Couch Potato: Everyone out the pool, Splash! is sodding awful

SINKING: Splash! needs mouth-to-mouth
SINKING: Splash! needs mouth-to-mouth

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, Gabby, that gives viewers lingering live underwater close-ups of Keith Duffy’s arse crack 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 presumed 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.

And Tom Daley, it turns out, is bisexual.

So nothing new to report, really.

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 sodding 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, excellence 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.

In between laughing at shadows, Vernon Kay might insist: “According to my watch, it’s dive o’clock.” (Oh duck off, mush-brains.)

But he needs to get his timepiece fixed. It stopped working after series one.

Everyone out the pool. Session’s over.


This week’s Talking Even More Baloney Than Usual award goes to...

The Big Benefits Row: Live’s Katie Hopkins: “I was left with my babies when I was two weeks old.”

And to think, some say she had an easy upbringing.


Reinforce the stage.

Because Wayne Sleep is “breaking the biggest taboo”, training 18 chubbers to perform Swan Lake in C4’s enjoyable Big Ballet.

Ninety-three obese hopefuls started out, including Mike who surveyed the scene and said: “It’s beginning to look like the most disappointing swingers meeting ever.”

A line almost as good as Emma’s: “Everyone’s the same. You’re not going to stand out like the elephant in the room.”

Well not much anyway.


That difficult second album – the curse of pop stars. But not The Big Reunion.

Series two’s bands may be different on ITV2’s solitary good show, back “after literally months in hibernation”, but the old unhealed wounds aren’t.

Andi Peter’s narration deserves an arena tour, flitting between OTT: “They’ve scaled the icy, unforgiving edifice of the artistic mountain we call pop,” cheeky: “Simon Cowell previously turned down The Spice Girls like a massive idiot,” and funny: “Noel may have forgotten how to wear sunglasses but that hasn’t stopped him becoming a youth worker.”

Girl Thing (me neither) member Nikki Stuart’s hubby told her: “It’s not The Beatles re-forming.”

No. It’s much better than that.


The One Show’s Alex Jones: “Hugh Grant has many redeeming features.”

Let me know when one springs to mind, Alex.

Because I’ve got nothing.


This Morning’s “legal eagles” with some top-level advice to viewers’ questions.

Jason Hunter: “She needs to get legal advice.”

Alicia Alinia: “It’s definitely something she could get legal advice on.”

And Hunter again, answering: “Can I sue my landlord?” with: “Yes.”

Schofe: “And how would she go about that?”

Hunter: “A bit more legal advice.”

Case dismissed.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

Shearsmith and Pemberton’s deliciously twisted Inside No 9.

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

ITV2’s genius to manufacture a “breathtaking pop entity” supergroup of 1990s has-beens for The Big Reunion.

And Peter Jones coming face to face on Dragons’ Den with an enormous condom. Or in his case “a cagoule”.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

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

C5 hijacking C4’s Benefits Street thunder with cynical ratings-clawing pantomime The Big Benefits Row: Live. Plus host Matthew Wright pretending they invented the debate by claiming its documentary On Benefits And Proud, in October, was “the programme which first highlighted the issue of benefits”.

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