Tom Daley

Tom Daley

Splash has hit the headlines for both the good and bad reasons. While the ratings have been great for the reality show, the critics have been utterly savage with the show, with British diving chiefs criticising Tom Daley for his involvement so much that his mum took it upon herself to strike back.

Despite the show being utterly rubbish and pointless over the last two weeks (don’t hate us Mrs Daley, it’s not his fault at all), it has raked in the eyeballs for ITV. While the show has been criticised for many things, Jo Brand’s on the judging panel for goodness sake, it seems to have been a Saturday night hit with a second week on top of the viewer ratings.

But why has Splash made such an impact? While there’s sure to be a group of people watching the show just to poke fun at it, there will be genuine throng of viewers legitimately tuning in to watch the minor celebrities take the plunge and see Tom Daley once again on their screens.

Last year we explained what continues to make I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here such a ratings smash, and while many of the same rules apply to Splash, it has nowhere near the same levels of malice involved as ITV’s ratings juggernaut.

Instead, this is a fact that these are ready made characters for the air. We don’t need to hear the back-stories to these people’s lives on the show. We already know it from their time off the show. The contestants already have groups of fans supporting them off the back of their private endeavours, something they will always bring to the new pool of viewers.

While we’re more than partial to a bit of Strictly and find ourselves watching X Factor more than we really should, isn’t it time for reality shows that aren’t embracing a skill to slink away into the dark? While we wish the answer was yes, it’s without a doubt a resounding no.

The ratings success, and terribleness, of Celebrity Big Brother once again underlines the ratings grabber that minor celebs doing things apparently continues to be. With I’m A Celebrity becoming ITV’s biggest ratings grabber last year ahead of X Factor, it doesn’t look like TV audiences are going to get a break from the format any time soon.


Splash is on ITV, 7pm on Saturday.

FemaleFirst Cameron Smith