IF there’s anything more exciting than discovering a character you really love on TV, it’s the excitement of discovering a character you don’t like at all.
For example, a character like Owain Wyn Evans, the drumming Welsh weatherman who, like Jim Royle’s “s**t on a field,” is suddenly everywhere, demanding our attention with a desperation that not even Fred Sirieix or Dr. Ranj can keep up.
This week Owain was mainly doing it on Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof, an ITV show that somehow ended up on BBC1, where it’s hosted in northern Italy by the unlikely combination of Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack, who both had come in costume
She was in “Where’s Wally?” Threads.
He was dressed up as Brian Harvey in East 17’s Stay Another Day video to emphasize the cold.
An effect that Lee rather ruined by removing his coat halfway through FTF
However, the star of the show should always be Dutchman Wim, who’s one of those Uri Geller characters that comes along every decade or so, offering you an unlikely cure for life’s troubles that will cut short all the hard parts, how hard work and not be a fool.
Uri lets you control your mind by bending spoons.
Wim does this by “harnessing the power of cold,” dressing like a member of the Grateful Dead, and spouting the kind of psychobabble that has about as much medicinal significance and intellectual heaviness as the next Gary Barlow album .
If his plums weren’t already shriveled enough, Wim occasionally performs his own b as well*****k crushing version of the splits, just for added emphasis and showmanship.
However, what I like about him is that he has convinced gullible fools around the world to put on the perfect show by jumping into freezing water and then declaring himself magically transformed.
Here, in the lofty backdrop of the Alps, the BBC had gathered eight more of them who appeared to be the ghosts of the austere past, present and future.
Alongside Owain we had: dancer Dianne Buswell, Professor Green, Chelcee Grimes, Tamzin Outhwaite, Gabby Logan, Patrice Evra, all in Swiss Toni mode, and a newly divorced and deeply remorseful Alfie Boe, who arrived in top shape and boasting his own anagram : “OBE”.
No fat celebrities, as you’ll notice, either because of the BBC’s insurance premium caps or because of Wim’s method, which required them to jump through an ice hole into a freezing lake and then dutifully agree, as someone, usually Holly, assured them: “Wim gave you the strength.”
They all pulled off the task with a reasonable lack of fuss.
Except, of course, for Owain, who couldn’t make it without tearfully sharing his inner turmoil, the cruel (standard) setbacks of his childhood that forced him into the limelight, and a theatrical pause before settling into an Emeli Sande outburst rushed: “Some people are afraid of heights, some are afraid of the cold, I’m just … . .”
Afraid of not being famous. Now there’s a good boy. JUMP
Eventually, Wim “gave him the power,” and he did – and while there must have been a temptation to leave Owain down there, they fished him out and then something almost equally unwelcome happened. Wim disappeared.
Wim disappeared. I have no idea where, but he was definitely Hofski – and Freeze The Fear literally fell off a cliff.
Back in the ’80s, when a show ran out of ideas, it turned to people. Now they send her to abseil.
The key difference was that you were far more likely to get killed on a Noel Edmonds show than you were rappelling because if one of them had landed on their heads, I promise you, news of Alfie Boe’s tragic death would have been filtered out and the show would never have been broadcast.
They obviously had to go through the full pretense.
But for all the production gimmicks and faux-drama in the world, there was still another 15 minutes of the show to fill once that “face your fears” filler was over and the celebs had no choice but to trudge back to their quarters.
I say “accommodation”.
It’s actually alpine luxury yurts, with acoustic guitars, sparkling wine and pretty soon afterwards the last thing viewers need to hear in a livelihood/energy crisis: Comparatively rich celebrities enjoying themselves.
As far as poor visuals go, it’s not quite as high when Boris does a No. 10 conga round, but the thing about celebrities having fun on screen is that it always means viewers can’t get off of the screen have.
And I wouldn’t mind if after 30 minutes of being idle there was just one episode of this crap.
But as it turns out, Freeze The Fear is a SIX part series, and I’m now obliged to watch every single one of them.
Wim Hof. give me damn strength
Unexpected idiots in the packaging area
LIGHTNING, Zoe Lyons: “The Chancellor of Germany from 1969 to 1974 was called Willy . . . ?”
Zoe Lyons: “What popular card game shares its name with the Spanish word for number one?”
The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “Which British Prime Minister starred in an episode of The Simpsons in 2003?”
Mikayla: “Winston Churchill.”
