told me about his stuntman friend. I started training the very next day - it's a tough three-year course, designed to sort the men from the boys. You have to master six disciplines - horse riding, trampolining, sky diving, scuba diving, fencing and karate, to almost black-belt level.

Does the reality match the dream?

It's not as glamorous as people think. One job had me at the bottom of the Manchester Ship Canal at midnight in December - with no wetsuit. I had to do six takes until I was on the verge of hypothermia. But the other day I had to drive a bus through a wall and I loved it. I got a massive adrenalin rush and sat there with a big grin that I couldn't shift all day. I feel so lucky. I'm 49 and I can do all the stuff I wanted to do as a kid and get paid for it.

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