Duchess of York will fly helicopter Down Under

Sarah Ferguson (right), remains close to ex-husband Prince Andrew (left) and the pair is often seen with their princess children.

Sarah Ferguson (right), remains close to ex-husband Prince Andrew (left) and the pair is often seen with their princess children.

Sarah, Duchess of York, has revealed she is brushing up on her flying skills in preparation for a television show to be filmed in Australia.

Sarah said she will pilot a helicopter in the program, which will feature her talking to residents about Australia’s culture and natural world.

“I’m working on a screen venture that is a bit like Challenge Anneka, if you remember that 1990s BBC reality program. Mine will be called Duchess Down Under,” the duchess told Saga magazine this week.

“Instead of being in the helicopter, as Anneka was, I’ll be flying it – I’m retaking my helicopter test and renewing my licence. I’ll be talking to people in Australia about the culture, the flora and fauna of their nation.”

The duchess has published her debut Mills & Boon novel and hopes it will be adapted into a TV drama because “everything that’s written she can already see,” her co-author has said.

The Duke of York’s ex-wife described the book – Her Heart For A Compass – as a “sweeping, fabulous, historical novel” set in the 1870s and said her heroine Lady Margaret is “a very rebellious lady”.

The book, which draws on Sarah’s own life journey and incorporates research into her ancestry, is a fictional account of the life of the duchess’s great-great-aunt Lady Margaret Montagu Douglas-Scott.

Sarah co-wrote the book with Marguerite Kaye, who has written more than 50 novels for Mills & Boon set in a variety of historical eras.

During an appearance on ITV’s Loose Women, Sarah described how she and the late Diana, Princess of Wales would discuss the impact of being in the public eye.

“I do address the eating disorder issue with Lady Margaret in the book. Diana and I used to talk about it a lot, what it is to be on the front pages and people judging about the size you are,” she said.

“I speak openly that it’s OK, just be who you are, keep fighting on and don’t give up. I’m still a work in progress, too.”

Talking about who would play her novel’s lead male, Sarah said: “I think Colin Firth is just phenomenal as Darcy [in Pride and Prejudice] … coming out of the lake. I love James Norton but Aidan Turner takes the top spot for me. I thought he was brilliant as Leonardo and Poldark.”


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