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From Pc to pin-up; Top cop Rav comes to the rescue.

TV PRESENTER Rav Wilding has gone from catching criminals to catching the eye of the ladies in one swift move.

Rav, best-known as co-presenter on Crimewatch UK, is now turning his attention from robberies to rescues as presenter of BBC series Helicopter Heroes.

While this is the second series, it's a new challenge for Rav.

"It started off when Richard Hammond had his big crash and the air ambulance crew rescued him and everyone suddenly realised what a decent job these guys and girls do," he explains.

"This led to a little series being made, which Hammond presented.

"It was almost done as a thank you for what they did for him but it went down really well and it's now got another series."

For those who missed it last time, the series follows the Yorkshire Air Ambulance crew on their emergency calls.

While 31-year-old Rav does both the voice-overs and links, there was no room for him in the helicopter.

"On the aircraft you've got a pilot who's not medically trained and two medics up there," he explains.

"So you can only really squeeze one camera crew up with them, so it does make it difficult when filming."

Even though Rav spent eight years as a police officer in south London and became hardened to gory scenes, he still finds some of the helicopter rescues stay with him once the cameras stop rolling.

"There was a father and son who were supposed to be out shooting on the Moors and enjoying a friendly day out bonding together.

"But the dad ended up shooting his son in the stomach. It was a complete accident - a fault of the gun - and the son was fine but it really stuck in my mind," he says.

"There was also a case where a motorcyclist had just left a bikers' cafe, where loads of his mates were, about half a mile away he then had a collision and came off. The air ambulance arrived and while they found the bike, they had to keep looking to find the actual driver because he had catapulted so far away.

"They ended up finding him at the bottom of a quarry and they treated him the best they could but sadly he died from his injuries. It was so awful seeing them frantically looking for this person they just couldn't find."

Not only is Rav affected emotionally by the programme, he also finds it hard not being the one directly involved in the action.

"Part of me would love to do that job, to be helping people and getting involved rather than sitting back doing a voice-over and seeing the footage," he says.

"As a policeman in London, I was the first on the scene for shootings, stabbings and all sorts of things so it's quite frustrating sometimes as part of me still does miss that. That being said, they do such a fantastic job anyway, it's in more than capable hands."

Rav continued to work in the force when he got his presenting job on Crimewatch, but soon found that the two were not compatible and had to hang up his police boots.

"All of my own time was taken up with doing Crimewatch and the prisoners were asking for pictures and autographs and that's when I knew it was time to leave," he says.

"Being a police officer is a serious job and had to be kept that way. So the day it interfered with policing was the day I had to leave."

Making the switch from PC to presenter affected other aspects of his life too, including having to give up his passion of playing rugby.

Unlike some TV presenters, Rav's not the type to be spotted dancing the night away in a high-profile nightclub. I

"Socially I don't do that much," he admits.

"Having been a policeman, I always think i there are some nasty people out there who don't like what I do on, the telly, so I've just got M to be a little bit careful."

This news will come J as a bit of a disappointment for his ardent female fanbase. His physique has seen I him feature as Heat's 1 Torso Of The Week ' and any image search 1 for Rav on the internet will reveal plenty of semi-naked photos.

While he's been happy to pose, he also takes the attention with a pinch of salt.

"That's all flattering but it's all a bit silly really so I don't pay attention to that sort of stuff," he says modestly.

"It's fun and if people want to be nice then that's lovely and positives are always better than negatives but there's always going to be negatives - people I've banged up aren't going to like me very much!" i

Rav claims he's never had much i of a career master plan - he only J joined the army at 17 because he J wanted to do something active and couldn't afford to go to university. He has no plans to give up Crimewatch and next i year he'll be heading out on a J Crimewatch roadshow where j the team will head to a different town to tackle crime problems.

Helicopter Heroes startHelicopterHeroess tomorrow at 9pm I on BBC One
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 24, 2008
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