Celebrity mastermind Clive Myrie: “Which distant planet was discovered in 1846 and orbits the sun only once every 165 years?”
Sonny Jay: “The moon.”
Rudy is no match for Ant
FOR all the folks who are worried, Keanu Reeves has joined the cast of Channel 4’s SAS: Who Dares Wins, Relax. He hasn’t.
Meet all-American hero Rudy Reyes, a former Marine sniper who was one of the most intriguing interviewees on the seminal 2020 BBC2 series Once Upon A Time In Iraq and would make a great WWE SmackDown host.
However, sending him to the Jordanian desert to replace Ant Middleton as Chief Instructor isn’t the same as getting Al Pacino to play Captain Mainwaring in Dad’s army, but you get the point.
It doesn’t work, no matter how many times the rest of the cast and voiceover remind us of the “special relationship” between Britain and America.
Of course, the bane of central casting has long since ruined the roster of contestants, who now don’t get anywhere near the camera unless they’ve been chosen to bolster a sentry point or are armed to the teeth with sobbing tales .
Long-suffering viewers aside, the people I really feel sorry for here are the two remaining deadpan British SF collaborators Jason “Foxy” Fox and Mark “Billy” Billingham, who still have the power to stem the endless flow of self-pity a heartfelt insult (“absolute f***tard”) or just a desperate “GUARD!” exclamation.
But no sooner had Billy gotten the “energetic” Claire to tuck in a sock on Sunday night than Rudy had snuck up to her and whispered: “I think you’re doing great” – and I was reluctant to join most of them came to the same conclusion a few series ago.
show is over
Random TV irritations
ALL of these bright martyrs trade the lie that, “There wasn’t anyone on TV who looked like me when I was young.”
Reporter Justin Rowlatt in jeans in the BBC 6 O’clock News studio as if he had just been called in from the recomposting of his allotment garden.
The Great Sex Experiment ends with a deeply inappropriate outburst of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
Whichever overpaid ITV git was responsible for changing the Tipping Point format.
And BBC1’s Have I Got News For You failed to direct a single joke or barb in Putin’s direction because London’s bubble tosspots were too busy venting their genuine middle-class hatred of all the usual targets and Wetherspoon pubs judge.
So damn brave of them.
Great sporting insights
MARK WARBURTON: “Right now we don’t know. But if we know, we will know for sure.”
Paul Merson: “Maguire is dependable until it isn’t anymore.”
Neil Warnock: “I can’t single out an outstanding game but Sheffield United vs Forest was something special.”
Compiled by Graham Wray.
Complete Richard Madeley’s link from Monday’s GMB: “As a planet, we are witnessing this extraordinary and widespread act of evil taking place not far from where we are seated. . .”
A) “And Richard Gaisford is in Kyiv.”
B) “And Lorraine will be here at 9 o’clock.”
THE Matchless Winning Era: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (Sky Atlantic).
BBC2’s binge-worthy Muhammad Ali masterpiece.
Ant & Dec’s Ding Dong That’s My Doorbell game on Takeaway.
Lee Mack is refreshingly brutal with retiring 1% Club participants: “I’m a smart meter engineer.” “You’re not anymore.”
And Scarlett Moffatt, easily the smartest and funniest celebrity on BBC2’s Pilgrimage: The Road to the Scottish Isles, defends her faith from the kind of derogatory ridicule that would cause the BBC to blow a righteous fuse when they’re against any other religion than Christianity would judge.
Quiz show contestant of the week
The 1% Club, Attila Annus.
Or, as I’m sure his friends know, Attila the bum
BY THE WAY you know you’re old when you look at totally toned bikini-clad swingers in their 20s like Gabriella on Channel 4’s Open House: The Great Sex Experiment and you’re like, “Why is nobody going to the pool?
“What a waste.”
Doppelganger of the week
This week’s winners are Sarah Ferguson and Chucky from Child’s Play.
Sent in by Paul Burkett of Millwall.
Image research: AMY READING
Great TV lies and delusions of the week
Gogglebox, Pete: “I’d love to meet Alison Hammond. She’s up there with, like, Elton John.”
Pilgrimage: The Road To The Scottish Isles, Shazia Mirza: “If you don’t like comedy and you don’t like to laugh, you won’t recognize me.”
Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, Ben Shephard: “Josh Widdecombe tries hard not to look smug.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5129228/holly-willoughby-bbc-show-wheres-wally/ Why is Holly Willoughby dressing up as Where’s Wally on the new ITV show?