TIM FANNING MY VIEW
If you can’t stand the heat, don’t worry, there’s plenty going on in the kitchen…
Yes, it’s that time of the year again when the telly gods decide that we should be all out sunning ourselves in the garden rather than curling up in front of the box. Those pesky deities must not know that we live on a wind-lashed island in the Western Atlantic. That we don’t have a summer as it’s conventionally understood in the rest of the world. That an Irish summer lasts a weekend, not a quarter of the year. And that we need good quality TV to get us through the pain of missing out on an entire season. But the telly gods obviously spend their summers getting a tan in Greece. So we can look forward to frothy fillers instead of televisual meat over the coming months.
By the way, I’m not talking metaphorically, as BBC2 have got no less than five cookery shows for eager foodies. They are: Nigella Lawson’s new show based on Italian cooking, Nigellissima, a new programme about eating well fronted by the Hairy Bikers, Rick Stein’s tour of India, a show exploring the cuisine of China, and the return of the Great British Bake-off. How someone thought Nigellissima might be a good title for a progamme is beyond me. It sounds like something quite nasty you might catch in the swimming pool rather than a cookery show. As for the Hairy Bikers, it strikes me that having your dinner cooked by a pair of overweight, hirsute, middle- aged men who have just spent a couple of hours riding their motorbikes isn’t particularly appetising. The Great British Bake Off, on the other hand, is typical of the new gung-ho style of competitive cookery show. Such a surfeit of gastronomic riches puts even RTÉ One, which seems to produce a new cookery show every second week, to shame. At least the exotic locations in Rick Stein’s Indian adventure and Ken Hom and Ching-he Haung’s Chinese cookery show are consolation for those of us who rather eating than looking at people making food.
Cookery shows have their place on the TV, in a way that DIY shows, or anything with Craig Doyle in it, really don’t. But isn’t it time we went on a diet? After all, who has time to get up, have a shower, drop the kids off at school, go to work, take the bins out, pay the bills, do the shopping, cook the dinner and then watch Rachel, Gordon, Jamie, Nigella, Rick, Sophie, Catherine, Donal, different Rachel, Lorraine, Antony… The list goes on. Sometimes less is more, and a hang sanger, a couple of boiled eggs and an apple is all you need for your rain-soaked picnic.
Five supermarket workers from Leeds win the lottery and see their lives turned upside down in this superior drama written by Kay Mellor. A marvellous cast is headed by Timothy Spall and Joanna Page.