ALI­SON ROWAT

RE­VIEWS THE BIG FAM­ILY COOK­ING SHOW­DOWN

The Herald Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - ALI­SON ROWAT

DO not for­sake the sea­son­ing oh my dar­lin’. Any way you slice the car­rots there was a touch of High Noon about The Big Fam­ily Cook­ing Show­down (BBC Two, Tues­day, 8pm). Com­ing down the tracks at the end of the month to start its new life on Chan­nel 4 is former BBC hit Great Bri­tish Bake Off, and who bet­ter to be wait­ing to meet the varmints than Nadiya Hus­sain, former Bake Off win­ner, and Zoe Ball, host of Strictly’s It Takes Two.

Over 12 weeks, 16 fam­ily teams from across the UK will com­pete to im­press judges Rose­mary Shrager and Gior­gio Lo­catelli. First up were the Marks from Lon­don, who spe­cialised in Swedish cui­sine, and the Charles clan from York­shire, who trav­elled a lot and could pretty much turn their hand to any­thing. Even their risotto pleased Gior­gio.

Therein lay the trou­ble. Here was an hour of nice peo­ple mak­ing nice food and be­ing nice to each other, which is a dif­fi­cult dish to pull off with­out bor­ing view­ers to the point of gnaw­ing off their own limbs. There was no stress, no swear­ing, no threats to cut so and so out of the will. In short, noth­ing like fam­ily cook­ing at all.

As for High Noon, con­sider it can­celled. Shortly af­ter the first pro­gramme aired, the BBC said Nadiya, Zoe and com­pany would be mov­ing to a Thurs­day slot to pre­vent a clash with the new Bake Off. When it comes to a show­down the Show­down has blinked first. Gary Cooper would never have done that, ladies.

Con­nor Ne­wall doesn’t have to cook his own din­ners. If this young Glaswe­gian wants grub he or­ders room ser­vice. Such is the jet­set life of Scot­land’s Model Teenager (BBC One, Mon­day, 7.30pm). Since be­ing spot­ted dur­ing a cast­ing call for a film about knife crime, the Go­van lad has be­come one of the hottest mod­el­ling prop­er­ties in the world. “The sweet­est boy with a bad boy face,” was one de­signer’s at­tempt to sum up his chis­elled ap­peal. “He’s beau­ti­ful and ugly and crazy look­ing and an­gelic look­ing,” said an agent. In plain English, Con­nor takes a nice photie.

One would have wor­ried about the lad swim­ming in the shark-in­fested wa­ters of fash­ion, but Con­nor’s fam­ily, and in par­tic­u­lar his mum Betty, were do­ing a great job of keep­ing him an­chored.

“Conny, you bet­ter get up and get packed for Madrid. Now!” was one of Betty’s many pieces of ad­vice. Every boy should have a Betty. Great story, but no­body broached the sub­ject of how much the young­ster was earn­ing. Wasn’t this what we all wanted to know? Easy­Jet: In­side the Cock­pit (STV, Mon­day, 9pm) had no such squeamish­ness. As this look at the lives of trainee pi­lots dis­closed, it costs £120,000 for the two-year course, af­ter which the young pi­lots start on £40k. See, that wasn’t hard, was it? To a man and the oc­ca­sional woman the se­lected “stars” from the 300 an­nual re­cruits were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, pre­cisely the sort you want to ferry you on the 07.05 to Stansted.

But will there be enough drama here to sus­tain three parts? One awaits a char­ac­ter emerg­ing or a brush with disas­ter, like cabin crew dis­cov­er­ing at 36,000ft that some­one has for­got­ten to load the break­fast panini.

Such a cri­sis would be noth­ing to Ravn Eikanger, the doc­tor at the heart of Nor­we­gian crime drama Valkyrien (Chan­nel 4, Sun­day, 9pm). Re­plac­ing The Hand­maid’s Tale as the chan­nel’s big Sun­day night of­fer­ing, this tale of a medic mak­ing money from treat­ing crim­i­nals off the books has a lot to live up to, and I am not sure on the ev­i­dence of this first episode whether it has the juice to do so. The con­cept has a whiff of Break­ing Bad fa­mil­iar­ity about it, and there is noth­ing about the drab char­ac­ters so far to make one want to spend time with them. Still, like bac­te­ria in a petri dish it might grow on us.

I stum­bled across Peo­ple Just Do Noth­ing (BBC Three, on de­mand) while brows­ing on iPlayer one Satur­day af­ter­noon, and it has be­come quite my favourite com­edy of re­cent times. De­lighted, then, to see it back for a fourth se­ries and to note that Bafta shares the view­ers’ en­thu­si­asm and has bunged it a cou­ple of awards.

On pa­per, a mock­u­men­tary about a pi­rate ra­dio sta­tion, Karupt FM, run by norf Lah­n­don nump­ties, doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that would set my turntable spin­ning, but such is the qual­ity of the writ­ing it is a plea­sure to spend time with MC Grindah, DJ Beats, Chabuddy G and the rest of the crew. In this se­ries, Grindah has gone off the rails while his ex-girl­friend Miche has taken up mod­el­ling, hav­ing her pic­ture taken by a pho­tog­ra­pher who usu­ally shoots bath­room suites. It’s that kind of show.

Af­ter the first episode of The Big Fam­ily Cook­ing Show­down, the BBC an­nounced the show would be mov­ing from Tues­day to Thurs­day to avoid a clash with the new Great Bri­tish Bake Off on Chan­nel 4

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