A brief post about ITV’s Splash which will hopefully explain within itself why it will probably be the only post on this blog about ITV’s Splash.
The Hosts: Vernon Kaye and Gabby Logan were frankly an odd combination, given that Gabby Logan is a serious sports journalist, and Vernon is one of the only two people ever to succesfully marry the T4 presenting style of non-ironic irony with ITV prime-time’s presenting style of ironic non-irony. I feel the difference between the two was best highlighted by the fact that Vernon turned up to present wearing scoutmaster shorts. Really he was much more suited to the cavernous School Swimming Gala atmosphere created in the Splash! studio, dealing with Helen Lederer’s hysterical meltdown by repeatedly pointing out to her that this was live tv and rolling his eyes to the camera and generally engaging with the whole show on the level that it deserved. Here was a man who had presented 17 different aborted ITV Saturday Night Entertainment Launches in the last year alone. Remember “Let’s Get Gold”? Remember that quiz that was done entirely by bungee? Vernon was quite happy to ride this shit to cancellation at the end of the series, planning his conservatory extension (and accompanying Daily Mail Weekend Magazine Photoshoot) on the way down.
On the other hand, someone decided that Gabby Logan was supposed to be the one AWED by this. A woman who actually presented at the Olympics, who witnessed Usain Bolt consolidate his place in the nation’s hearts, Nicola Adams making boxing history, Sally Pearson freaking the fuck out, Mexico beating Brazil in the football final, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah tussling for second place in the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, PENDLEDRAMA, Ye Shiwen freaking everybody out, the women’s 4×100 world record smashed to bits, McKayla Maroney making THAT FACE, Louis Smith crying his face off, Manteo Mitchell BREAKING HIS LEG, Andy Murray winning something and justifying UK tennis FOREVER, Oscar Pistorius before he became a whiny poor sport, and most importantly BEN AINSLIE GETTING ANGRY (call me). Having to pretend to be impressed by Jade Ewan falling over into water despite the fact that her parents are a bit blind and stuff. She…wasn’t terribly convincing about it. Far more compelling was watching her face seeing the twitch develop as she struggled manfully to resist the urge to slap the shit out of all the screaming Tom Daley fangirls in attendance.
Tom Daley : Olympic Bronze Medallist tanner Tom Daley was really the focus of all the show’s pre-publicity. Possibly because the line-up they’ve cobbled together is pretty barren in terms of people you want to see in their swimming trunks. (Him from Benidorm? WANK ME UP, SCOTTY!) So Tom Daley was forced to dance around for 60% in trunks through which you could literally see his penis. In terms of a cover-story for his constant nudity, Tom Daley had to fulfil a mentor role for the celebrities, teaching them how to dive (in between photoshoots). Highlights of Tom Daley “being a mentor” included :
- telling Helen Lederer that she wasn’t going to die
- flipping Helen Lederer off a crash-mat into the pool
- rolling his eyes at Jenni Falconer’s crippling shoulder pain
- using his mentoring role as an excuse to read out some truly awful 13 year old poetry he did about being a diver
- his complete and utter disdain for both the judges putting Jake through over Jenni and for Omid in general
- peaking in interest terms with Jade Ewan, during the first dive, then not really bothering to do more than just look at anybody else’s dive
- immediately adopting “awkward photo opportunity with 15 year old hormonal girl” posture as soon as any of the contestants came close to touching him
The Judges: The rush to give all three of the judges Official Judging Personas unfortunately left that old guy at the end trampled in its wake, which meant that Jo Brand (warm, friendly, encouraging, completely incoherent and incapable) and Leon Taylor (the prissy femmy Mean Judge who Tells It Like It Is) got the juicier roles. Jo Brand’s connection to the world of competitive diving is…difficult to discern, but the idea of a show revolving around competitive diving having an ENTERTAINMENT JUDGE is just so ridiculous and ITV that I can’t help but get behind it entirely. I can’t wait for all the “fights” between her and Leon, as he approaches her from a position of knowledge, experience and having mentored other Olympic medallists, whilst she brays “BE NIIIIIIICE!” in his face. At any rate I hope Leon is allowed to bring his own Olympic silver onto the panel, which he will rub periodically, whilst winking at Tom Daley. A position Tom Daley is no doubt used to being in generally these days.
