bbcone ‘Tumble’ and the National Centre for Circus Arts
We’re very pleased to be working as circus consultants on the BBC’s new show 'Tumble’ and are providing the aerial training in the lead up to the live shows.
We also have four National Centre graduates working on the show as celebrities’ pro-partners: Kate McWilliam, Billy George, Kat Would and Holly Johnstone (pictured above while students here - photography by Bertil Nilsson).
National Centre teachers Amy Panter and Katharine Arnold are the aerial teachers for the project.
Episode 1 airs at 6.30pm on Saturday 9 August, BBC 1.
As a reward for her help in the last episode, Martha Jones gets a trip in the TARDIS. The Tenth Doctor takes her to 1599 England. After viewing a performance of Shakespeare’s latest play, the time travellers are beset by apparent sorcery. Under threat of annihilation from a species from the Dark Times, the TARDIS team have to establish whether there is a connection between a witch they’ve met and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Won — a play that was legendarily lost to time.
Let’s preface: I’ve never done gymnastics before in my life. I can’t even do a cartwheel. I’m an armchair athlete at best, and at worst a backseat driver of the most annoying kind.
BBC’s Tumble was both a huge let down and the best thing to happen on TV since the Commonwealth Games ended. Perhaps I’m expecting a little too much from a show trying to turn B-list celebrities into capable gymnasts in just eight weeks - but I really hoped to see a few more solo tumbles and fewer supported handstands. Don’t get me wrong: I know gymnastics is hard. I am under absolutely no illusions that anything about the sport is a walk in the park and the celebrities taking the challenge have my utmost respect and admiration from their efforts - but I had hoped to see something a little closer to a typical floor routine, rather than a lot of posing in the air and women being lifted through a cartwheel.
Full Twist on Twitter asked coaches whether they think the show will have a positive impact on the sport, and though I’m just a fan, I have mixed thoughts. I think it’ll definitely raise the profile of the sport as a whole - gymnastics is - in the UK - a very niche, under-represented, under-reported sport and often seen as something girly and less worthy in terms of athletic skill, talent and effort. I think this show will bring gymnastics as a whole to the forefront of people’s minds and show them that it’s not just prancing in a leotard.
On the other hand, I wonder what it will do for artistic gymnastics - easily the most popular and commonly accessible discipline. I wonder if it will send mixed messages with regard to what is actually involved in artistic gymnastics and whether it will put people off the sport when they see it’s not all leaping into a buff man’s arms to pop music, posing in the air and doing a cartwheel supported by a partner. I wonder whether this glamourised version of gymnastics will make people LESS interested in the dirty, painful, difficult, terrifying, exhilarating ride that is ‘real’ artistic gymnastics.
The show was a bit of a trainwreck for me from start to finish - I had some severe secondhand embarrassment less than twenty seconds in. But I loved every second of it and I’ll watch it until they axe it, because it’s gymnastics and that’s the sport I love - in all forms.
Even the bizarre, contemporary pop-music freestyle-dance hybrid ones.