29 December 2008 | bob the moo
Poor even by Saturday night standards and Winton is part of the problem
Playing for money for charity (and a chance to stay in the public eye) two teams of three celebrities dress in shiny tight spandex outfits to take part in a contest of physical skill. The game is essentially of human Tetris. Each round sees the work working as individuals or together to stand by a pit of water as a wall with a shape cut in it comes hurtling at them. Either they put their body into the shape required or they find themselves knocked into the pool to the jeers of the audience.
Watching Harry hill's TV Burp as I do at times, I found clips of this show to be unbelievable surely this cannot exist, even on a Saturday night? Well, to find out for myself I managed to catch this show just as it was starting to be put on earlier and earlier in the evening schedule (ie the BBC had given up on it and were floating it out to die quietly somewhere out of sight). And I'm glad I caught it because it is the sort of thing that you would not believe until you see it for yourself. It is as awful as you would think. The idea has no meat on it and essentially it is people trying to fit through gaps which would be OK for a carnival I guess but makes for pretty p1ss-poor television whose only value is an ironic one. The audience seem to have been selected by going wrong cults to find those that can be easily brain washed because they do manage to get excited but otherwise it is a drab affair that has little excitement.
It is quite funny though just not in the way that is intended. It is yet another piece of cruelty television where the entertainment is derived from seeing some fat (Vanessa) not be able to squeeze through the gap or seeing some cheeky innuendo in the shapes required to be thrown by a man and a woman together. For one episode it is perhaps a nonsense that just about distracts, but there are limited shapes and zero variety in the show and I cannot imagine anyone tunes into this regularly. The only weekly change is the celebrities all of whom have had plenty of mean things said about them. Now, before I add my voice to that, let me say a couple of things in their defence: firstly, they are supporting money to charity, which is a good thing and, secondly, these are mostly very low grade celebrities, who are doing little else but shows like this part of the BBC's problem is getting people to come on it. And you can see why. It is degrading from the moment they appear, dressed in absurd outfits that do not need to look so dumb nor be so tight. Then they have to put themselves in undignified poses and potentially end up dunked in water while trying to be excited about the whole thing before returning to their dressing rooms and giving themselves a long hard stare in the mirror. They are all good sports but it is no surprise to find the Cheeky Girls, Vanessa, DJ Spoony and various sports stars turning up. Of equally little surprise is Dale Winton who else presenting. With zero irony and zero presence, his delivery kills whatever might have been made of the show. He takes it too seriously and thinks it is a professional show where really his job is to make sure we all know and are constantly reminded that this is all a bit of silly fun he doesn't do this job and as a result he makes it even dumber.
Hole in the Wall will soon be a memory and soon it will be something that is a cultural reference. Thanks to Harry Hill the random shouting of "Bring on the Wall" is already a catchphrase that gets a chuckle and when a show is a joke to people who have not even seen it then you know you're in the sh1t. Even by Saturday night standards this is a poor show. The lack of variety and decent contestants is a problem but the bigger issue is the fact that it isn't as much silly fun as it should be and the fact it is presented as a "proper" show that we shouldn't just be poking fun at is a problem. Watch it once or twice so you can say you've experienced it for yourself but after that I doubt you'd want to come back to it again.