COUCH POTATO: Falling trunks cannot save sinking show

Splash presenters Gabby Logan and Vernon Kaye with Tom Daley

Splash presenters Gabby Logan and Vernon Kaye with Tom Daley

First published in News
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GABBY Logan, for the briefest of moments, stops harping on about sisters doing it for themselves and attempts to summarise the ensuing shambles.

“This is the show that gives mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Saturday night.”

“The show that presses all the right buttons.”

“The show that’s right on so many levels.”

And wrong on so many more.

It’s the show, more pertinently, that gives viewers lingering live underwater close-ups of Keith Duffy’s bum after his trunks came down on impact, while they’re eating their tea.

Three times.

We’re in Luton, “the theatre of diving dreams, the Las Vegas of Bedfordshire”, for the diabolically watchable Splash! where only the small print has changed since series one.

Vernon Kay’s Bermudas are missing, we must presume doing time for crimes against taste and decency.

The front-row high-fiving pillock parade is now in real time and from the opposite direction.

Logan and Kay still have the on-screen chemistry of Clive Anderson and The Bee Gees.

Judge Andy Banks has mercifully ditched his opening episode attempts at comedy.

Sadly, Jo Brand hasn’t.

Worse, the unstoppable flood of talent show sound bites is so overwhelming that the Environment Agency has issued a severe warning and Prince Charles is due to visit in wellies on the back of a trailer.

I counted seven incidents of “up/raise their game” in last Saturday’s first semi-final alone, a phrase that seems to have taken over from all the “comfort zones” and is now neck and neck with “bravery”.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, is so brave.

At least according to Vernon Kay who set a new world record, in heat three: “Penny, that was a very brave dive.” “Dan, brave attempt off the 10m board.”

“Danielle, a very brave dive tonight.”

“Penny, so brave.”

You’ve already done her, Vernon.

That’s Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, who almost turned Splash! into public service television when, with the voting viewers’ blessing, she twice face-planted/belly-flopped from 7.5m and her entire front began turning puce as she listened to Leon Taylor giving his critique. (He didn’t like it.)

We’ve had nasty landings, moments of brilliance from Paralympian Richard Whitehead and Diversity’s Perri Kiely – whose dive in next week’s final should have him thrown from the top platform in a suitcase by Ashley Banjo.

And even a haemorrhaging eyeball.

But as Logan said introducing Tom Daley: “We’ve got the water, we’ve got the celebrities, there’s just one vital ingredient missing...”

An audience. They’re all watching The Voice, which has gone self-indulgently downhill since a promising series opener but is still giving Splash! an almighty drubbing from which it won’t recover.

The joke’s over, you see.

It was funny the first time but we’ve entered the zone of ever-diminishing returns.

Vernon Kay might insist: “According to my watch, it’s dive o’clock.”

But he needs to get his timepiece fixed.

Like Keith Duffy’s trunks, it’s not water resistant to a depth of five metres.

Everyone is now out of the pool.

Session’s over.

Spudulike awards

Shearsmith and Pemberton’s gloriously twisted Inside No 9.

Sky Sports’ Deadline Day tag team Jim White and Natalie Sawyer.

Andi Peters’ inspired narration on ITV2’s solitary good show The Big Reunion: “They’ve scaled the icy, unforgiving edifice of the artistic mountain we call pop,” and, “Noel may have forgotten how to wear sunglasses but that hasn’t stopped him becoming a youth worker.”

C4’s Big Ballet, following Wayne Sleep training 18 chubbers to perform Swan Lake, especially shop assistant Emma who, surveying her fellow plus-sized auditionees, said: “Everyone’s the same. You’re not going to stand out like the elephant in the room.”

The prospect of a follow-up episode in 2058 of C5’s She’s 78, He’s 39: Age Gap Love, featuring Caroline Flack.

Spuduhate awards

Dragons’ Den made-to-measure condom entrepreneur Joe Nelson missing a marketing trick by not changing his name by deed poll to Willie.

The Voice confusing humour with needless, drawn-out banter.

The One Show’s Alex Jones lying: “Hugh Grant has got many redeeming features.” (Let me know when one springs to mind, Alex.)

The too much information moment She’s 78, He’s 39: Age Gap Love broached the question of nookie, with Phil, 29, saying of his 68-year-old partner’s overactive sex drive: “Joan is like a Formula 1 racing car.” An HRT, presumably.

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