Celebrity challenge show Freeze the Fear launched last night with ice therapy enthusiast Wim Hof preaching about the benefits of being cold – but viewers struggling to heat their homes labelled it "tone deaf".
Hof, known as The Iceman, has many fans and celebrity clients who are fascinated by his theories that plunging yourself into cold water and taking part in icy sports wearing minimal clothes can improve the mind and push physical boundaries.
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BBC One's new show hosted by Holly Willoughby and Lee Mack saw Hof coach Patrice Evra, Gabby Logan, Alfie Boe, Tamzin Outhwaite, Owain Wyn Evans, Dianne Buswell, Professor Green, and Chelcee Grimes to jump into an ice pool before wrapping up warm in luxury tents with bottles of champagne, but viewers complained about the timing of the series when many households are struggling to afford heating.
Singer and contestant Alfie Boe tweeted: "Tonight’s the night! Tune in to BBC1 at 9pm to catch the first episode of ‘Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof’ … you might want to put the heating on! Let me know in the comments below what you think of the show! I hope you enjoy it!"
But one person replied to his tweet: "Unfortunately many people can't afford to put the heating on and are in fear of the gas bill coming through the door. You may be a singer @AlfieBoe but you are bloody tone deaf. #freezethefear"
Another viewer tweeted: "Look how wonderful it is to be cold!!! Is this a Government-sponsored information show to get us to turn that central heating off?"
Someone else wrote: "Have to question the logic of the BBC.. putting on a show with celebrities living in luxury when people can barely afford to live these days.."
Hof told his own personal story of how cold water therapy had helped him to deal with his grief when his wife died, but despite sharing his many incredible achievements from living in the cold, viewers were annoyed that the series came at a time when fuel costs have increased dramatically.
One person tweeted: "I’m a pensioner sitting at home with my coat on, as I can’t afford the heating being on, watching these overpaid 'celebrities' in this nonsense show, paid for by MY LICENCE FEE!!!!"
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Another viewer agreed: "Nice of the BBC to get Brits ready for winters without heating."
Viewers also spotted some uncanny resemblances to both hosts' outfits in the opening episode.
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Willoughby was compared to Johnny Depp in his role as Willy Wonka, while Mack's furry ensemble reminded people of East 17's Brian Harvey in the music video for Stay Another Day.
Freeze the Fear does not knock out any of the contestants but will return weekly to see the group of celebrities coached to battle through further uncomfortably cold tasks by Hof.
Watch: Holly Willoughby was 'in tears' taking part in Freeze the Fear