Milton Keynes star Greg Rutherford to appear in new BBC TV show starting Friday

Milton Keynes celebrity Greg Rutherford is set to appear in a new BBC TV show which starts on Friday (April 5).

The Olympic hero hung up his spikes at the end of last season after announcing his retirement.

Olympic legend Greg Rutherford

Olympic legend Greg Rutherford

The long jumper, who leapt to worldwide fame in 2012 as he claimed gold at the Olympic Games in London, was plagued with injuries throughout his career and said it was time to call it quits last year.

“At times I am in so much pain I can’t even sit on the floor and play with my two kids,” Rutherford told the Guardian.

“Whenever I try to sprint or jump I have to take three days off because I am limping so much. In the end it wears you down.”

Now Rutherford, who grew up in Bletchley and later lived in Woburn Sands, is set to take on a new challenge - a pilgrimage to Rome - as part of a new BBC TV show.

Greg Rutherford with his co-stars ahead of the pilgrimage

Greg Rutherford with his co-stars ahead of the pilgrimage

He is one of eight well known personalities, all with differing beliefs and faiths, who are putting on backpacks and walking boots to cover the Italian section of the ancient 2,000km Via Francigena, which starts in Canterbury and finishes in Rome.

Rutherford and his co-stars have just 15 days to tackle 1,000km for Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome, which is set over three hour-long episodes starting Friday (9pm) culminating on Good Friday.

The group start their pilgrimage in the Alps, just before the Swiss-Italian border. But will this journey of a lifetime change the way they think about themselves and their beliefs?

Rutherford - described as a lapsed Jehovah’s Witness - is joined by actors Les Dennis and Lesley Joseph, professional dancer Brendan Cole, comedians Stephen K Amos and Katy Brand, Irish Eurovision Song contest winner Dana and television presenter Mehreen Baig as modern-day pilgrims. They’ll stay in basic hostels, sleep in shared dorms, and follow a largely untrodden route, which is currently in the throes of revival.