Halfway through the journey is a hell of a time to wait to stick your oar in, but Olympic cycling great Victoria Pendleton clashed with Red Dwarf star Craig Charles on Don’t Rock the Boat after he accused her of creating an “awkward” and “toxic” environment.
The ITV rowing show features two crews of six celebrities each racing each other from Cornwall to the top of Scotland and the endurance event has taken its toll on the contestants’ energy levels and emotions.
Craig ruled himself out of the day’s rowing and Victoria was reduced to tears after he confronted her about her apparent problem with him (she objected to his seasickness).
The double gold medal-winning Olympian said: “I know that the finger has been pointed at me and I know I am a very competitive person. I was born and bred that way. What I want to bring to the team, how I feel I support you is giving it my very best physically and I feel absolutely hideous that Craig feels this bad that he can’t get on and prove us all wrong, which is what I was kind of hoping would happen today.
“I’ve really tried to be there for everybody on the boat.”
Craig responded: “Victoria, with the greatest of respect, I’ve felt really uncomfortable, I’ve felt really awkward, I’ve felt really unhappy and it’s generally down to you. Some of the energy that you exude towards me has been fairly toxic, to be honest.”
Victoria said: “It actually breaks my heart, Craig…” before exiting the group in tears.
Meanwhile, the blue crew watched from the sidelines and team captain Denise Lewis said Victoria’s problem was her super-competitive nature.
“She can’t turn it off. That’s her,” she said.
Don’t Rock the Boat viewers were enjoying their popcorn as the exchange played out.
Victoria not coming across very well on here. Im with Craig. Think he was right to say something. Loving the programme!#DontRockTheBoat
— Ben bissett (@12bissett) November 4, 2020
It did have its amusing side, according to some watching.
playing toxic in the background after craig called victoria toxic is perfect editing ???????? #DontRockTheBoat
— morgan (@tinyconroy28) November 4, 2020
The audience was undecided about who was in the wrong.
Victoria Pendleton is really not coming across as a nice person! Craig is such a lovely guy & she is just acting like a total b***h #DontRockTheBoat
— Nicola Hudson ???? (@njhshuddy) November 4, 2020
Are you Team Craig or Team Victoria?
Sulky Craig. Victoria is just that way. Competitive at everything she does. #DontRockTheBoat
— jfield03 (@jfield03) November 4, 2020
The blue crew had its own problems. Love Island star Jack Fincham was not flavour of the day when his constant complaints led to his being replaced on the oars. His crew lost by a small margin and his teammates were understandably aggrieved that he hadn’t put his back into it.