Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 April 2015

Barker hailed as she makes a splash

Linda Barker
Linda Barker

Interior designer Linda Barker was described as "almost as good" as Tom Daley before a battle of the ladies ensued for the final place in the semi-final of diving-inspired talent show Splash!

While Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo went straight through, gaining the highest score from a combination of judges' and viewers' votes, Barker and Shameless star Tina Malone went head-to-head in the splash-off.

Barker's effort won the deciding vote by the judges - Team GB's diving coach Andy Banks, comedienne Jo Brand and former Olympic diving medallist Leon Taylor.

Her dive earlier in the night won high praise from the judges as well as Olympic bronze medallist and competition mentor Daley.

Dressed in a purple bikini, Barker expressed a determination to become the second female in the semi-final: "I've got to give those guys a run for their money."

Banks said of her initial effort: "I really think you're in with a shot with that dive." Brand described Barker's attempt as "beautifully executed".Perhaps most impressed was Taylor, who said her entry into the water was "almost as good as Tom's".

Malone, who was dressed in a red, silky negligee, paid tribute to Daley, saying: "You've been amazing."

Commenting on her initial dive, Brand said: "I saw the fear. I saw the fear." She added: "You went for it, it looked good to me."

Also competing on Saturday night - heat three of the competition - were television presenter Donna Air and comedian Dom Joly, but they were knocked out of the competition due to having the lowest scores when judges' points were combined with viewers' votes.

Barker and Ogogo will join comedian Omid Djalili, actor Jake Canuso, daredevil Olympian Eddie "the eagle" Edwards and sports presenter Charlotte Jackson in the Splash! semi-final.

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