Wow, I haven’t seen a Conservative MP fall on her face like that since Louise Mensch went on Have I Got News For You.
This, more than any other week, was probably always going to be the hardest heat to recap, because this is the one with what I’ll politely term “the dregs” of the cast. As a child of the eighties, obviously I know who Paul Young is, and anybody who watched that infamous series of Celebrity Big Brother knows who Danielle Lloyd is. (If you didn’t watch it: she was part of the racist coven that also featured Jade Goody RIP, Jo from S Club 7, Jackieyeiiiye Budden and Jack Tweed. She was the most successful of all of them, eventually finishing in fifth place after 3.30 per cent of voters decided that they liked her particular brand of xenophobic moxie.) And then beyond that: a comedian I’ve never heard of, a TOWIE guy I was not aware of before I watched this episode, and a low-tier MP who I had to google just to find out which party she belongs to. It’s not a vintage week, let’s put it that way. (On the bright side, it picked up 200,000 viewers again after last week’s drop, suggesting that The Voice UKylie has perhaps done all the damage it’s likely to do at this point.)
We were treated once again to Dripping Wet Daley at the poolside at the top of the show, as he promised us that this was a “technically capable” group (no, stop, I can’t cope with all this excitement etc.) and we were in for a treat, even if we were going to spend the whole episode going “which one’s that again?”
Up first this week was comedian Patrick Monahan. Apparently he won Show Me The Funny back in 2011, but you’d be forgiven for not knowing that because it was the sort of reality show that flopped so hard even I didn’t watch it. (And I say this as someone who watched So You Think You Can Dance UK. BOTH SERIES.) Still, apparently winning it means he is more capable of showing you the funny than Ellie Taylor off Snog Marry Avoid and Fake Reaction, as she finished either fifth or joint-fourth. (The Wikipedia page is kind of unclear.) Patrick appears to be from the school of diving where what he lacks in technique he makes up in enthusiasm, thrusting himself into the water at such speed that his training footage consisted of an amount of pixellated buttcrack that I don’t normally see during the months when Survivor is on hiatus. He’s also the sort of person who asks endless questions to make sure he knows what he’s doing, which clearly got on Tom’s wick quite quickly. Patrick sustained the first of this week’s many bellyflops (SPOILER) in training, but despite the show’s best efforts to make us think he’d drowned, he seemed to take it all in stride. His eventual chosen dive for the show was a forward 1½ somersault from the TEN METRE BOARD, where he proceeded to manhandle Gabby Logan in a way that I felt slightly uncomfortable about and suggest they jump off the board together. I know this show’s in dire straits at this point, but I’m not sure it’s quite at the “suicide pact” level just yet. His attempt was pretty decent, although his enthusiasm led to a touch of over-rotation on entry. He then exited the pool, hugged Vernon who was wearing an entirely unsuitable light blue shirt (which was quickly soaked. WHERE ARE THE EFFING TOWELS?) and scored 23.0 from the judges. After receiving his marks, Patrick then went off to hug Tom Daley “for everyone at home”, and reveal that Tom smells lovely, just in case anyone was wondering about that.
Patrick’s talkative nature meant that at several points during his segment the cameras weren’t actually on the person who was speaking (perhaps because the people who were supposed to be speaking couldn’t get a word in sideways), but it was symptomatic of an overall problem with the editing this week – frequently we could hear Gabby or Vernon doing their post-dive chats with a contestant while we were still watching endless slow-motion replays of their descent. It’s not a problem I’ve noticed in previous weeks, but it definitely looked a bit sloppy this time, so that’s something to work on for the final heat next week.
I’m going to be brief as far as Paul Young’s concerned, because it only took me about five minutes to forget he’d ever been on the show in the first place. To summarise: he’s from Luton so he was on home turf, Dan from TOWIE wasn’t born when most of Paul’s hits came out, he was a real trier who wanted to give it a real go, and Tom thinks that age is no excuse for holding back, which explains a few things about his love life. (SWISH!) Given that he didn’t have the flips and tricks at his disposal, Paul decided to go for height instead and opted for yer standard forward pike fall from the 7.5 metre board. It was a good effort, if a bit weak-kneed on entry. Leon did his standard mean-judge bit about how it was too simple to get a properly high-score, but Andy and Jo liked it, so he scored 20.5.
