OUR Sunday TV writer on the week’s TV:
It’s minus 9C at Innsbruck’s Igls Sliding Centre. So over to Barry Davies to set the scene.
“Twice this venue has been part of a Winter Olympic Games, in 1964 and 1976.
Now? Now it’s the venue for a reality TV show starring Sinitta, Anthea Turner and Ritchie from 5ive hurtling down the ice on a glorified tea tray.
An Olympic legacy if ever I saw one.
We’re at The Jump, television’s latest attempt to dismember minor celebrities in a series of winter sports.
But whereas the BBC spent four years having a go with Total Wipeout, Channel 4 managed it within three days in Austria this week.
First, fashion toff Henry Conway shattered a bone in his hand into seven pieces down the skeleton course.
After which, the three titanium pins holding it together will forever make getting through airport security a barrel of laughs.
Then Melinda Messenger got “a battering in the bobsleigh”, which sounds illegal, and joined him on the sick-note sidelines.
In fact this show’s been so successful in its mission statement that it was in jeopardy of running out of unharmed contestants midweek and could have been called Come Die With Me.
That’s not its only serious problem.
The nightly ski-jump-off may be terrifying for the bottom two but it comes over as a slightly big slide.
Steve Redgrave pointed out: “You can’t do a programme called The Jump if you’re not going to jump,” which someone should have told C4 before they signed Amy Childs.
She chickened out, on Monday night, and for all I know is still stuck up there gathering frost like Jack Torrance in the final scene of The Shining.
Host Davina McCall, who began the series sporting the cat-burglar look, is reliably fluffing her lines and obsessing over her “big bum” and Kimberly Wyatt’s “lovely bum”.
And half the time my brain seems to be putting words in their mouths: “I hate this.” “It all went very badly wrong.” “I feel like I’ve lost 10 years of my life.”
But mostly this one: “In a sick, twisted kind of way, I loved it.”
That’s the thing. The very real danger of the skeleton and bobsleigh has me glued, as do lines like Sinitta fancying her chances of victory “because I like Christmas and restaurants”.
Co-host Alex Brooker had the wit to tell Amy Childs during their interview: “This is hardly Frost/Nixon, is it?” and, thanks to live TV, inadvertently raised a glass of schnapps to the “pussy goal... Oh my God!” instead of the Pussycat Doll.
C4 could keep repeating Melinda Messenger attacked by a ski lift and using a crash fence as her only brake at Hemel Hempstead’s snow dome and I wouldn’t complain.
And Davina has been using the phrase “The Jump, 2014”, as if it’s going to get a second series.
Crazily I’d welcome that, in a sick, twisted way.
Ditch the skiing, only do sliding events and hire Flash Gordon again so I can use the material I’d lined up before he got crocked in training, which prompted one overriding thought.
Dispatch war rocket Ajax to brrring back his body.
The campaign starts here.
First out the traps last night is Jessica Steele agonising over which coach to join: “I’m sorry taking so long.”
Don’t worry, Jess, they’ll edit it down. Won’t they? They won’t?
Grrr, my biggest bugbear with The Voice.
Ricky Wilson’s funny (a first for the show), Kylie’s loveable but 80 minutes drags.
Cut the pointless banter and buffoons like Si Genaro last week who “combines music with comedy sometimes”, but not that time, clearly.
An hour tops, BBC.
This week’s Spuduhates...
Evan Davis’s idiot-proof Dragons’ Den running commentary.
Voices-in-head chuckler Vernon Kay’s leisure centre jokes on Splash! going down like a floating varruca plaster in the shallow end.
CBB’s Luisa Zissman imagining she’s “keeping it real” when she’s actually horrifically vile.
And Phillip Schofield reading a citation after This Morning won a Transgender Television Award: “Presenters are careful with how they deal with sensitive issues.”
As long as they’re not trying to hand the Prime Minister a list of wrongly named paedophiles from the internet, obviously.
There’s a Celebrity Big Brother-shaped gap in my heart.
An ensemble triumph that wasn’t as jaw-dropping as George Galloway MP imitating a cat but pips the class of 2006 for entertainment.
The Grandfather Clock task, with Blue’s entrance and Jasmine’s return, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word played over Lee Ryan deluding himself he’s not a love rat and Liz Jones feigning depression in the bathtub were nothing short of genius.
As Jim Davidson told Big Brother: “It’s been an honour.”
The honour’s all mine, Jim.
Dragons’ Den tightwad Kelly Hoppen refusing to invest in entrepreneur Aurora Tyas’s Pop & Go travel knickers: “You might be better off on a shopping channel.”
So said Kelly Hoppen who, at 12.58am on Wednesday night, was flogging duvet sets... on QVC.
This week’s Nudge-Nudge, Wink-Wink, Say No More award goes to...
Celebrity Big Brother’s Luisa Zissman: “You guys are obsessed with sex. I’ve rubbed off on you.”
Well then it’s no surprise they are.
Sailor Hannah White trains four ordinary people for the world’s toughest endurance races on C5’s Go Hard Or Go Home. So how’s that going?
Week 1, four GPs cycle 127 miles across the Pyrenees. Two pulled out after the first climb, a third took a shortcut.
Week 2, four WI members enter 70-mile triathlon in California. One didn’t make the start line, two finished outside the time limit.
Week 3, four pub landlords canoe 86 miles in Texas. One withdrew in last place. Oh, and another was thrown out for anabolic steroid use.
Go Hard Or Go Home? Go home, Hannah.
Idea for a mash-up spin-off TV series featuring Lee Ryan and Casey Batchelor living in James Turner Street, Birmingham.
Friends With Benefits Street.
Great expectations ahead of BBC2’s Horizon: Sugar v Fat which followed a scientific investigation into unhealthy foods.
And not, alas, what I tuned in for – a cage fight to end the Twitter war of words between the founder of Amstrad and Piers Morgan.
This week’s Spudulikes...
Sky Sports’ Deadline Day tag team Jim White and Natalie Sawyer.
Frank Skinner turning Room 101 into TV’s best panel show.
Sky1’s fearless Extreme World frontman Ross Kemp becoming the natural successor to Alan Whicker.
Richard Osman dousing the fire of The One Show’s Alex Jones over an incorrect Pointless Celebrities answer she gave three-and-a-half years ago but cannot let go: “It’s called Little Fockers. Not Meet The Little Fockers. For example, I went to see The Wolf of Wall Street on Sunday. It’s not called Meet The Wolf of Wall Street.”
And the TV rehab of Jim Davidson. Thanks for the memories. Now quietly slip away.