Now, I'm quite partial to pan-glazed fillet of beef, so I was pleased to see Gordon Ramsay back on our screens with a fifth series of The F Word (especially as this format has in the past played to the foul-mouthed one's strengths, unlike the dreadful Cookalong).

It appears I'm one of a shrinking number, though. Apparently, the first episode (9pm, C4, 3 November) attracted just 1.8 million viewers and was beaten by, I kid you not, Horizon (it was on black holes, but really). The poor fellow's even being blamed for falling Gordon's gin sales!

No doubt someone's been on hand with the poppers to cheer him up. But it is a real shame that people didn't watch The F Word, because amid the dross (I'm not interested in seeing Katie Price making decidedly ropey looking chicken kievs OR having her own ropey looking fillets fondled) there was some half decent, nay, even important, stuff.

For one, Ramsay has come up with a novel twist on the ubiquitous reality cook-off in his search to find Britain's best local restaurant. Each week, two restaurants voted the best of their type by the general public will go head-to-head in The F Word kitchen, cooking up a menu for 50 diners who only pay if they think the dish is any good.

It's a great idea to celebrate local eateries, especially in tough times, and the ultimate prize of the title The F Word's Best Local Restaurant 2010 should be well worth winning.

Unfortunately, there was a teeny catch, as this week's battle between two local Italian restaurants Bristol-based Prosecco and Leeds-based Salvo's illustrated. For some unfathomable reason, the families of the competing chefs are allowed to vote and while the Prosecco chef's wife played fair and paid for her meal, his rival's family unsportingly paid for nothing so Salvo's won. NOT FAIR. Especially as the Prosecco chef was the one with the real flair (and, ahem, looks am I bad?).

Hopefully the mess will be sorted before next week when it's the turn of the Indian restaurants, but I'll be tuning in regardless if only to listen to Ramsay barking his trademark monosyllabic cooking instructions. This week we were treated to the priceless: "Cut pastry. Cut discs. Prick". Such self awareness surely merits reward.

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