With an ominous opening that placed the listener in a car alongside TV doctor Chris van Tulleken en route to a shady sounding pick-up off the M25 in the early hours of the morning, Fed: Planet Chicken (BBC Radio 4, 30 October, 11am) attempted to inject suspense and intrigue into what was ultimately a podcast about chicken. And not to spoil things, but it rarely managed it.
The first episode of the eight-part series took us on a whistle-stop tour of the history of the chicken from Roman deity to the post-war “Chicken of the Future” competition-winning breeds that are the basis of what is still served around the world today.
There were informative moments about how the world’s favourite animal protein came to be, but a lot of it felt overly romantic towards the two-legged bird.
Van Tulleken took five chicks home to his young daughters, having picked them up from the van off the M25. The plan, he told us, was to raise them in the van Tulleken family home so the family can fully understand where their food comes from.
There was an attempt to set up the series as finding the answer to a moral question: should we be eating these mass-produced chickens at all?
However, while his children may be more on the fence, it is clear that van Tulleken has made up his mind, and by the end of episode one was already against it. Without any jeopardy from the presenter, there is not enough to compel listeners to continue with over three more hours of chicken-based information nuggets.