27/01/2014 02:45 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

The Jump: slippery start for Channel 4's new show

TV review: Channel 4's winter sports-based game show The Jump attempts to do something different. Did it succeed?


Contestants on The Jump (© Contestants on The Jump. Image. Channel 4)

Summary

Channel 4’s new reality series in which 12 celebrities compete in various winter sports; from speed skating and ski jump, to slalom and bob-sleigh.

What worked

The calibre of celebrity wasn't bad and the production looked gorgeous in HD.

What didn't work

Davina McCall's over-exuberance can be an acquired taste and it quickly became apparent that The Jump's live broadcast added very little.

Full review

Timed to capture the spirit of this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Channel 4 has essentially remade 2003's The Games with a larger budget and more potential for serious injury.

Indeed, during training in Innsbruck, Austria, two celebrities have already dropped out: US actor Sam Jones (who played Flash Gordon) over a shoulder injury, and Tara Palmer-Tomkinson – who decided the show wasn’t for her after all. Maybe the perceived pressure of being hot favourite (as daughter of an Olympic skier) was too much.

Despite those unfortunate losses (if only for the certainty of hearing Queen's Flash Gordon theme during Jones's events), The Jump still has a decent line-up.

This is perhaps indicative of a show offering a genuine challenge and chance to learn new skills, unlike Big Brother and I'm A Celebrity.

"A show offering a genuine challenge and chance to learn new skills."

The participants are: Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave, 5ive's lead singer Ritchie Neville, ex-cricketer Darren Gough, comedian Marcus Brigstocke, ex-TOWIE star Amy Childs, presenter Anthea Turner, hairdresser Nicky Clarke, Pussycat Doll dancer Kimberly Wyatt, fashion writer Henry Conway, '80s pop star Sinitta, presenter Laura Hamilton, and model-turned-presenter Melinda Messenger.

Throw in Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards and Olympian Graham Bell as coaches for a nightly ski jump, and I was mildly excited to see the games begin...

Live versus pre-recorded

Unfortunately, Sunday's premiere delivered a slippery start. This was partly because the majority of The Jump is pre-recorded days before, so the only live event is the climactic ski jump in which the two celebs at the bottom of the rankings table compete against each in a head-to-head.

Granted, it's a bit of a twist on being asked to dance the same routine again (as in Strictly Come Dancing) or skate again (as in Dancing On Ice). But even that perhaps should have been pre-recorded to try and maximise the drama through editing and attendant music.

Watching Ritchie Neville and Nicky Clarke – this week’s bottom two - take off from the smallest ski jump was an underwhelming climax. I'm sure it's a white-knuckle experience in reality, but it didn't look very thrilling for the viewers at home.

Still, there are different events to come, and the women's Skeleton (solo bob-sleigh on a sled under your chest) looked far more dramatic and exciting than the men's ski slalom course.

However, I'm not convinced The Jump is going to grip viewers unless a) more effort's put into demonstrating the difficulty and dangers of each discipline or b) a celebrity falls flat on their face (as uncaring as that sounds). Unless either of the aforementioned happens, The Jump is merely an amateur Winter Olympics presented by a grinning Davina McCall with shaky assistance by The Last Leg's Alex Brooker.

It’s a good idea on paper with decent celebrity bookings in the mix, but the execution in the opener was flat and the decision to present everything live (despite 80% of the events being pre-records) felt wrong.

  • Rating: As a viewing experience, The Jump is far from exciting

    Star grade


What other reviewers said

The Telegraph - "Publicity-seeking C-listers plopping off a ski jump so small that it could double as a speed bump or playground slide."

Digital Spy - "Worse than a snowball in the mouth."

What users on Twitter said

@jezwelham - "I've really tried... but this Jump thing on Channel 4 has to be the worst programme ever! What is this all about!!!! Lol"

@Chorltz - "@Channel4 seriously, how much do you pay the people who come up with ideas such as The Jump?"

@bmottershead - "Just watched "The Jump" on Channel 4. Oh dear oh dear oh dear."


The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft

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