The Hairy Bikers learn about Mangalitza pigs

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The Hairy Bikers Go North returns tonight at 8pm. Dave and Si have reached the Peak District in their journey across the north of England, eating local delicacies and cooking up a storm along their way. The Peak District, the UK’s first national park, welcomes some 13 million tourists every year.

Starting at the world famous Chatsworth House, Dave and Si explore the fields, farms and fine folk producing some of the best food the country has to offer.

In tonight’s episode, the seventh of an eight-part series, they will cook up a traditional breakfast, some spicy patties and a terrific picnic to thank the park rangers.

Having first met in 1995 on the set of TV drama ‘The Gambling Man’, Dave and Si have embarked on a remarkable journey, presenting numerous TV cookery series, and travelling the world at the same time.

They have also produced a number of cookery books to accompany their various series.

Despite their love of food, a harrowing warning from a doctor friend in 2012 forced them both to drastically change their lifestyles.

He told Dave and Si: “Looks lads, you are middle-aged and morbidly obese. You need to do something about it.”

The harsh reality of the situation hit home when they were given a full body scan ahead of filming ‘The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight’.

Dave told iNews three years ago: “They couldn’t see our internal organs.”

Si admitted they were both very scared at the realisation of the task ahead of them.

Dave had hit 18 ½ stone (117 kg), while Si was almost 20 stone (127 kg). Together, they shed more than seven stone (44 kg) and have kept it off since. Si credits the weight loss as the reason he is still alive today.

In 2014, he suffered a brain aneurysm and was forced to undergo emergency surgery.

He told the Mirror that he had had a severe headache which got progressively worse, and admitted he nearly went back to bed before going to the hospital.

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Had he gone back to bed, a doctor told him he would have died.

High blood pressure can place increased pressure on the walls of blood vessels inside the brain, which increases your chances of developing a brain aneurysm. Overweight people are more likely to develop high blood pressure.

Dave said to Si, in a separate interview with the Irish Times in 2014: “It’s a good job you did the diet, otherwise you’d be dead by now.”

Si agreed: “I definitely would, without a shadow of a doubt.”

Fortunately, Si made a full recovery. He spent four days in intensive care and has had no lasting effects since.

He told last year: “If I hadn’t lost the weight I don’t think I would have survived.

“The problem with an aneurysm is the level of fatigue you go through during recovery.

“You simply can’t do anything. It used to take me all day to make one cup of tea when I first came out of hospital.

“It was astonishing. I just slept so much.”

The key to keeping the weight off, the pair said, is to make it as easy as physically possible for people to eat healthily.

They told the Irish Times fad diets are “simply not sustainable”, adding “you cannae eat cabbage soup for the rest of your life”.

They stressed the importance of using herbs and spices, allowing you to make delicious dishes which are less calorific.

Likewise, Si added the importance of simply asking yourself whether you are hungry or not, and walking away if the answer is ‘no’.

The Hairy Bikers Go North airs on BBC Two tonight at 8pm. It will also be available on BBC iPlayer.

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