13/01/2013 00:54 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

Tom Daley's Splash! on ITV: Eddie the Eagle soars

TV review: Tom Daley's Splash!, ITV's celebrity diving series, ended with Eddie the Eagle on top. Has it improved?


Eddie the Eagle in ITV's Splash! (© Eddie the Eagle in ITV's Splash!. Image. ITV)


Summary

Week two of Tom Daley’s Splash!, ITV's widely ridiculed diving series. Another batch of semi-famous people jumped into water for our alleged entertainment.

This time we had The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) star Joey Essex, Irish gardener Diarmuid Gavin, Sky Sports News presenter Charlotte Jackson, supermodel Caprice, and 1980s Olympic ski jumper, Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards.

Highlight

Easily the marvellous 10m dive from Eddie 'The Eagle'. To my untrained eye, it looked surprisingly professional and, most importantly, splash-free on impact.

Lowlight

Splash! improved in certain ways, but a lot of good work was undone by presenters Gabby Logan and Vernon Kay giving out incorrect phone vote numbers, and having to rectify the problem halfway through the show. Live TV, eh?

Full review

ITV's light entertainment spectacle Splash! launched to a tidal wave of animosity last weekend, most notably on Twitter.

I was part of the baying crowd, but also aware that generally, viewers don't enjoy "hating" something unless it's entertaining them on some inexplicable level.

"I was pleased to see an improvement"

The idea of a competitive celebrity diving show isn't necessarily a bad one; it just depends on how well it's executed.

I was pleased to see an improvement in week two of Splash!, although there are still many problems that prevent it being anything other than a harmless travesty.

The key problem remains the fact that Splash! packs approximately 20.3 seconds of relevant activity into 90-minutes of broadcast television.

Diving just isn't a pastime that eats up time (unlike dancing and skating), so the programme has to pad things out.

It shoves in training montages, post-dive interviews, slow-motion walks to the diving platform, and awkward links bookending the adverts where Gabby and Vernon try comedy (to stony silence half the time).

Week Two felt a little tighter than last week, but we're still only really watching one of two dives every 20 minutes. I'm a little puzzled as to why producers didn't foresee this potential problem; simply adding two or three more celebs to the mix would've solved it.

Splash! learns some lessons

As I mentioned earlier, Splash! did improve in some notable ways this week.

There is now a helpful pre-dive video where Tom Daley is shown performing the celebrity's chosen dive perfectly, allowing viewers an opportunity to make some kind of comparison. That certainly helped matters.

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The camera angles throughout the show were also better, particularly when the celebs were heading up to the diving board. And the decision to bring in a team of synchronized swimmers as mid-show entertainment made for a better time-filler than last week's tedious Bond-themed diving acrobats.

But it's not all good news.

The two professional judges remain characterless and Jo Brand's remarks are a variety of self-deprecating gags about her own weight (ditto her stand-up career, only with added jokes about food).

It doesn't help that the calibre of celebrity isn't the strongest and it needs to lose 30 minutes from its runtime.

It's laughable, if not desperate, to see the hype machine go into overdrive over the smallest thing (a dramatic-sounding "broken bone" incident in training was revealed to involve a toe).

Despite the modest improvement in areas, it's still not enough to overcome the bigger issue; watching five D-list celebs dive into a municipal swimming pool doesn't justify an hour and a half of primetime television.

  • Verdict: Splash! steps up from being abysmal to merely being bad.

    Star grade

What other reviewers said

The Telegraph: "Watching a dive takes mere seconds and this programme was 90 dull, bloated minutes long."

The Mirror: "Splash! - so awful it makes Mark Wright's Hollywood Nights look like The Wire."

What people on Twitter said

‏@dsrealitybites -" Vernon Kay's shorts remain the highlight of #splash for me."

@LukeMarsden (Big Brother) - "This show is more ridiculous than ITVs attempt at Celebrity Wrestling. #Splash."

@heidistephens - "Vernon looks broken. He knows this is the final stop before Bid Up TV. #splash"


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

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