Penny Mordaunt is the Conservative MP for Portsmouth North, just in case you were wondering. (I like to think the show’s costume designers were being deliberately awkward in making a Tory MP wear a bright red costume. The BBC would never have got away with that.) Tom informed us that she was the hardest worker in the group (well, all those citizens won’t drive themselves into abject poverty, etc), and as a result, Penny went for one of the hardest dives ever attempted on the show – a backward dive from the 7.5 metre board (i.e. leaping off backwards and completing a half-rotation in order to hit the water upside down). It was a brave move that didn’t wholly pay off, as she ended up rotating a bit too far and hitting the water at a 45-degree angle. She admitted that it hurt “just a tad”, and Leon criticised her for causing a huge wave, saying he was just about to get his surfboard out. (Note to ITV: make him do this, and TELEVISE IT. I want to see it.) The judges responded to Penny’s pluck, and scored her 22.5.
Our penultimate plummet came courtesy of Dan Osborne, who is apparently one of those people who joined The Only Way Is Essex at some point after I gave up watching it, but you can pretty much imagine he looks like: abs that you could slice potatoes on and covered in crap tattoos. The cameras spent a great deal of time lingering over his torso, and veteran of every single reality show going Danielle Lloyd called him “a show-off”. There was the obligatory tedious “bromance” between Dan and Patrick, which inspired Dan to raise his game and go for a backward somersault (landing in the water feet-first) from the TEN METRE BOARD, while wearing tiny leopardprint trunks. Andy thought it was good but scruffy, and Leon referred to it sneeringly as “an impressive stunt”. (At least, I think he said “stunt”.) Dan got 23.5 from the judges, just edging his way into the lead.
Finally, we had Danielle, who we were informed had to “face her demons” this week, and apparently her demons weren’t just a bunch of people standing poolside shouting “YOU’RE A RACIST!” as she jumped. Danielle wanted to go for a 1½ somersault and went up to the 7.5m board in training, and then it all went horribly wrong during training when she panicked mid-fall and ended up landing on the back of her neck. As a result, she ended up doing a forward pike fall from the 5m board, which: BORING, but I guess it’s understandable. So the recovery from the fall, added to the well-timed deployment of her children in her VT, probably made Danielle seem slightly more sympathetic than perhaps she might normally. She scored 20.0 from the judges, and all the resident divers made sure to remind us all how hard it is to come back from a bad dive. This is true, as anyone who’s ever tried to catch the train back from Dover can attest.
With the competition out of the way, it was time for this week’s time-filling pro dive, which appeared to have the theme of “executive realness”. In other words, the synchronised swimming ladies were in pinstriped costumes, someone was dancing on a desk UNDERWATER, and the men were all diving in red shirts, ties and black trousers. This was all fairly uninteresting until the second or third round, at which point someone had the genius idea to make all these men in soaking wet shirts dive into the pool while clinging on to each other. Now that’s the kind of homoeroticism I want from my Saturday night television. Oh, and it gave Tom a chance to wander around holding a briefcase and looking at his watch, just in case he’s ever called upon to play the White Rabbit in a production of Alice in Wonderland.
After that, the results of the public vote were in, and once again the person at the top of the leaderboard (Dan) went straight through to the semi-finals. Aside from that, it was either a feminist triumph or a really good week for Tories and racists as Patrick and Paul were eliminated straight away, and Penny and Danielle faced each other in The Splash-Off. Unfortunately for Penny, she ended up over-rotating even further second time around and did a full-on belly flop, while Danielle repeated her dull-but-safe dive again to reasonable effect, and ended up getting the judges’ favour over Penny, who was sent home with some funding for a lido or summat, which is apparently all she was here for in the first place.
Next week: AUSTIN WILL BE ROBBED! (Probably. I’m still working out how we can blame this one on Lisa Snowdon.)