Susan Morrison: Half-kent ‘stars’ can take a running jump

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Presumably to remind us that the Winter Olympics are on, there was a programme on TV called The Jump, which featured a bunch of people who are/were/could be famous learning how to do a ski jump.

Now, to my reckoning, and I am no expert at this having lost interest in the winter shenanigans the minute Torvill and Dean left the ice, a ski jump is a fairly dangerous thing, but it is over in five seconds.

This leaves quite a lot of time to fill, which the makers of the programme duly do by showing the celebrities training and crying and telling the camera that they are doing this to prove they can, for their mum, for the fun of it, and not for the real reason, which is to get back on camera at any cost, even if that means running the risk of life-changing injury.

The Jump is the icy cousin of Splash!, where a similar group of “who’s that again?” faces learn how to jump off a high diving board into water. The Jump has the edge over Splash!. The contestants on the slope are clothed. I’ve only seen photos, but there are some people who should decline Speedos with a firm shake of the head.

I’m getting old, so I usually don’t know who these people are. There’s usually someone from Essex, which has apparently become a giant reality television show, filled with orange coloured people and girls wearing someone else’s hair. There’s usually a survivor of The X Factor, and increasingly they flavour the mix with deranged politicians – usually Tories, I note – who seem to think we’ll like them when we see that they really are just people after all.

No, actually, we don’t. In fact, the horrifying realisation that some form of human intellect could be trapped inside Ann Widdecombe and Edwina Currie makes me weep. Why should we suddenly take an interest in Britain’s chances in the going-very-quickly-then-launch-yourself-into-space championships just because we saw the guy who used to play the electrician on Brookside do it?

In fact, why should we take an interest in anything featuring some grinning, half-remembered face who once sold the rights to their third wedding to HelloChatOk magazine?

Perhaps we should harness the power of the D-list celeb for good. Let’s have Celebrity Home Visit, where Samantha from TOWIE dons a blue overall and belts around the bedridden pensioners of, say, Falkirk, changing sheets, heating dinners and giving bed baths – and all in under 15 minutes per visit. It’s got it all, folks – speed, pathos and someone’s granny.

I’ve a bone to pick with the skeleton and luge nonsense

Quite a lot of winter sports are a bit baffling, to be honest. There’s one called the luge, pictured, which appears to consist of lying flat on your back on a tin tea tray whilst hurtling down a very large hill.

Then there’s the skeleton, which is the same as luge, but lying on your tummy going downhill very fast on a very little board.

Or there’s Nordic combined, which is considered the toughest winter Olympic sport. Contestants have to ski cross country, hurtle down a ski slope, and then solve a killing on a bridge whilst wearing a Faroe knit jumper. Murder.

Brunel’s reputation takes battering

Celebrity sprinkle seems to go a long way. For that matter, so does celebrity blame.

During a radio phone-in about the terrible storms that have torn the coast of Cornwall apart and left a section of rail hanging in the air, a caller, clearly deranged and spitting fury, bellowed at the bemused the presenter that the whole thing was the fault of engineering colossus Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel, thundered the waterlogged caller, had sold Cornwall short by building his railway along the coast, instead of the more expensive route over Dartmoor.

Brunel died in 1859. I don’t know if the caller is correct or not, but who among us cannot admire a grudge held 154 years?

Telly vision is worth a look

A couple of weeks ago I wondered what had happened to the good old public information film, where the public (that’s us) were regularly terrified by civil servants into behaving.

A kind person got in touch to tell me that the government had also commissioned films to show off bits of Britain, and to look for Telly Savalas and a promotional film that was made for – wait for it – Aberdeen.

No word of a lie, Telly heaps praise on the Granite City over footage of 1970s Aberdeen – one favourite line is “A city by the sea is always a bonus for me”.

Please, look it up online – “Telly Savalas Looks At Aberdeen”.

By the way, he only looked at it. He didn’t actually go there.