Our Food

"Bet you don't know where this came from!" "Er, the sea, Giles?" "Damn you".

By Matthew Laidlow

The BBC loves food and cookery programmes so much you’d be forgiven for thinking the licence fee was being underwritten by Tesco.

When one series finishes, another comes hurtling off the production line. And they’re usually pretty good, not to mention addictive. The majority of the population are no doubt filling their time illegally streaming ‘Masterchef: American Samoa’ while they wait for Gregg Wallace and his sidekick John Torode to yell at a bunch of contestants who haven’t peeled a carrot properly. Read more of this post

Horizon: Out of Control

Zombies on a diet- look away now.

Originally written for TV Pixie. 

Is your unconscious mind actually in control of your actions? Is it your hindbrain’s fault you crave that cake, despite the fact you already look like a late-stage Elvis? And how, exactly, do you learn to knit?

That was the basic premise of last night’s intriguing episode of Horizon.

In attempting to show that our sentient mind is the monkey rather than the organ grinder we travelled to New York, an Arizonan golf course, Oxford University(twice) and University College London: although a large amount of time was spent watching people’s feet sticking out of an MRI scanner.  Read more of this post

Hairy Bikers’ Bakeation

'Pace yourself dad, we've got 8 weeks to go yet.'

David and Si, TV’s favourite Keith Floyd/Two Fat Ladies mash up, are back. And they’ve decided that what’s been missing from the world of TV food is biking and baking combined.

Baking, on vacation. Get it?

‘Trust me,’ promises one of the bikers,  ‘you’re gonna see a lot of yeast on this journey.’

Indeed.

But we’re not just talking bread here. Don’t be fooled. This is ‘cakes, pies, pastries. Almost anything that can be cooked in an oven.’ Almost anything: an important distinction. Probably not reheating last night’s takeaway pizza. Or the fraught defrosting of a bottle of wine you left in the freezer compartment to chill for a few minutes several hours ago. Read more of this post

Have You Been Watching: The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff?

"Sorry, are you sitting on the jokes? We seem to have misplaced them."

In December, we reviewed a one off festive comedy that we assumed would be consigned to the big dustbin of Dickensian Christmas Specials in the sky. Featuring Flashdancer extraordinaire and Peep Show alumnus Robert Webb in the role of Jedrington Secret-Past, it was an entertaining (but ultimately belly-laugh light) spoof of Charlie D’s work.

It was also packed with noteworthy panel show comedians, so much so that you felt if you turned over to watch QI it’d just be showing footage of empty seats and a baffled, hurt Alan Davies. Stephen Fry played Malifax Skulkingworm – who, in case you’re wondering, was the bad guy- and David Mitchell applied his loveable, hamsterfaced charm to the role of Jolliforth Jollington. Read more of this post

Watson and Oliver

The New The Krankies?

Apparently Watson and Oliver are the first female comedy double act commissioned by the BBC in 25 years.

Firstly: surely that’s shameful rather than something to show off about. Secondly, I assume the last pair was French and Saunders, but it might have been the Krankies for all I know (they’re both women, right?). And thirdly, despite the fact no one had ever heard them before last night, Watson and Oliver have somehow wangled a proper, old-school comedy revue show.

We don’t normally review opening credits, but in hindsight it’s useful to see the breadth of comic characters the pair have up their sleeves for future episodes. As this was opening night we only saw a few select cuts, as well as being introduced to the stage personae of Oliver (there’s something of the Sue Perkins about her. Her voice? Her look? The way I’m slightly but insidiously attracted to her? Who knows) and Watson (whose first appearance, rather boldly, featured her in her pants. Works every time). Read more of this post

The Fixer

If you’ve ever seen The Hotel Inspector, you’ll be familiar with Alex Polizzi, the no-nonsense hotel heiress who has been doing her best to wean the country’s second-rate B&Bs off their tastes for pot pourri and dubious erotic art.

But that was on Five. In her new BBC2 incarnation she’s known as ‘The Fixer’. Despite what the name might suggest, this doesn’t mean she’s embarked on a new career as a drug dealer on the back streets of America, but in fact that she’s sticking her nose into people’s failing businesses and trying to work out where they’ve gone wrong.

In this first episode we visit Courtyard Bridalwear in Kettering, run by Anne Priest and her two squabbling daughters Bethan and Rhiannon. Read more of this post

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