Grace Dent on TV: Splash! ITV1
Mr Selfridge, ITV1

Minor celebs hit the swimming pool like baby hippos launching themselves into tapioca

After watching, by no free will of my own, the trailer for ITV1's Mr Selfridge in the ball-park region of 600-1,000 times, I was inexplicably drawn to watch last Sunday. It had been a startling weekend for ITV1 thus far. Splash! – the show where Omid Djalili belly-flops from 10 metres into a municipal swimming baths after a 12-minute build up by Vernon Kay clad in Gap shorts and deck shoes – had been visual nectar. Twitter was alive with glee at the awfulness of Splash! And some mistake that glee for failure, which it wasn't. Splash! relies on the limitless fun of watching minor celebs hitting a swimming pool with the sleek dexterity of a baby hippo launching itself into a vat of tapioca pudding. Splash! relies on the exquisite joy of shouting at diving mentor and Olympian Tom Daley, each time his face fills the screen polishing the TV turd.

Oi, mate, shouldn't you be training for Rio? There are Chinese four-year-olds, right now, doing double-backwards-quadruple-flip somersaults into Beijing pools, while you fanny about in a headset.

Splash! relies on the terrifying jeopardy that someone might catch a verucca or even approach the vending machines in the spectator area post-dive to find it free of KP prawn cocktail Skips.

In all seriousness, Splash! is jovial, harmless family fun and anyone – regardless of intellect or snootiness – who finds themselves trapped in a "family environment" on a Saturday evening welcomes something daft and unchallenging one can watch with children, gran or mother-in-law. I do not have children, but am frequently left with them by chums who drop them at my house mumbling: "A few hours? They do love you," only for me then to hear a terrific revving of car engines, loud cackling and Marlboro lights being lit up as they race to sniff freedom, a pub environment and human contact for the first time in 100 days. It's then that I realise shows like Splash! or Total Wipeout are a godsend. Unlike that BBC3 "funniest moments" show I left playing in front of a seven-year-old the other day and quickly had to answer: "Grace, what is a pregnancy test? And why is that man showing his willie to the crowd? And what are pubes?'"There are no pubes in Splash!, largely, as Daley has yet to grow any.

So by Sunday, it was time for Mr Selfridge. And I'll admit I was already wholly sick, just from the trailer, of Selfridge's smug expression, bumptious manner and jaunty gait as he circumnavigated the store, doing "behold, this will blow your frickin' MIND" hand gestures at displays of socks. Just socks Selfridge, mind, not Jesus's face in a sock. Not a sock made of gold which you conjured from base metals having freshly unveiled the secret of alchemy. Socks. However, I stuck with episode one.

To recap – as far as I can make out - Mr Selfridge is an American with hearing difficulties largely brought on through his own natural speaking volume which is booming and theatrical, a bit like a jumbo jet leaving JFK. He has the makings of an excellent Mr Men character called something like "Mr Jazzhands" which would be the tale of a poor soul who doesn't realise he's the only one in Mr Men town who speaks like a cross between Gene Kelly and the town crier. Selfridge spends his days wandering the store delivering bon mots to the assistants in the terrifying manner people do in a long musical when one thinks, "oh shit, they're going to sing again". And sometimes – beware – there are songs.

Episode one centred around Selfridge worrying whether he'd be able to finance his store. Would it exist? Having just returned from his store that day where I'd been in the ground-floor beautician section being sprayed tikka colour and having my talons done, I could already confirm – spoiler alert – the shop bloody exists.

His other job, aside from storekeeping, is womanising, which is always endearing. In fact building a whole show around a bloke cheating on his wife by trying to bang everything that moves from Marble Arch to Holborn is a good idea, up there with making prime-time telly around Caprice and Jenny Falconer pulling a damp costume out of their bums.

Women find Mr Selfridge's looks and chat powerfully intoxicating. He has that "magic dick syndrome" that Phil Mitchell from Eastenders is spokesperson for. Any woman within 10 metres winds up in love. Selfridge uses his influence to perform amazing feats like encouraging women to recite all the items for sale on every floor like parrots, and to sashay everywhere in catwalk style and not mind when he bursts into their dressing room half-clad as, hey, "it's Mr Selfridge". I'll watch again tomorrow, mainly out of curiosity.

Grace’s marmalade dropper

Tyra Banks on America's Next Top Model dropping the hip new fashion phrase "fan dabi dozi!"

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all