Celebrity Tea Tray Sliding is great. It’s easy to sniff, but finally our television has made something worthy of the new millennium. We came close with Take Me Out; we were so nearly there with Don’t Scare The Hare. Close, but not quite perfect.
Now we have it. The Jump. Fans of Rita, Sue and Bob Too might recall the word “jump” meaning a different thing, and it’s easy to think that the career prospects of the slippy-slidey celeb no-marks had been fucked in the back of a Ford Cortina by this pile of flaccid, feeble slop, bearing as much resemblance to the Olympic ideals as the Little Chef Olympic breakfast.
Yes yes, of course. It’s a trashy, garish, tedious, self-loving glans waved in your face once a night. The sickly colour palette means even the most svelte of contestants to weeble around the set like plump Quality Streets, while host Davina, who makes a living from being fit-as-a-butcher’s-dog fit, is allowed the luxury of slimming black. It’s a sickly, mucky mess of Dolly Mixture awfulness sprayed over your front doorstep.
And yet, and yet… you get to see Marcus Brigstocke injure himself on television.
Sure, it used to happen. I remember when Lennie Bennett had his teeth smashed out playing pro-celebrity cricket (oh yes, that was very much A Thing) in the early 1980s; it was a TV Gold moment to rival the Space Shuttle blowing up. “Did you see Lennie Bennett get his teeth smashed in?” Good times.
Time was when dangerous stunts were ruled out for taste and decency concerns – to so-called post-Edmonds era, remembering when his programme shattered a man’s pelvis live on Saturday teatime (with bonus appalled John Peel commentary) and then rather more sombrely killed a man. It couldn’t happen again. It would never.
It’s happening again. We sit there gawping, awaiting the crunch of Sinitta’s splintered limbs.
It’s wrong. It’s awful. It’s despicable. We’re despicable. But we made it happen. We created Celebrity Tea Tray. We made the Jump happen. We created the jeopardy of someone going down what appears to be a child’s slide, but which in all likelihood could rip their head off. When it happens, we’ll just reach for the remote, pause and rewind. It’s what we’ve become. Lap it up.