DAR­REN DEV­LYN

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JAMIE Oliver has his crit­ics but he’s adamant his life’s on the right course. Asked what he thinks sets him apart from many celebrity chefs, he says: ‘‘ I hope peo­ple be­lieve in my in­tegrity. I put my heart and soul into it.’’

Given his re­cent de­ter­mi­na­tion to pro­mote health causes that are close to his heart — at the same time risk­ing a pop­u­lar­ity based on his nice-guy per­sona— it’s dif­fi­cult to doubt Oliver’s sin­cer­ity.

In his doc­u­men­tary Eat to Save Your Life, he used a corpse to show us how obe­sity will bring you to an early grave. He fol­lowed with an­other con­tro­ver­sial spe­cial, Jamie’s Fowl Din­ners, where he elec­tro­cuted a chicken to high­light the cru­elty of bat­tery farm­ing.

That came af­ter Min­istry of Food, a se­ries set in Rother­ham, York­shire, that left Oliver look­ing pale and bat­tle-weary. Rother­ham res­i­dents ac­cused Oliver of por­tray­ing them as ‘‘ dum­bos’’ and ‘‘ nump­ties’’.

Oliver hit back, say­ing he’d been tar­geted by a mi­nor­ity of lo­cals who saw his show as a ‘‘ van­ity project’’ rather than a gen­uine cam­paign to help those who were eat­ing them­selves to death. Some will say Jamie’s Great Bri­tain gives us a wel­come spell from his po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing.

This week’s episode sees him travel to York­shire, where he tucks into, among other things, ale, pud­dings and chicken soup.

‘‘ In my job I will al­ways find beau­ti­ful things in any coun­try in the world but one thing I’m guilty of is not do­ing it in my own coun­try,’’ Oliver says of his rea­son for do­ing Jamie’s Great Bri­tain.

Don’t think for a sec­ond that Oliver’s po­lit­i­cal cam­paign­ing has been laid to rest. He re­cently urged the Sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the United Na­tions to help end the world obe­sity cri­sis. Oliver wrote to Ban-ki Moon in a bid to make the UN ap­ply pres­sure to gov­ern­ments to take ac­tion.

Now he wants the world to take food ed­u­ca­tion se­ri­ously be­fore it is too late. He warns that soon we will be left with ‘‘ a global diet of fast and pro­cessed food and drink’’. Jamie’s Great Bri­tain, Chan­nel 10, Fri­day, 7.30pm

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