BOLTON’S Vernon Kay said he is looking forward to banter with Speedo-clad celebrities as he gears up to present Splash!

Vernon, aged 38, is hosting the ITV1 show, which will see 15 famous faces trying to master one of sport’s most difficult disciplines — diving.

The former Radio 1 DJ and pupil of St Joseph’s RC High School pupil, Horwich, said: “We will see celebrities virtually in their underwear jumping into a pool from very high up.

“They have to stand there in their underpants and dive off a board in front of millions of viewers.

“When everyone goes silent in the pool, they will have to do it.”

Mentored by Olympic diver Tom Daley, the contestants will be given their scores by the 18-year-old, as well as by Team GB’s Diving coach Andy Banks, comedienne Jo Brand and former Olympic diving medallist Leon Taylor, before the phone lines open for viewers to pick their favourite.

Vernon said: “It’s a very tough assignment for the celebrities.

“The impact is immense, water is ruddy hard. It’s not like diving into marshmallows.

“It’s a very difficult, physically challenging task — and the perfect antidote to Christmas excess.”

The celebrities taking part are Benidorm actor Jake Canuso, comedian Omid Djalili, Sugababes singer Jade Ewen, TV presenter Jennie Falconer, comedian Helen Lederer, model Caprice, ski jumper Eddie “The Eagle”

Edwards, Joey Essex, from The Only Way is Essex, TV gardener Diarmuid Gavin, Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson, TV homes designer Linda Barker, comedian Dom Joly, Shameless actress Tina Malone, Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe and Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo.

Vernon, who will host the show alongside former international gymnast Gabby Logan, added: “It’s prime time ITV1 and it’s going to be so much fun.

“I’m hoping for some belly-flops. I’m certainly not going to take it too seriously.

“I’m also looking forward to bantering with anyone in Speedos.”

The show starts tonight at 7.15pm.