Famously Unfit for Sport Relief: decent charity, dire entertainment – review
Famously Unfit for Sport Relief (BBC Two) was a gruelling undertaking for the viewer. It was about 50 minutes too long and almost completely devoid of entertainment. In fact, anyone who managed to get to the end probably deserves to be sponsored themselves.
Now before anyone accuses me of being uncharitable, let me be quite clear: Sport Relief is a fantastic initiative. In order to continue funding sporting opportunities for some of the most vulnerable people in our society, it needs our donations. So I commend Les Dennis, Susannah Constantine, Tameka Empson and Miles Jupp for taking part. As a piece of television, though, this was desperate stuff.
The four celebrities had 10 weeks to prepare for a challenge called Tough Guy, which was an obstacle course involving crawls, rope climbs and lots of mud. It looked tiring, but the fact that thousands of other people, of all shapes, ages and sizes, were also taking part undermined the heavily pushed narrative that this was some kind of Everest for the four celebrities.
First, though, we had to follow each of their journeys from couch potato to, well, slightly less of a couch potato. There is a limit to how long you can watch Les Dennis on an exercise bike before you start to wonder if a re-run of Family Fortunes might be more fun.
Bizarrely, a significant section of the programme focused on Empson’s apparent fear of mud. After much encouragement, she eventually walked through a puddle.
To their credit, the celebrities were excellent with those benefiting from Sport Relief initiatives. Constantine, particularly, struck up a lovely rapport with a girl who had overcome anger problems through boxing. But if you are asking the public to part with their cash, you need to do better than this.