Belfast Telegraph

Yet again our wannabe celebs are on slippery slope

By Billy Weir

As you join me, I am perched precariously on the end of the sofa wearing Speedos under a giant ski suit covered in sequins in an effort to gain inspiration for a new celebrity-based sports-themed show I'm working on.

Called 'Splat!' it will feature mainly people you've never heard of, as they mudwrestle on a plane with the two losers fighting over one parachute for eviction in the quickest and messiest possible way.

A daft idea? I take it you haven't caught The Jump then?

As the countdown continues to the Winter Olympics (and who among us isn't counting down the seconds?) Channel Four has decamped to a ski resort for a week of snow and ice-based competition presented by Davina McCall.

"We are live in Austria. Twelve celebrities, eight Winter Olympic sports and months of training to avoid the most terrifying elimination on TV – welcome to The Jump," she began, but I was already distracted.

The show is sponsored by Sodastream and I was never allowed one as a child. I had to make do with a glass of Andrews with some Kia-Ora in it, and as for winter sports, snowballing and building snowmen were all we could manage.

Neither of these have been on yet on a show that has worryingly got 'Innsbruck 2014' written on the opening titles, and I fear that there could be a 'Craigavon 2015' on the cards for next year.

Basically, a team of men and a team of women take it in turns each night to compete in various winter sports to avoid finishing in the bottom two and being subject to a ski jump jump-off, hence the name.

First up were the men in the Giant Slalom, and where else would you ever have Sir Steve Redgrave, Britain's greatest Olympian, competing on a level playing field, or slippery slope as the case may be, with Britain's greatest hairdresser, Nicky Clarke?

In the end it was former FIVE singer Ritchie Neville vs Clarke in the jump-off, but they were in safe hands, they had had expert tuition from Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, a bit like turning up for your first driving lesson and finding Stevie Wonder in the passenger seat.

With a gentle plop, Neville 'sailed' out to 11 metres, with Clarke responding with a huge 9.5metres and suddenly 'the most terrifying elimination on TV' didn't seem as terrifying.

On Monday night it was time for the women, and sadly no sporting stars among them, or so we thought.

Amy Childs, who is from TOWIE and hence why I'd never heard tell of her, was at pains to disprove that she was just a bimbo from Essex.

As she told us: "I'm a professional table tennis player. I was second in south Essex for table tennis." Ahhhhhh, THAT Amy Childs.

With a former Page 3 girl, a Pussycat Doll, a presenter no-one knew and one, sadly, we all know, Anthea Turner, the jump-off featured south Essex's No.2 table tennis star against someone who would jump at the chance of a No.2, Eighties pop sensation, Sinitta.

And there was a real shock as the professional table tennis player couldn't jump, despite the support of the baffled Austrian crowd forced to stand out in the cold and cheer, as Eddie told us, 'lots of encouragement really helps. It really helped me' and we wondered how.

Even more drama on Tuesday, when fashionista Henry Conway broke a bone in his hand during skeleton training and bowed out, meaning a jump off between journalist Donal MacIntyre and X Factor winner Joe McElderry to see who joined the show.

MacIntyre, a man who has faced down gangsters and rumbled with football hooligans, had to give second best but neither faced the skeleton where, we finally discovered Sir Steve Redgrave's weakness.

In fairness, he's a tad big for a tea-tray, it was a bit like asking him and Matthew Pinsent to take part in a pedalo at the Olympics, and in a sad indictment of how far English cricket has declined, Gough came last and then lost out in the jump-off to Redgrave.

With that Gough was gone, but all hope is not lost as he's already signed up for Splat! What's that Gabby Logan, you'll present it? Fabulous, all we need now is to get Robbie Savage up on that plane ...

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