Games review: ITV’s new celebrity sports show lacks fun and games

The Games sees six female stars and six male stars go head-to-head, and inevitably their fears, in a series of sporting challenges including the canoe slalom, 100m hurdles and javelin throw.

And while the actual sport is entertaining enough, you have to fight through an awful lot to get there.

First there’s George Ezra singing, then hosts Holly Willoughby and Andrew Flintoff tell us what happened last night, before the stars – including a Spice Girl’s daughter, Kevin de Strictly de Grimsby and a brother Thomas – are featured.

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From initial productions, THE GAMES begin Monday May 9, 2022 on ITV Pictured: Freddie Flintoff, Holly Willoughby, Chris Kamara and Alex Scott hosted live by Holly Willoughby and Freddie Flintoff, The Games will also see the former professional footballer and presenter as a journalist and former professional football player and presenter Chris Kamara as a commentator. Photographer Nicky Johnston For further information please contact Peter Gray Mob 07831460662/pete[email protected] This photograph is (C)ITV and may only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the PAUL O’GRADY FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS or ITV program. Once made available by ITV Picture Desk, this photograph may only be reproduced once up to the date of transmission and no reproduction costs will be charged. Any subsequent use may incur charges. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full terms and conditions are available at www.itvpictures.com

Once you’ve gone through all of this and an awkward conversation with an expert, you might get a VT of an Emmerdale actor falling off a bike before the first commercial break.

There’s still time for Flintoff’s off-color gags in the studio ‘pod’ and then you might have an event – most of which is recorded making you wonder why show it live when ‘it could have simply been edited into two hour-long shows to launch on a holiday weekend.

For me, the appeal of Superstars was to see athletes who seemed so sure of themselves, so talented in their chosen field, be woefully inadequate in another; if it was Kevin Keegan falling off a bicycle, or Daley Thompson being pushed into oblivion by blonde dynamo Brian Jacks.

With these celebrities, you just feel proud of them for being done. That’s how I felt when I went through five episodes.

These days you can get your DNA tested to see where you came from, a very long time ago. DNA Family Secrets (BBC2, Wednesday, 9 p.m.) it’s just that, plus Stacey Dooley. You don’t have time to invest in people’s stories, and any revelation feels personal rather than universal.

When I was young, just after the Falklands War, a few programs stuck in my malleable mind – The Paras and Royal Marines: Behind the Lines. Commando: Britain’s Ocean Warriors (BBC2, Sunday, 8 p.m.) covers much the same ground, but is fascinating nonetheless.

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