As a huge Great British Bake Off fan, I was pleased to have it back on my screen last week in the guise of a celebrity special. The Great Comic Relief Bake Off was on for just four nights (why was it on so early in the year? Red Nose Day is ages away. I haven’t even seen red noses for sale yet. Have you? Maybe I just need to get out more) but I can only imagine this short run was due to the low number of celebs willing to participate in a baking show for no pay (along with Mery Berry and Paul Hollywood) because along with a few well known comedians (Ed Byrne, Bob Mortimer and Jo Brand) there were two birds I’ve never heard of who are supposedly a comedy double act. Ingrid something, and someone else. I looked at one on twitter; she had fewer than 3,000 followers – fewer than us here at Cows so we must be more famous.
But of course, you can’t have a celebrity show (or any show) without a few Olympians, can you? They’re bleeding everywhere. They’re on Alan Carr, they’re on 8 Out of 10 Cats (probably), they’re on adverts – as I type this I’ve got the delightful Jess Ennis staring back at me from an ad for Pru medical insurance of all things. Then you’ve got the fantastically hideous Splash! with Tom Daley. Which I’ll go into later.
The worst is when they’re on a comedy panel show. Olympic athletes are not comedians. They are not funny; they are not paid to be funny. Their job is to run fast, jump, swim, and generally be awesome at sports. You wouldn’t catch John Richardson or the bald fat one from Mock the Week competing in the 800m, so why would they put a non-funny person on a panel show?
It was a bit like when Gabby Logan was on the Big Fat Quiz of the Year at the end of 2012. Now, I love the Gabster; she’s great on Final Score, she knows her stuff and is reprazentin’ the laydeez in a predominantly male field, and does it well. But, she’s not known for her gags so I want to know who thought she would be good paired up with Richard Ayoade. I felt bad for her; this cringingly bad mismatch wasn’t her fault, and she wasn’t to blame for when his bizarre jokes – normally hi-larious when he’s paired up with Noel Fielding – fell flat. She’s not paid to be funny; she is paid to keep us updated with who’s winning out of Crystal Palace and Burnley.
So I always feel a bit bad when athletes appear on these shows. You kind of feel like you have to feign a laugh when they make a joke, so to not make out like you hate our Olympians.
Yet I think if I was to admit this and say that I was getting a little bit fed up with the bleeding bunch being on every TV show and in all the magazines morning, noon and night, I’d be taken away, bundled in a blanket with a bag over my head and shipped to an island somewhere. For nobody can insult our Olympians. They have overtaken army veterans as the UK’s favourite people ever in the world ever. But if I think if I hear the words ‘positive role model’ once more I think I’ll take my chances on the island.
I’m sure when people sign a contract to work the BBC there must be a number of rules to obey in case you meet an Olympic athlete: you must never make them look foolish; you must constantly tell them they are fantastic; and if it comes down to it, you must sacrifice yourself and your entire family for them. Especially if they are good looking. Because they are better people than you and me.
Mel Giedroyc (Sue wasn’t around for some reason) was a perfect example of this on the aforementioned GCRBO. While she made fun of the other contestants, she patronised and fawned over the athletes. She even wore their gold medals just to remind the public that these people had in fact won a GOLD MEDAL. At the Olympics! Which was in London! Did you see it? Two medals, in the case of Ellie Simmons. Ellie Simmons even won her round, despite her soldier cake being shit. Yeah, I said it. Bob Mortimer was robbed. She could’ve served up a lump of shit covered in icing and she’d still have won. Cynics among us may also imply that the BBC’s famous positive discrimination agenda came into play slightly here too.
The other athlete, Helen Glover, one of them rowers, did not win, but Mel still had to give her a big round of applause anyway just for being bloody wonderful. When will it all end? The Olympics was seven months ago but we see these people in the media even more than we did when the Olympics was actually on! When will Britain let go?
Don’t people realise these athletes are now just as much ‘celebs’ as the ones that are berated for being fame hungry and bad role models? Louis Smith can’t even do any gymnastics in 2013 because all the celebrity fannying around he’s been doing. If we want to look up to them as sporting heroes, then let’s do just that! I wonder if a future generation will start to know Louis more for Strictly Come Dancing and his Subway adverts.
Let Tom Daley just be a diver. He only won a bronze medal, and he’s got a celebrity diving based TV show. I love Tom, and as hilariously bad as the show is maybe he should be working on being the best diver he can be, and getting the gold next time, before he and all our athletes turn into national jokes rather than heroes.