If you don't know Tim Shaw, the host of Nat Geo's “None of the Above” (Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET on Nat Geo), it might be because you don't live in the U.K. Across the pond, he's known for pulling some of the most insane pranks on radio and television, as well as for his engineering genius (the guy is an inventor in real life). I've met him a few times now and chatted with him on the set of “None of the Above” (look for that soon), and he's nothing if not affable, chatty and endlessly fascinating. Below are just nine of the crazy things he has on his resume — see if you don't agree.
1) He broke into his boss' house
In 2005, while working for Kerrang! Radio, Shaw and co-worker Greg Prebble broke into the house of station director Andrew Jeffries. Shaw wasn't looking for valuables, but comedy — he broadcast the break-in live on air. When Jeffries came back to his house, Shaw and Prebble burst out of the cupboards to give him the surprise of his life. Yeah, that got Shaw suspended (though he was back on air a month later).
2) He risked being fired to run an an interview with a Holocaust survivor for more than six hours straight
Shaw interviewed Holocaust survivor Kitty Hart-Moxon about her time in Auschwitz/Burkenau and was so fascinated by her he spent almost seven hours talking to her — and insisted he be able to run the whole thing, uncut, on the air. His boss eventually buckled to his demand — but said if listeners tuned out in droves, he'd be fired. Instead, Shaw told me people were calling the station, talking about how influential the broadcast was. Ratings were excellent, and Shaw kept his job — that time.
3) His wife sold his car for online for about a buck.
Shaw's then-wife, Hayley, sold his carefully rebuilt Lotus Esprit (worth just under $40,000) for 50 pence (about 85 cents) on eBay to punish shaw for telling female body builder Jodie Marsh he would leave her and his two kids for Marsh. Of course, the car sold in a hot minute and the sale became big news in the U.K. Shaw eventually apologized to Hayley on television — and got the car back, though for about $7,500.
4) He punched a domestic abuser live on air
I asked Shaw about some of his most memorable moments on air, and he told me a spectacular story about one call he received on his radio show, “Late Night Love.” A woman called saying she was the victim of sexual and physical abuse from her stepfather, but needed to enter his home to pick up her child. As she told her story, Shaw became increasingly convinced of its validity — as did his audience. Though callers (and Shaw) urged her not to enter the home and offered alternatives to going there, she ultimately felt she had no choice. In response, Shaw drove to the dwelling (while on the air), banged on the door, and when the stepfather answered the door, punched him in the face. The woman got out of the house safely, and Shaw said that years later, she came to visit him at work to thank him for going above and beyond.
5) He's been fired from radio jobs more than 13 times
I asked Shaw about getting canned so many times, and he shrugged it off. He feels that pushing the envelope sometimes pays off, and sometimes gets you canned.
6) He lived locked in a box for 30 days
In 2010, Shaw spent 30 days locked in wardrobe-sized metal box somewhere in the U.K., waiting to be found — and the first person to locate him was to be rewarded roughly $45,000. At the time, the experiment was the second biggest live streamed event ever.
7) He's a certified “creative genius”
When he was twelve, the British Dyslexia Association certified Shaw a “creative genius.” As a tyke inventor, he wowed lots of people — and got an engineering scholarship to Oxford University. He was named the U.K.'s Young Inventor of the year in 1992 and 1994.
8) He pretended to masturbate in public for a television show
As Mr. Inappropriate on “Balls of Steel,” he pulled all sorts of hidden camera pranks, like entering a copy shop and photocopying his bare ass and pretending to be a priest as he whipped out DJ equipment in a church. More scandalous was probably pretending to masturbate in public, though.
9) He invented rubberized ice cube trays — as a teenager
Before he was 16, he had already designed a bunch of products that are still selling in the U.K., including folding walking aids, fast-flashing break lights (to kick on during a slam-on-your-breaks moment), and rubberized ice cube trays. But Shaw says he never bothered to seek patents for any of his inventions, preferring to focus on moving on to the next thing that piqued his curiosity.