06/01/2013 00:38 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

Tom Daley's Splash! belly flops onto our screens

TV review: Tom Daley's ITV celebrity diving series Splash! is not the ideal Olympic legacy.


Splash review (© ITV)


Summary

Tom Daley’s Splash! is a five-part celebrity diving series with teenage Olympian Tom Daley as resident coach, presented by Vernon Kaye and Gabby Logan.

This is ITV’s newest Saturday night light entertainment show; it’s clear the broadcaster hopes to turn Olympic afterglow into big ratings

Highlight

Stretching the meaning of the word, the most entertaining moment was Anglo-Iranian comedian Omid Djalili frolicking around on the topmost 10 metre board, before conquer his nerves and making a pretty impressive dive for a beginner.

Lowlight

The whole endeavour gurgles around the plughole. However, the most ridiculous moment was probably a silly James Bond homage with men in tuxedos wrestling with women in cocktail dresses before diving into the water. Ian Fleming with extra chlorine.

Full review

An adaptation of Holland's Sterren Springen, which has been sold around the world, it's hard to imagine a worse way to start 2013.

And yet, it was the top show of Saturday night, averaging nearly six million viewers (including ITV1 +1). Oh well. No accounting for taste.

In Splash!, four Z-list celebrities (and Omid Djalili) are coached to dive by bronze medal winner Tom Daley; they then perform one dive each on live television, judged by coach Andy Banks, ex-diver Leon Taylor and, um, plump comedian Jo Brand.

"It's hard to imagine a worse way to start 2013."

In this opener, the celebs assembled were Sugababes singer Jade Ewen, the aforementioned Omid Djalili, presenter Jenni Falconer, Jake Canuso and comic actress Helen Lederer.

I can understand the thinking behind ITV commissioning Splash! – after all, it’s in the wake of the sport's increased popularity thanks to Tom Daley's sex symbol status.

There is also the desire to extend the nation's athletic positivity post-Olympics (also a reason the BBC revived Superstars, also with Gabby Logan), and a format that doesn't take itself seriously.

The latter point is worth further thought, seeing as the show felt as throwaway and knowingly pointless as the BBC's Let's Dance for Comic Relief (which likewise has celebs doing something out of their comfort zone and receiving tongue-in-cheek analysis).

The difference is that Let's Dance has the excuse of existing for charitable reasons, whereas ITV assumedly believe Splash! has potential to be an honest success. Bombing isn't allowed on the show, but tell that to the critics.

Tom Daley's Splash! makes a plop

And yet, if I’m completely honest, there is a slither of hope with Splash!

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It helps that each week there's a brand new quartet of celebs, which should keep the show fresher than if the celebs were dragged back for more of the same every episode.

There's also a chance a celebrity people love to revile (Katie Price is rumoured to be booked) will publicly chicken out of their dive and have to make a shameful descent by ladder.

Or perhaps even suffer a painful belly flop at 40 mph.

I daresay quite a few viewers will also enjoy seeing hunky and sexy celebs in their swimwear; which perhaps explains why ITV switch to slow-motion when their bikinis and trunks are first revealed.

Splash! is mindless junk TV for the easily satisfied, but you can't deny there's palpable tension in the seconds before a dive.

To improve Splash! with interactivity, throw a glass of water into your face when a celeb hits the pool; and just be grateful there isn't an ITV2 sister show called Splashback.

  • Verdict: If you thought Splash! was low rent TV, you're wrong. It's worse than that.

    Star grade

 What people on Twitter said

‏@TheTellyRocket - "That last splash was the sound of the itv commissioning editor throwing himself off the 10-metre platform."

@richardpbacon (Richard Bacon) - "We've had our sarcastic fun. But let's admit that in it's own mysterious way, it's strangely enjoyable. If not utterly compelling."

@Simone_Hearts - "The only thing that could make this awful programme even remotely entertaining would be a great white shark."

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

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