The Contestants Could you get a more stereotypical line-up for Series 1 of a new celebrity reality show than “a Sugababe, some ringer actor you’ve never heard of, some irritating sporty female presenter, a needy comedian who isn’t funny and a token inspiring dark horse fatty”? Truly they were starting as they mean to go on, as future episodes feature a TOWIE “star”, someone from Hollyoaks, a washed-up model, a minor Olympian, and Linda Barker. AND MANY MORE! And of course it’s ITV, so everyone had a tragic water related backstory to tell us. Sugababe couldn’t swim, Needy Comedian was scared of heights, something something tragic encounter with a veruca sock…,culminating in Him From Benidorm suddenly remembering pool side that time he nearly died in the Thai Tsunami. Because…you know…him putting that on his application form wasn’t all entirely the reason he got cast or anything. IT WAS ALL COMING BACK TO HIM NOW.
From a competition point of view, it was slim pickings, as neither Sugababe or Unfunny Needy Comedian could dive at all, and were both women, so were out of things from the start. Which left two slots open for the other three contestants, at which point it all descended into a competition as to who could dive from the highest. Which Token Inspiring Fattie won as he hurled himself off the TEN METRE BOARD with all the grace of a boorish middle-aged accountant showing off at Centerparks, leaving poor Annoyingly Sporty Female Presenter looking pretty shabby with a dive from only the THREE METRE BOARD in which she decided to focus on “technique” to the interest of nobody. To be fair, she seemed mostly be trying to perfect the technique of kicking herself in the back of the head mid-air which…well it’s A talent I guess. This left Ringer Actor Who NEARLY DROWNED to advance to the semi-finals where he and Token Inspiring Fattie will compete with whatever four other people in the cast can sort of dive. I only hope they invent a new board EVEN HIGHER THAN TEN METRES (if such heights exist) because otherwise there’s really nowhere for the contestants to go.
The Camerawork: My God the camerawork. I guess the nicest thing you can say is that they normally managed to get the celebrities doing their dives on camera (except for one point in the middle of Jade’s, where they cut to Tom Daley because they JUST COULDN’T HELP IT!) but everybody else? Forget it. The idea of doing a James Bond themed professional diving expedition was always going to be a bit of a no go but I would have liked to have seen the ineptitude (“James Bond” driving a child’s BMX bike off the THREE METRE BOARD <3), not some gormless audience member gasping or, all too often, the diving board above whatever was happening because the routine hadn’t been blocked beforehand. But the NADIR of camerawork was watching every single contestant prance up to the diving board, slowly revealing their costume, in super slow-motion, flicking their hair about to David Guetta, like a Baywatch parody gone wrong. Aint nobody here for that.
The Show : The CLAMOUR to describe this show as the worst Saturday Night Show Ever, the Destruction of the Olympic Legacy and the End Of Culture As We Know it has been quite something, although really mostly what it is indicative of how many people watched, it turns out. They even got “Monkey Tennis” trending which is really just a sign at how done to death that particular cultural reference is. For what it’s worth, here are some Major Entertainment Launches from the last few years that Splash! is better than
Don’t Scare The Hare
Let’s Get Gold
Born To Shine
Anything with Barrowman in
The People’s Quiz
Richard Hammond’s Secret Squirrels
When Will I Be Famous?
The One And Only
Let’s Drag Up For Comic Relief
The live shows of The Voice
The battle rounds of The Voice
Anything revolving around selecting a Eurovision contestant
101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow
The Marriage Ref
That Dog Can Dance!
Red Or Black
The Colour Of Money
And really, in such company, is an innocent excuse to perve on attractive people in Speedos for an hour really such a bad thing? It’s not coming back for a second series, it’s probably not even coming back for a second miniature recap unless something interesting happens, but…well…at least there’s no BARROWMAN is what I’m saying.
And that was Splash!