Ice queen Dav­ina McCall over­sees the most dull fight to the death since Hunger Games Part XXI

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In The Jump (Sun­day, Chan­nel 4) Dav­ina McCall over­sees the jet­ti­son­ing of ex­cess celebri­ties from an Aus­trian moun­tain. It has come to this. We have so many sur­plus fa­mous peo­ple that we must now cast them from cliffs at great ex­pense to the tax­payer.

“But wait,” says a wise pro­ducer. “Let’s put cam­eras on their heads and have Dav­ina McCall in­ter­view their quiv­er­ing bod­ies be­fore and af­ter­wards.”

Three sea­sons in, we know the drill. McCall wears mit­tens, for she has con­tracted “baby hand syn­drome” (editor’s note: this is not a real ill­ness). She also wears cam­ou­flage-print ski gear. This is use­less in the snow, but is per­fectly suited to sneak­ing up on peo­ple in the quiet wet English coun­try side, which is Dav­ina’s hobby when she is not on tele­vi­sion. All in all, she is ter­ri­ble to be­hold.

Luck­ily there are other peo­ple in Dav­ina McCall’s moun­tain­side court. There’s an oom­pah band in leder­ho­sen (the band of the damned) and there is the mayor of the town of Küh­tai (se­ri­ously) who prostates him­self be­fore Dav­ina McCall so she will spare the lives of the con­quered towns­folk. There is also Ed­die the Ea­gle Ed­wards who, his spirit bro­ken, will do an “ea­gle dance” and make a strange caw­ing sound when in­structed to by Dav­ina McCall. She laughs with de­light. But who are the con­tes­tants, drink­ing mulled wine and guf­faw­ing while dressed like de­mented tod­dlers in multi-coloured one­sies?

There’s Sid Owen, aka Rick­aaaay from Easten­ders. He is wear­ing a furry black waistcoat and green flu­o­res­cent tights.

He looks like a camp ver­sion of Ghengis Khan (from a Ghengis Khan mu­si­cal maybe – Ghengis, Yes I Khan). He grins charm­ingly be­fore the min­ions of McCall pro­pel him at speed through an iced metal tube. “Arg” from The Only Way is

Es­sex is a large, like­able Es­sex Moomin in tight pants. “Arg” is an ab­bre­vi­a­tion of his ac­tual name, which is “Argh!” – the word ut­tered by the mid­wife at the mo­ment of his birth. “Argh!” says Arg with de­light while be­ing flung through the snowy air at a large in­flat­able mat­tress.

Mother Na­ture is cruel

Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud is here too. Girls Aloud, you may re­mem­ber, was the nest from which Ch­eryl Tweedy/Cole/ Fer­nan­dez-Versini (she has many names) hatched. Ac­cord­ing to the laws of na­ture, Harding, like the other Girls Aloud, should have been killed and eaten by the fledg­ling Ch­eryl in or­der to sus­tain her through that first tough win­ter (Mother Na­ture is cruel). Harding sur­vived this. And now Dav­ina McCall is go­ing to throw her off a moun­tain.

Tina Hob­ley from Holby City, af­ter which she is mis­spelled, makes growl­ing sounds when be­ing slung along an ice slide on a tray. Her arch en­emy is Ta­mara Beck­with, who is, she tells us, “a girl about town”. There are cave paint­ings fea­tur­ing Ta­mara Beck­with be­ing “a girl about town”. She must have a por­trait in the at­tic. Right be­hind a mas­sive in­dus­trial box of Bo­tox. McCall will throw the box, the por­trait and Beck­with from the moun­tain be­fore she’s done.

Speak­ing of Os­car Wilde, Mark Fran­cis from Made in

Chelsea does a good im­pres­sion of some­one who pre­tends to be Os­car Wilde at par­ties. He can do al­most ev­ery­thing Os­car Wilde can do. He can raise an eye­brow, hold a wine glass in a non­cha­lant man­ner and laugh dis­mis­sively, all be­fore be­ing fired at 90 miles an hour through a tun­nel of ice. Just like Os­car Wilde.

Dean Cain once played Su­per­man on telly but the an­nouncer doesn’t un­der­stand the con­cept of fic­tion. “Is this go­ing to be his kryp­tonite?” he asks as Cain plum­mets down a death slide.

“He’s not re­ally Su­per­man!” I shout at the tele­vi­sion.

“Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Dean Cain,” says the an­nouncer as Dean Cain is thrown across the night sky.

“He’s not re­ally Su­per­man!” I shout at the tele­vi­sion.

Re­becca Adling­ton, Lin­ford Christie and Beth Twed­dle are all ac­tual cham­pi­ons of swim­ming pool, track and gym­na­sium. But they feel empty in­side. They feel empty in­side be­cause they have not been made feel fear by Dav­ina McCall and her Chan­nel 4 goons in the Aus­trian ice. This will change. In­deed, Re­becca Adling­ton is soon in an am­bu­lance, cry­ing (she dis­lo­cated her shoul­der). McCall sym­pa­thises “SKREEE!” she says sooth­ingly, flap­ping her ptero­dactyl wings.

There’s no “I” in team. And once there was no “I” in Bryan McFadden, but when the enchanted Playmobil man es­caped from the clutches of Westlife in or­der to be­come a real boy, he changed his name to Brian.

So now there is an “I” in Brian McFadden and he can recog­nise him­self in mir­rors and do all the other things as­so­ci­ated with the higher apes. He has, as he once dreamed, achieved self-aware­ness. Just in time for Dav­ina McCall to fling him scream­ing through the snow.

Sur­vival of the iBrian

iBrian sur­vives his or­deal (this time). In this episode, it is al­lit­er­a­tive Louisa Lyt­ton from Easten­ders who is the worst at hurtling through the ice and so she is ejected from the pro­gramme.

“[That was] the most ter­ri­fy­ing two weeks of my life,” she says. Off screen, McCall opens her wings and pre­pares to con­sume her soul.

It’s all strangely un­sat­is­fy­ing. I en­joy watch­ing Dav­ina McCall pun­ish­ing celebri­ties as much as the next atom­ised in­di­vid­u­al­ist, but The Jump is very, very bor­ing. In Strictly Come Danc

ing, if a guest isn’t a good dancer they com­pen­sate by tak­ing a comedic ap­proach or hav­ing a per­son­al­ity. Tak­ing a comedic ap­proach or hav­ing a per­son­al­ity while en­gaged in win­ter sports could end in sev­ered limbs or a big “Argh!” sized hole in the side of a ski-jump.

In­stead we just get peo­ple we vaguely (very vaguely) recog­nise earnestly do­ing things at which they are in­ept, as Dav­ina McCall watches them hun­grily from her icy perch.

And yes, we all know where it’s head­ing, that fi­nal episode where McCall crouches in the snow, ri­fling through celebrity corpses for their trin­kets and gold be­fore tak­ing to the air, a sheep in her mouth, and re­turn­ing to her lair in Fire Moun­tain. It’s all so drea­rily pre­dictable.

We get peo­ple we vaguely recog­nise earnestly do­ing things at which they are in­ept, as Dav­ina McCall watches them hun­grily from her icy perch

Br­rrrrrr! Dav­ina McCall

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