Which is why I am rapidly warming to the bumbling charms of the Hairy Bikers – or Bakers in their latest incarnation. This week they travelled from Cornwall to Scotland on their quest to discover and cook the best British pies (8:30pm, BBC2, Monday).
As they lauded family producers for their specialities and whipped up a few recipes of their own, the duo showed they had fingers not just in a lot of pies, but arguably also more on the pulse of today’s culinary Britain than Jamie’s. Better still, they left viewers with an idea of how to make the stuff. Even plucking the bones out of a piece of salmon didn’t look difficult, at least not for Dave, who recommended using a pair of common pliers. As he put it: “There are working-class ways to get around every middle-class problem.”
If only it were so easy to resolve the problem with Britain’s Really Disgusting Foods (10:35pm, BBC1, Monday). Presented by terminally unfunny professional Northerner Alex Riley, this was supposed to offer “a look at the dark side of British food making” by exposing those who peddle nasty food that tastes nice.
Unfortunately, Riley was more full of crap than the food. Sausages, which he was sure would be full of balls, bumholes and ears, contained nothing of the kind. So he resorted to desperate tactics, donning a wet suit outside a Booker depot and pouring water into it in protest against the 60% meat and 40% water “boob job chicken” on sale at the depot. (Suffice to say, his trousers burst, but no-one’s sides were splitting).
Riley eventually got his comeuppance at Asda when head chef Neil Nugent asked: “Are you taking the piss?”
But it’s a sad day when a food documentary, albeit one first shown on yoof channel BBC3, does little more than play for laughs. It also marked a new nadir for the genre – though probably not for long. Sigh.