TV preview: Splash!

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You can run but you can’t hide from celebrity-based talent shows during the first few weeks of 2014.

On Sunday, the last-ever series of Dancing on Ice begins, with a mixed bag of competitors from previous years taking to the rink for one final time.

But before that comes the second dose of Splash! For those who didn’t catch it first time around, this is a delightfully cheesy show in which famous faces learn how to dive, then attempt to impress judges Jo Brand, Andy Banks and Leon Taylor by leaping into an Olympic-size pool.

Last year, the show grabbed headlines, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Some critics sneered at its unashamedly populist approach, but the millions who tuned in can’t all be wrong, can they?

Tom Daley, the Olympic bronze medallist who acts as the celebs’ coach, thinks not. He told Jonathan Ross during a recent appearance on his show: “People had mixed opinions about it, but I had so much fun... It took off, the ratings spoke for themselves.”

ITV certainly couldn’t wait to bring it back, and one person who will definitely be tuning in himself is Jonathan, if only to see his brother Paul, in action.

“He’s doing really well,” says Tom. “He’s working on something a little special.”

You can bet that Tom will receive an awful lot of attention this time around.

He’s long harboured a dream of becoming a TV presenter, perhaps full time when he retires from competitive diving, so Splash! has provided him with the perfect springboard (ahem!) for a future career.

But he recently hit the headlines after revealing he was in a relationship with a man. Such a thing shouldn’t even raise an eyebrow in the 21st century, but in Tom’s case, it’s hit the headlines across the globe.

So far, the media attention (something he’s been accustomed to from a young age) doesn’t seem to have affected him. In fact, he’s been thrilled by the support he’s received from the press and public, and far from being distracted from his sport, he remains as focused as ever.

“My dream is to get an Olympic gold medal and I hope Rio 2016 will be my chance to do that,” he told Jonathan. “London 2012 was an amazing experience and so was Beijing, but as a diver you normally peak between 22 and 24, and I’ll be 22 in Rio.

“I’m training full time now and it’s always tough the first year after the Olympics.”

SPLASH!, ITV, Saturday 7.20PM

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