Rather like Andre Previn’s piano playing in that memorable Morecambe and Wise Show, Sky1’s Showboaters has got all the right ingredients. I’m just not sure we’re getting them in the right order.
Last night’s debut for the talent show on a cruise ship – Thomson Dream, sailing in the Caribbean – had the contestants at each other’s throats before the audience had been given the chance to get to know them and, vitally, decide which ones we are going to love and who we’ll hate.
Viewers saw nothing of an audition process which had apparently selected the lucky 10 from thousands of applicants. There were insights into a few characters, but others remain a mystery for now.
There’s geriatric Gilly, who claims to have the mind of a 21-year-old in the body of a 65-year-old (no offence, but that would be more attractive the other way round, don’t you think?) who found it all too much and was ready to give it all up until the other four members of her team gave her a pep talk in order to save their own hopes.
Geordie “steelworker” Ross was given a chance to demonstrate his grim life back home (working with aluminium) and down-to-earth Emma from Essex showed promise but left her light hiding somewhere. Under a bushel, or maybe the bushes?
Two characters did provide drama queen potential, especially for claws-out, eye-scratching, handbag-slapping bitch-fests. If it came to a battle for the lifeboats, this pair would be too busy scrapping to think about putting on their lifejackets.
Camp Karl has slimmed down from 22 stones to get this far, but he was throwing his weight about last night in the direction of catty Claudia, a stage-school wannabe who has everything it takes to become a star … except likeability.
If there had been a prize for the shiniest lips she would have had them all licked, but she wasn’t making any friends last night. It remains to be seen whether the judges – who look like grizzled left-overs from New Faces rather than the latest series of X-Factor – will be impressed, but for the sake of the series both Karl and Claudia look likely to be around for a few weeks yet.
Showboaters debuted on Sky1 last night and continues for another seven weeks. The eventual winner gets a part in the entertainment team on board cruise ship Thomson Dream.