In a series of physical games and contests, two teams of celebrities are honed and trained by two former American wrestlers to produce two teams who will compete for the grand title at the ... See full summary »
In a series of physical games and contests, two teams of celebrities are honed and trained by two former American wrestlers to produce two teams who will compete for the grand title at the end of the series. With an overexcited host announcing each event and each celebrity (by their new "wrestling" names) the celebrities go head to head with their opposite number from the other team in front of an arena of baying fans to win. Written by
bob the moo
Silly trash that appeals to the most basic requirements of the Saturday evening light entertainment audience
In a series of physical games and contests, two teams of celebrities are honed and trained by two former American wrestlers to produce two teams who will compete for the grand title at the end of the series. With an overexcited host announcing each event and each celebrity (by their new "wrestling" names) the celebrities go head to head with their opposite number from the other team in front of an arena of baying fans to win.
I was having a quiet Saturday evening in before an early flight the next morning when I started watching this latest addition to the braindead provisions on Saturday primetime. Like a car wreck I was transfixed and couldn't look away because, simply put, it was like Gladiators had never happened; because essentially that is all that this show is just a celebrity version of the hammy, OTT show that saw physical contests between normal people and the Gladiators of the title. Here we have the same elements with the twist being that the famous people fight one another in a series of games that stop short of ever just being a basic fight. On one level this appears to work really well all the people in the crowd seem to love it, cheering on the celebs and I can imagine that front rooms round the country are full of families eating ready meals in front of the TV, cheering as if this was the most important event in the world which, to them, I suppose it is.
But here's my problem with it it is silly, fake, inane and practically offensive to my intelligence (ok maybe I should have said "problems). First off, I'll get into sporting events as well as the next man I get emotionally involved in competition but the cheering and banner waving required by this show is fake from the very start. The characters are introduced by the host in a typically OTT American wrestling fashion that is so un-British but yet they all buy into it waving banners that they have made despite never having seen the show or attended the event. This is backed up by the posturing that is required for the cameras so all the celebs ham it up and shout at one another like WWE wrestlers; only problem is that some of them know it is silly and cannot convincingly do it the women in particular seem to struggle and have said in the tabloids that they love one another really. With the participants thinking it is silly, I cannot help but feel it was a big ask to require me to care either.
The events themselves are like scaled down games from Gladiators they provide energy and noise and let the crowd whop and holler their little lives away but they don't really count as exciting. To counter this we have the posturing and shouting (fake emotion) but we also have a more basic message "look fellas, sexy celebs fighting each other on the floor". It is a wonder that ITV have not just come out and said "look, it's a catfight and it is worth seeing because the girls might kiss" they won't of course but the sexual element of women wrestling is not lost on the producers and the target audience of council estate families eating oven food with their kids. Hence we have one event that sees the celebs dressed in clothes at the start and the winner is the one that rips the other's outfit off first; also the female contestants have been quick to pose for tabloids and men's magazines in very little clothes striking mock fighting and faux-lesbian poses. Trust me when I tell you that the show knows just what it is doing with this and it is a shame that it is actually so silly that it is impossible to find sexy in any way.
The celebs all try to get into it but they are all C-list or below and the whole thing smells a bit of desperation. I'm sure they have fun doing it (the men in particular seem to find it easy to be competitive over nothing) but I never really cared once and it is plain that many of them need the cash or, more likely, the exposure. The girls are mostly pretty and the men are mostly macho and posturing but they are all asked to play characters that were done to death in Gladiators years ago and some of them just struggle to take it seriously. The American host is annoyingly over the top, injecting noise and slogans in the hope that these will replace excitement or interest they don't.
Overall this is yet another tired celeb show from ITV. Taking the Gladiators formula and twisting it, the result is a rather seedy and desperate affair that failed to make me care one hoot about the silly contests and seemed to fall back on noise and staged conflict to keep the audience interested, while playing the sexual card for all it is worth. This show is just yet another example of why I gave up on Saturday night "light entertainment" shows many years ago. Is this what TV producers think I want? Is this what they think I will accept as my "entertainment"? It is sad but apparently they do. What is sadder is that millions of ITV viewers accept this drivel as worthy of their time.
Edit: When I wrote this review CW was a couple of episodes into the series. Since it lost 4 million viewers between the first episode and the second, ITV decided it wasn't up to competing with Dr Who and have moved it to a more suitable slot. When? Telling it will finish on Sunday morning surrounded by children's programmes - truly the only age group left watching this dross.
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