According to Ruby Wax's memoir, she was so appalled by the broadcast cut of this that she left TV completely afterwards. See more »
Could have been interesting but instead is just yet another tired celebrity gimmick in a badly flagging genre
Despite the failure of Celebrity Wrestling and Celebrity Love Island, ITV decided to push ahead with their next Celebrity product in Shark Bait. The premise is that four celebrities (well, three celebrities and some girl that I never seen or heard of from some soap) go to South Africa to learn to dive and then be placed in a cage and lowered into the sea to observe sharks. The fact that this was an one-off programme rather than a series made me think that this might actually be an interesting look at sharks, using the celebrity gimmick as a way of giving greater appeal to essentially a nature programme.
However from the very start it is clear that the focus is on the celebs and everything from the branding and the mean spirit of the show indicates that it just wants to be "I'm a Celebrity Let Me Out of Here". This is a shame because it could have been an interesting show but instead it just becomes a boring series of scenes where the celebrities are frightened and shrieking. The actual cage scenes are engaging but it didn't help that they were edited to the point where nothing is really easily discernible; that they didn't happen until the last 15 minutes and also that the show has to force the mood music to raise the tension. Sadly the 45 minutes up till these scenes are pretty boring and it would have taken a lot more than Hollywood style lighting and posing to make me care as much as the show wants the instructors to be mean and imposing like the judges on Pop Idols etc, they really aren't any such thing.
The show never looks at the fact that many experts now attribute cage diving with causing an increase in the number of shark attacks on humans and I would join many critics by saying that the show is rather tasteless in the way it totally ignores this issue. By the end of the show, I must admit I was rather bored the programme had played its "people in a cage" card without any real interest and it had nothing else to offer barely enough to fill 15 minutes never mind 60. The gimmick of the glass cage that ITV had hoped would be the cruel side doesn't seem to phase the diver at all and, even more annoyingly for the ITV execs, didn't actually draw a shark closer than 30 meters or so. The celebs themselves are fairly boring. Grant gushes a bit much; Wax has a few funny bitchy moments but otherwise just screams "oh my God" a lot. Jackson is natural and likable but the only times Nuttall makes an impression is when she finally gets to be filmed in her bikini a moment where her only talents get to shine. However Nuttall is the subject of the funniest moment of the 60; when she asks Wax to analyse her in the same way she has the others, Wax simply says "there's not much to analyse".
Overall another boring and pointless celebrity show from the sheep in the ITV commissioning department. This had the potential to use the "Celebrity" brand to draw the audience into something much more interesting but it totally fails to do so, instead just diving to the cruel common denominator and ending up being yet another pointless and vacuous entry in a genre that even the ready meal crowd have been turning off of late.
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