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Celebrities set to make a Splash! in new series of ITV diving show

Splash! returns to ITV on Saturday, January 4 at 7.20pm. Photo: ITV

The first set of celebrities to appear on the new series of ITV's Splash! have been confirmed ahead of the return of Tom Daley's diving show.

The first show of the series will feature TV presenter Michaela Strachan, Hollyoaks star Gemma Merna, TOWIE’s Gemma Collins, Diversity dancer Perri Kiely and former Eastenders actor Ricky Groves.

Olympic diver Tom Daley will return as the celebrities' mentor, while Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan continue as hosts. Comedian Jo Brand is on the judging panel alongside diving experts Andy Banks and Leon Taylor.

Gemma Collins wants to show viewers that "big girls are beautiful". Credit: ITV

Splash involves five celebrities diving in front of the judges each week as they aim to qualify for the final.

London 2012 bronze medallist Daley said:

The talent in this series has been incredible, but it's also very hard work and a difficult challenge. The celebrities have trained really hard and have to focus on getting the dive right.

Merna revealed that she has a fear of going underwater and had "never put her face in the water" before.

Perri Kiely said he would be aided by his flipping ability. Credit: ITV

Kiely said he believed his ability to flip gave him an advantage, although he admitted training had been "10 times harder than I expected".

Collins said she did wanted to show people saying "Oh, she is just a big whale in the pool" that size is no barrier to diving.

Groves, who played Gary Hobbs in Eastenders, said he was "scared of diving" but said appearing on the show was a "no-brainer".

Gemma Merna had never put her face underwater before appearing in the show. Credit: ITV

Strachan said the scariest part of the show was "doing a photocall in a swimsuit".

Judge Brand declared her respect for the celebrity divers, saying:

They are taking a massive risk. Not only are they in danger of hurting themselves, but they're doing it in costumes which might make them look ridiculous.

Splash! returns to ITV on Saturday, January 4 at 7.20pm

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