The Hilarity of People Falling Into Water

Get two Brits in the vicinity of a large volume of water and it’s only a matter of time before one of them pushes the other in. But why do we find it so funny?
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Get two Brits in the vicinity of a large volume of water and it’s only a matter of time before one of them pushes the other in. But why do we find it so funny?

Oooh, she’s going, she’s going. Maggie from Sheffield’s legs are wobbling, her arms are flailing about like one of those air dancer promotional things. But it’s no good; she’s gone. Sploosh. Wahey!

Watching people fall into water is a simple pleasure, but it’s something which has been keeping us Brits entertained for the past 50 years. From the contestants ping-ponging off the big red balls of the now sadly departed Total Wipeout, to the bank manager dressed as a giant pigeon who slides into a pool on the equally defunct It’s A Knockout.

These water-based shows are the definition of good, clean, fun. No airs and graces; they’re not trying to be smart or clever. It’s just a joyful brand of slapstick humour which has the power to make an entire family hoot and snort with laughter.

We can trace our love of the sploosh back to the 1930’s and the growth in popularity of holiday camps. Here, the daytime entertainment would take place around the swimming pool with the organised games inevitably ending-up with poor old Uncle Fred taking a soaking.

Get two Brits in the vicinity of a large volume of water and it’s only a matter of time before one of them pushes the other in. It’s in our DNA.

Our passion for poolside pranks is something we proudly display each year across the swimming pools of European holiday resorts. Get two Brits in the vicinity of a large volume of water and it’s only a matter of time before one of them pushes the other in. It’s in our DNA.

It’s a Knockout was the first show to turn these kind of larks into a television format. From 1966 to 1988 small towns throughout Britain competed against each other in a series of incredibly daft water based challenges.

The stars of these shows were ordinary people - hairdressers, plumbers, accountants, bus drivers. People who were prepared to look silly and take a soaking, purely for our entertainment. These were the opposite of the modern day celebrities who pose and preen and pay teams of people to ensure they always look at their very best.

After falling out of fashion in the 90s, these shows have flooded back onto our screens. There have been lots of different attempts, such as the bizarre Hole in the Wall and the even odder 101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow. For a good laugh you just can’t beat the magic mix of water, gravity and the Great British public. Sploosh. Wahey!!!

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