Have ITV dove in at the deep end with Splash!?

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Written by Liam Hughes

The London 2012 Olympics easily became one of the nation’s proudest moments as we all tuned in to see ‘Team GB’ triumph in the sporting event but have ITV taken it too far with ne

The London 2012 Olympics easily became one of the nation’s proudest moments as we all tuned in to see ‘Team GB’ triumph in the sporting event but have ITV taken it too far with new primetime Saturday night show ‘Splash!’?

Heralded as the daredevil show that would see ‘celebrities’ (a term used very lightly) diving from extreme heights into a pool with the help of the ‘face’ of the Olympics, bronze medallist Tom Daley. The 18 year old that has captured the hearts of the nation in his teeny tiny speedos is also unsurprisingly the face of the show where he constantly tells the audience that what the celebrities are doing is ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘life-threatening’ as is clear with almost every one of the contestants sustaining an injury that might threaten their attempt at diving. It begs the question whether the people are tuning in for sick voyeuristic pleasure to see people hurting themselves; I mean ‘You’ve Been Framed’ is still going and that’s all about people injuring themselves for £250.

The format of the show is clearly supposed to harness the popularity that last year’s London Olympics had with the nation. But it just comes across as a desperate attempt for ITV to ‘get in on the action’, as complete coverage of the sporting event was broadcast on the BBC. Who can forget Simon Cowell’s desperation to increase the popularity of ‘The X-Factor’ by having the Olympians appear on the show as mentors? It makes perfect sense having sporting figures passing on experiences to a group of singers, right? I think not.

The BBC’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ also featured influential figures from the summer games, gymnast Louis Smith and cyclist Victoria Pendleton, but the popularity of these figures failed to win over viewers as neither one won the show. Maybe ‘Dancing on Ice’ will prove more successful with Beth Tweddle and Luke Campbell, who knows? One thing is for certain, ‘Splash!’ is a complete failure.

The show has received negative reviews with one of its contestants, Shameless star Tina Malone, even pleading with listeners on the radio not to vote for her as she doesn’t want to go through it again. Nothing really sums up the show’s embarrassing attempts at sustaining popularity than what co-host Gabby Logan said on last Saturday’s show. When TOWIE regular, Joey Essex, who can probably be regarded as the show’s ‘biggest star’ thanks to the ITV2 show’s popularity, completed his dive and embraced his mentor, Tom, the sports presenter was heard saying that this is ‘what they wanted to see’. I bet the ITV executives were rubbing their hands at this pairing until he was voted off the show thanks to his lacklustre performance on the 10m board.

But nothing is as embarrassing as the making of the show itself.

The show that has been screened at what is regarded as the peak time for audiences on a Saturday night has been consistently filled with gaffes, reminiscent of last year’s pathetic TOWIE live special, and is an embarrassing representation of ITV’s capabilities. Understandably the role the hosts, Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan, have to play is an energetic one as they can be frequently seen racing up and down the diving board stairs but aren’t these supposed to be professionals who can handle a simple thing like reading an autocue? They are constantly seen prematurely missing their cues and making mistakes with contestant’s names and numbers for voting.

Vernon’s attempts to inject some humour in the show with his family friendly jokes just belly-flop with Gabby either not understanding them or missing her cue to laugh, it’s fair to say they’re no Ant and Dec.

To add to the awkwardness, as the contestants are making their way up to the diving board the filming is in slow motion with a song playing over it, I’m guessing to add dramatic effect and tension. However it just leaves the audience burying their heads in their hands in sheer embarrassment for a) tuning into the programme in the first place and b) still not reaching for the remote and switching channels.

It’s fair to say that ‘Splash!’ isn’t supposed to be a ground-breaking show that changes the world but in a society where people are struggling to find work it seems like ITV are laughing at us whilst chucking money down the drain.

What do you think of Splash? Did ITV get it absolutely right or horribly wrong? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.