TV review: Dive, dive, dive! Splash is brilliantly bonkers

Often submerged… Tom Daley in Splash. Photograph: Tony Ward for ITV / TwoFour
21 Jan 2013 @ 10.14 pm
| Entertainment

Eddie The Eagle makes a splash

lucy-bellerby-byline-photo-bwCelebrities plummeting, Tom Daley clenching and Vernon perving… what’s not to like, asks Lucy Bellerby?


bellers-on-the-box-logo-230

Splash! (ITV, Saturday) is probably the most brilliantly bonkers thing to grace our screens in years. It takes the sparkly campness of Strictly Come Dancing and dumps it down in the middle of a swimming pool, amid several flailing celebrities leaping off diving boards and onto their faces.

Plus Tom Daley, beautiful tanned face of the Olympics and purveyor of very tiny pants, is a trainer/presenter. Everybody loves him; most of us would tune in just to see him sitting on a sofa for two hours, eating a pot noodle.

In the opening sequence he stands atop the highest board, grin fixed and bum clenched, as fireworks go off and synchronised swimmers flap about in the water to a club banger.

Grin and clench: Tom Daley. Photograph: ITV
Grin and clench: Tom Daley. Photograph: ITV

Vernon Kay is poolside, showing off the skills he learnt at the Bruce Forsyth school of “perving on women but doing it with a cheeky grin so it’s OK”, eyeing up Caprice as she struts by in a sequined one-piece.

If that’s not enough for you, how about Joey Essex cantering his way up to the board to the strains of Gangnam Style before toppling over the edge. Or the garden designer Diarmuid Gavin wearing a Victorian man’s bathing suits with his pallid hairy belly poking out the bottom, or the 49 year old Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards gracefully somersaulting into the air and beating all the other contestants hands down, receiving his high scores from the judges with his modesty not at all covered by his Lycra mankini.

All right, its not exactly highbrow, so don’t expect David Starkey to be mincing about with Tom Daley (although CAN YOU IMAGINE?!). But we’re all poor, its cold outside and we need some cheering up, and I promise you Splash! is just the ticket.

Call The Midwife (BBC1, Sunday) is one of those programs that’s unintentionally hilarious. It tries to do hard hitting storylines, but they always fall a bit short, mainly because it mainly seems to be about Miranda Hart galumphing round on a giant bicycle, doing a posh voice and accidentally smacking herself in the head with forceps.

Every time she delivers a baby she sheiks “BRAVO!” at the woman as she’s pushing, and yet (unrealistically) she’s never been punched for it.

There’s a pale saintly midwife who sweeps into all the poor people’s houses, wrinkling her pretty nose at their scabby kids, and every single week finds a teenage mum giving birth in an alleyway.

Miranda gallumphs by bike. Photograph: BBC
Miranda gallumphs by bike. Photograph: BBC

Also, every week a baby goes missing; but this is hardly surprising as all the mums leave the babies in their prams in the street, in the snow, as fresh air will “do ’em good”. The poor sods then get whisked away by some mad old woman who keeps them in a basement and pretends they’re a doll. The good pale midwife always saves the day, obviously, whilst the blonde tarty midwife never does anything apart from flirt with the milkman and send the nuns into a faint.

The women having the babies all seem to pace about in a nice cardigan before sitting on the loo, biting down on a rag and doing a few Hail Marys. A nice pink baby pops out, is swaddled in 50 layers of scratchy knitted blankets and is given a name like Maureen, then the mother jumps out of bed and gets back to bleaching the front steps.

My own grandma gave birth at the same time as the show is set, and she made it sound like a walk in the park. But thank god gas and air was invented a few years later; not only for the labour pains, but to knock you out if ever Miranda happened to bumble her way into the delivery room.