Couch Potato: Tumble is Strictly Come Dancing without the good bits

NOT IMPRESSED: Tumble is BBC1s latest talent contest.
NOT IMPRESSED: Tumble is BBC1s latest talent contest.

NO denying the “whole lot of showbiz magic”, as promised by Alex Jones, on BBC1’s new Saturday night talent contest.

There was Bobby Lockwood, THE Bobby Lockwood, “who you might know from CBBC’s Wolfblood”, in a red leotard pansying around with a hula hoop, to John Legend’s All of Me.

Programme Name: Tumble - TX: 09/08/2014 - Episode: TX One (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  KAT WOULD, JOHN PARTRIDGE - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Programme Name: Tumble - TX: 09/08/2014 - Episode: TX One (No. 1) - Picture Shows: KAT WOULD, JOHN PARTRIDGE - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy

Confused? Then you may have missed the first two helpings of pro-celebrity gymnastics gibberish Tumble.

Chances are, though, even if you did catch it, you were left equally baffled.

What we have, ladies, gentlemen and children, is Strictly Come Dancing with all the good bits removed, leaving the bare bones.

The contestants are paired with professionals who open the show with a group routine, we get to see everyone in training and nobody’s kicked out in week one with the scores carrying over to last night’s episode two.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until: 30/07/2014 - Programme Name: Tumble - TX: 09/08/2014 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Peter Duncan, Kate McWilliam - (C) BBC - Photographer: Colin Bell

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until: 30/07/2014 - Programme Name: Tumble - TX: 09/08/2014 - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows: Peter Duncan, Kate McWilliam - (C) BBC - Photographer: Colin Bell

Even the left-to-right judging line-up of male, male, female, annoying male who cannot sit down and jumps up and down on his chair, is identical to the ballroom’s.

It’s there that all favourable comparisons end.

This is one big zombified shuffling disaster, a classic summer TV filler.

Cover dung in gold plating and you’re still left with gold-plated dung.

In any case, Tumble actually has more in common with the dreadful, not at all missed Dancing On Ice than Strictly in that it’s style over substance.

There are also parallels in the commentary box, with Mitch Fenner apparently taking whatever brightly coloured tablets the late Tony Gubba was clearly on as he called the action at ITV’s frozen rink.

So far he has called a “splits gazelle”, “inverted stag”, “one-armed fish hang”, “front angel into a pigeon” and “a curly ostrich trumpet into a banana biscuit Jiffy bag”.

One of which I may have invented.

The point is I’ve never heard Fenner utter a single one of these alleged moves in gymnastics commentary before.

He also has a bad way with links: “From flipping burgers to flipping backwards...”

To flippin’ Alex Jones. She’s the sole anchor, a dangerous decision by the BBC to entrust a presenter who battles the autocue on a regular basis in her day job and called Carl Froch “Craig” and Beth Tweddle “Beth Tweedle”.

In fairness, reigning world super-middleweight boxing champion Froch is a coup for Tumble, even if he has already dabbled with a TV talent show, ITV’s Stepping Out.

It’s just the other nine who don’t match up, like Lockwood, EastEnders’ Christian, H from Steps, Andrea McLean, someone from Towie, one of the 73 Sugababes alumni, and the self-proclaimed “mad one from Girls Aloud”.

There’s a similar pattern with the judges.

Nadia Comaneci is the class act but Louis Smith is clearly on television for keeps and an excitable upstart named Craig Heap, “the Heapster”, thinks he’s Craig Revel-Horwood awarding tightwad marks and often regresses to childhood memories in his critique.

So to last night and the first outing of the “terrifying” vault for the contestants facing elimination, which they hyped up as if it’s as much a risk to life and limb as C4’s ski jump-off on The Jump.

It’s a vault. Get over it. Literally.


Monday’s The One Show was half an hour of barely understood, broken English that could have really done with an interpreter, with Hong Kong martial arts actor Jackie Chan on the sofa.

But in the end he got what Alex Jones was on about.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

BBC3’s Our World War and Sexy Beasts.

Mum-of-two Jo Pavey, 40, still breastfeeding in April, breaking her gold-medal duck, in the European Athletics Championships 10,000m.

Brian Blessed sobbing “for the first time since a baby” at his great-great-grandfather Jabez’s grave on a rollercoaster Who Do You Think You Are?

Newsnight mistaking itself for Total Wipeout by accompanying a photo of a trampoline with a “boiiiiing!” sound effect.

And The One Show’s Matt Allwright ahead of Nancy Dell’Olio’s Edinburgh Festival one-woman show: “How will you deal with hecklers?” Dell’Olio: “The audience will be in adoration of me.” “Good luck with that.”


This week’s Tell Us Something We Don’t Know award goes to...

Pointless’s quiz god Richard Osman: “Davina McCall, she’s pointless.”


Big Brother’s Helen on leaving the house: “I’m going to get back into reality and probably find out 98 per cent of the population hate me.”

Aww, don’t do yourself down.

It’s at least 99.5 per cent.


EastEnders mysteries. Why is thin-as-a-rake Linda Carter going to Sonia’s Fat Blasters?

Why do supposed couple Jay and Abi have even less on-screen chemistry than Clare Balding and Chappers at the Commonwealth Games?

How did Transport for London pay for the world’s most advanced CCTV giving crystal-clear, HD colour images of Lucy’s final bus journey?

And why did that regional news bulletin wait two days to report her TV murder appeal?

Because 24-hour rolling news hasn’t reached Walford, presumably.


Got To Dance?

Got to dash.


A Judge Judy rip-off it may be, but it’s with mild shame that I plead guilty to enjoying Judge Rinder.

He rules that small-claims court with an iron rod, a viper’s tongue and a nice line in savage putdowns...

“I can smell a lie like a fart in a lift.” “Do you know what amnesia is or have you forgotten?” “I love the smell of stupid in the afternoon.”

And he opened the series with this accidental corker to a claimant: “Is that your mum with you?”

“It’s my sister.”

A star is born. ITV, weekdays, 2pm.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

This Morning’s third-string hosts Marvin and Rochelle Humes turning every conversation to themselves.

Brian Blessed’s great-great-grandparents selfishly not naming any of their 13 kids Gordon, on WDYTYA, for column joke purposes.

Sky Sports ruining the overnight golf result for anyone (me) who didn’t stay up until 1.45am on a school night by renaming its highlights show McIlroy: PGA Championship. (Thanks a bunch.)

And The One Show’s Dan Snow: “In The Club is on BBC1 at 9pm. Why bother changing the channel?” Because EastEnders and Holby are on next. And then In The Club.