Oh no! All that training and I end up a belly flop

Dom Joly survives snow, a courtesy car, and a glamorous assistant to make a splash in 'Splash!'

I was on the ITV show Splash! last night. If you didn't see it then you should know that it's a TV show with a huge tongue in a large cheesy cheek, in which Tom Daley teaches 15 "celebrities" to dive. After three weeks' training, last night was judgement day. People ask what the most nerve-racking part of diving from the 10m board is. The answer is the 24 hours that you spend beforehand worrying about it.

Television people panic a lot and with a live show they like to have the "talent" corralled as early as possible. If they had their way you'd be brought in and locked in a small caravan at least three days before a show so that they can keep an eye on you. The one thing that being in TV for a while has taught me is to fight call times tooth and nail. I was very badly snowed in on Friday and couldn't get to Southend for my final day's dive training. This totally freaked out the producers, who decided that they would send a 4x4 to fetch me from the Snowmageddon of the Cotswolds and "overnight" me in Luton's finest hotel. I said no, as all that would happen would be that I'd sit in a soulless hotel room and worry about the next night's show. I asked them to pick me up in a 4x4 yesterday morning so that I could spend the evening at home in the bosom of my family/in the village pub drinking away the fear.

So yesterday, the day of the show, I awoke to the sight of a very luxurious car that was very much not a 4x4. I knew this, not because I'm a car expert, but because it was stuck in the snow in my courtyard and the driver was digging himself out with a shovel. After a hair-raising drive to Luton, I eventually arrived and went straight into rehearsals. This meant trying on my tight Lycra costume, selecting a hideous dressing gown and then walking through the shots with a stunt diver actually doing the dive I would be doing later. Obviously, he did a fabulous dive that only made me more nervous. Fortunately, I don't think I was the only one with the jitters. All five contestants in my heat had little trailers lined up next to each other and all I could hear all afternoon was the sound of chemical toilets being flushed …

My wife and kids arrived at five o'clock and were shown to their seats. It felt a bit like giving them tickets to see you fight for your life in the Colosseum. All I wanted to do was not embarrass them too much and to survive my 40mph plummet from the top board. Linda Barker won the dress rehearsal and Donna Air came second. I was booted off – was this what was to come for real? I was in two minds as to what to feel. I'm very competitive and hate to lose, but I'd just seen the schedule for next week. There are only 10 high dive boards in the UK and I appear to live as far away from any of them as is possible. This meant that my next week involved six hours a day in a car and a lot more pain.

Then it was showtime … the moment the title music started I could feel the nerves. I tried to control them but it was like a wave of anxiety punching me repeatedly in the face. Everything went into a bit of a blur. I wasn't really there, in a overgrown convict's outfit and a spangly dressing gown about to hurl myself off a cliff. Then I heard my name being called; people were cheering, a model stepped out of nowhere and took my robe off. I started high-fiving people I didn't know.

I floated across the pontoon towards the diving board as a VT played insinuating that, after a promising start, I had reached an emotional crisis in my short diving career. I was now on top of the 10m board and everyone looked very, very small. Vernon Kay said something to me and then a green light flashed to indicate that I should dive. I forgot everything and hurled myself off the board and smashed down into the water far below, the worst dive I'd done in the entire three weeks of training.

The good news was that my back wasn't broken. I didn't get through to the semi-finals. I was disappointed but my work here was done, and I was off wandering alone down the curious road of show business towards God knows where …

Saturday night turkeys

Splash! has been roundly panned by critics. But if you think it's bad, then you can't have seen these:

Pets Win Prizes, 1990s

Danny Baker and Dale Winton oversaw the chaos as punters and their pets tackled challenges. Gone after three series, dog snooker wasn't as popular as it first sounded.

Ice Warriors, 1998

Dani Behr presented. It didn't make it to a second series.

Celebrity Wrestling, 2005

Two teams of celebrities grappled. It was hiked off ITV's prime-time slot after five miserable weeks.

Don't Scare The Hare, 2011

Swiped off BBC1's Saturday-night schedule before the end of its run, contestants took quiz questions and physical challenges with the bizarre aim of not frightening a giant, robotic hare.

Red Or Black, 2011

Simon Cowell's £15m game-of-chance, fronted by Ant and Dec, failed to match the viewing figures of Britain's Got Talent and I'm a Celebrity...

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before