16 January 2013 7:37 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

As famous faces attempt to best each other on the diving board every Saturday night, we celebrate the noble history of the celebrity contest show

If you had judged ITV's celebrity diving competition Splash! by only the critical reaction, you would have presumed it would sink without trace. However, viewing figures tell a different story: more than five million people watched the launch show live, with many returning for a second dose of pool-based entertainment last weekend.

But then it's not everyday that you get to watch Caprice do a spectacular face plant into a swimming pool in Luton, Eddie the Eagle do a brilliant pike somersault, or Omid Djalili dive triumphantly from the top board. When you look at the history of UK-based competitive celebrity training programmes, it quickly becomes clear that Splash! is by no means the worst offender.

The "teach old celebrities new tricks" format has been »

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