Because instead of simply doing something hard for the charity, it is rapidly becoming a competition in which one celebrity has to outdo the other, because if the next one ISN’T harder, the viewers will complain, and less money will be raised.
Didn’t we watch with baited breath a few years ago when Ruby Wax risked injury learning to ride and show-jump? Now we aren’t happy until Davina McCall faints, has hypothermia or preferably worse – because many said her challenge wasn’t tough ENOUGH, and many said they enjoyed her collapse!!
How did we get so desensitised? How big is the shock we need to actually donate for charity?
David Walliams suffered bacteria, dangerous friction sores and a back injury that he still suffers from in his attempt to raise cash. Likewise, John Bishop suffered a leg injury and suffered ill health for months after. We have seen Davina collapse, but we are as yet not aware what the long term damage to her will be.
How will the next contender suffer?
The media are desensitised and often report on it matter of factly, ignoring challenges like the ones from Helen Skelton – naming Davina the first woman to do a solo challenge, while Skelton did three and they never report on a non celebrity doing it at all. What does it take for them to talk about it? Well, apparently it’s actual death.
When Susan Taylor announced she was swimming the Channel for charity, no-one cared and the media wasn’t really interested. When she went into the water she had barely raised a couple of thousand Pounds. Once she died just before reaching her goal, she raised more than a Million.
What kind of world do we live in where this is what people need to take note?
I, for one am fed up with it, fed up with seeing people suffer, fed up with paying to make another person go even further next time. Remember when we used to have fun runs? The clue is in the words: FUN RUN. When did it become charity hunger games, not just for celebrities but normal charity workers as well? Who came up with bigger faster and harder? Is that really the only thing that grabs people’s attention?
You can say: “the people who do the challenges choose to do it”. But don’t forget the emotional blackmail. Sport Relief takes them to Africa, shows them the suffering and asks: “What do you want to do to raise money.” At that moment, anything. Then it continues during the challenge: “I can’t stop, I’ll let down the people I saw, the people that donated.” So they go on and on and on.
It is interesting that the majority of the hardest challenges were carried out by people known for suffering from (manic) depression. These people often feel worthless and guilty and doing a challenge like this feels like penance. Something David Walliams once hinted at.
But tell me, what, what can Sport Relief think up after all this that they can train someone to learn quickly? Davina had too little training already: had to run 26miles when only training for 10, she only had one open water swim when taking on the big one.
An Olympian said that Walliams swam with the wrong posture, and that put more pressure on his back then necessary. People that want to emulate them see them going on this little training and think they don’t need any practise. This becomes a vicious circle of danger!!
David Walliams said this week: “It is hard not to think you are going to do something like that without consequences.
I am not a sportsman but athletes get injured too. It is inevitable. (…) You have to top the last one and the last one was very challenging. It is hard to know what I could do and not put myself in physical danger.”
It’s not just Sport Relief that irks me, I have never understood the enjoyment of “Suffering Celeb TV” at all. I’m A Celebrity, The Jump, Splash: what’s the point? And no, celebrities don’t always know what is in store for them. Notice how most say they never really knew what they signed up for. Managements can make it sound a lot more fun than it is, as Sinitta and Alfonso Ribeiro revealed.
Even Big Brother these days goes beyond what is normal. The show has been accused of forgoing mental health checks (for the housemates) and it seems viewers enjoy the mental torture and play it out in the media. Why? As mentioned above, apparently the audience enjoys it, they love laughing at people flipping out. And who cares what happens when they leave?
Celebrity suffering is a big business now, where shows like Strictly and Dancing on Ice were about who danced the best and seemed a fun treat, it now thrives on injury hype.
Is this really what we all want to see? Yes, I love to see the human side of a celeb, but I don’t need their blood. I want to see artists I like do what they are there for: act and write.
There comes a point when others have to raise money for people who became disabled from doing charity challenges.
Remember Audrey Hepburn? She was the face of Unicef and put the charity on the map, while working hard and diligently, but no-one ever needed to see her bleed.
The funny thing is that the people receiving the money never know how it was raised anyway.
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