They say reality TV is a race to the bottom – and in the case of Splash! it looks like that race might just finish five metres below the surface of a diving pool.
In what seems like a desperate attempt to cash in on what's left of the post-Olympic spirit in the UK, ITV has commissioned a show that sounds like it came straight out of an Alan Partridge pitch meeting – yep, that's right, it's time for celebrity high diving.
Unflinchingly ignoring some of their previous wacky celebrity-based TV failures, including Celebrity Love Island and Celebrity Wrestling, the commercial broadcaster seems sure that Splash! will be far more I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! than Celebrity Shark Bait... But are the British television public really going to take to this, no matter how “exciting” the contestants ITV manage to round up are?
Astoundingly, Splash! isn't an idea dreamed up by a junior executive at ITV, it is in fact a format bought in from Holland – the land of Big Brother and The Voice... it must be good, right?
Well, I'm not one to cast judgement before a show has been given a fair chance, so I've dug out a few clips of Sterren Springen (the Dutch original) to help piece together an idea of what Splash! might look like... the results are, well, interesting...
In this first clip, a rather fat man spends the best part of two minutes climbing up to the board accompanied by a Prodigy soundtrack. He's then interviewed by an attractive female presenter before unceremoniously dropping off the board feet first into the pool. Ten replays later, the judges give their verdicts (in Dutch) and everyone has a good old laugh.
Next, a young woman is de-robed by an assistant in a one piece swimsuit before making the climb to Katy Perry's Firework. After the essential pre-dive interview, she executes a fairly unimpressive backwards dive. The crowd goes wild... massive replays, judges comment...
Honestly, there seems to be a lot of filler – a smidgen of Saturday night-grade titillation – and not a great deal of killer. It doesn't help that it's in Dutch – but even if this was in English; Holly Willoughby hosting, Bobby Davro diving and Tom Daley leading a judging panel – it's very hard to see how this could be strung out into a primetime television hit in the UK.
Despite managing to get millions excited by people from TOWIE eating kangaroo testicles in the outback and former Hollyoaks lovelies falling over on the ice, it feels like ITV may have jumped the shark with this format.
But with the Dutch version going great guns, and US and Australian versions in the pipeline, maybe this is what the people want after all – just more celebrities doing things... anything...
Oh, and while we're here, why don't we enjoy a clip from ITV's 2005 triumph Celebrity Wrestling... just because we can: