If there’s one thing that TV has taught us, it’s that there’s no limit to how far certain celebrities will go to secure a place in the Great British public affections.
Channel 4’s winter sports contest The Jump provided a prime example last year when The Only Way Is Essex star Joey Essex, a novice skier, saw off rugby player Mike Tindall and heptathlete Louise Hazel to be crowned champion by hurling himself 17.5 metres off an Austrian ski jump.
On Sunday, it returns with an impressive line-up of contestants from the worlds of sport and entertainment, and regular host Davina McCall back on presenting duties. Host Davina talks to TV Times on the unique appeal of the ‘silly’, but seriously competitive C4 winter sports contest...
The Jump is becoming a bit of a go-to January calendar thing...
"Yes, which I really like. We’re doing loads of live stuff this year, and we’ve got a really good mix of people again.”
Although initial reaction to the show was somewhat lukewarm, The Jump is now on its third series, so what’s the appeal?
“It’s really silly. The reason people feel a bit more relaxed and can be a bit silly on it is that it’s not a popularity contest – they don’t have to worry about being voted out. And although a lot of the time in society we frown on ambition, in this programme we celebrate it and actively encourage a bit of healthy competition.”
This year’s series also promises more après-ski action as cameras capture the contestants off the slopes in the house they'll all be sharing. So do you like the look of from this year’s line-up?
“I love the athletes, swimmer Rebecca Adlington, gymnast Beth Tweddle and sprinter Linford Christie from the new intake. They bring another level of competitiveness, and having American actor Dean Cain on is really exciting – an actual Superman! Mark-Francis Vandelli will be a huge hit in our household because we all love Made in Chelsea.”
Your memorable 500-mile Sport Relief challenge of 2014 clearly showed you definitely have a competitive streak herself...
“I am the kind of mother who would wear spikes to a parents’ race on sports day at school. They don’t do them any more because I think mothers like me got so hideously competitive that they banned them.”
Have you been tempted to take to the Austrian slopes while filming the show in the resort of Innsbruck?
“I’m not a massive winter sports fan. I’m so terrified of injuring myself. But I do love watching it and I like the atmosphere.”
What do you think of the natty ski outfits you wear to present the show?
“Oh my God, ski fashion is amazing! For somebody who doesn’t ski, I have the best ski wardrobe. All my friends say to me: ‘I’m going skiing, can I borrow some stuff?’ And I say: ‘Come on over – I’ve got about 17 outfits for you to choose from that have only been worn once!'"
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