Here’s a question: if it takes years of dedication and hours of practice to become decent at a particular activity or sport, why do we believe that a celebrity can become good at it in just 12 weeks? I mean, I know Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become really good. But we don’t need celebrities to be really good. And in any case, we only need to fill 12 hours of primetime, with perhaps a few more for a results show.
Look – I’ll admit it – Strictly can be a bit of a guilty pleasure. But over 12 weeks, a group of celebrities can get to a reasonable standard with hard work and a professional dance partner making them look good. At least as long as you know nothing about dance.
I’m pretty certain that’s not the case for Ice Skating. Hence the level reached by the end of the ITV show seems to be not dissimilar to some of the better kids on the local ice-rink. And if nothing else, after an episode of Splash, we realised that Tom Daley et al, must do an awful lot of work.
Today comes news that celebrity gymnastics is next up. A sport who’s contestants peak in their early to mid-twenties, and most of who’s participants have been practising since they were 6 or 7. We’re told that Let’s Get Ready to Tumble is just a working title. What could possibly go wrong with that?
But I don’t think we’re pushing the bar high enough for our Saturday night entertainment. Yes Helen Skelton has done some pretty remarkable stuff over the years for Blue Peter and Sports Relief. But she’s an exception. So let me humbly suggest a few more formats that might really test breakfast TV presenters, TV chefs, and ex-cast members of Hollyoaks:
Strictly Scalpels – Week by week contestants learn surgery, with the Christmas finale peaking with a heart transplant!
It Is Rocket Science – A bit like a celebrity version of Scrapheap Challenge. We put an Eastenders cast member into space!
Tuuuuune! – Competitive piano tuning!
‘Appening Live – Contestants build mobile apps. Early weeks concentrate on wireframes and UX before the coding really begins (it’ll be better than that App episode of The Apprentice).
The Great British Take Off – Celebrity contestants design and build the next passenger aircraft. Viewers can enter via a premium text for a lottery to fly on the maiden voyage.
Changing Homes – Two teams of celebrities build childrens’ homes, but the twist is that they have to design the buildings themselves, with no professional help! How hard can it be to be an architect anyway?
I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Down From Here – Contestants takeover London Air Traffic Control as they attempt to land planeloads of other celebrities. With hilarious consequences!
Feel free to drop me a comment if you’d like to licence one of these great formats!