Finally Channel 4 has realised what so many of us have known for so long; there isn’t enough Come Dine with Me on TV. Since 2005 there have only been 31 series, totalling 1,364 episodes. Thank God for all the repeats.
Fortunately, a new spin-off has arrived to fill in the gaps. And, in order to increase the potential for that most vital of reality show ingredients - conflict - it’s now three couples that compete on the cleverly named Couples Come Dine with Me (C4, weekdays, 5pm).
Every couple enjoys a row in the run-up to a dinner party, so this simple tweak is a masterstroke by producers Shiver Productions, clearly well aware that reality fans love a lively slanging match.
Sadly, anyone expecting the couples to clash would have been left bitterly disappointed. Other than the occasional bout of gritted teeth they got on just fine, even when an apple tart hit the floor instead of the oven thanks to a butterfingers husband. Instead of screaming at him, his wife calmly rinsed the apples under the tap while he started again on the pastry. They must be saints.
Then the food was served, and their collective halos began to slip. “A really yummy soup” (about a woefully runny cheesecake) delivered a promising start to the bitching, but unfortunately it never really got going.
The harmony continued when it finished in a draw and two of the couples happily split the cash. Still, as fans of the show will know, there is plenty of time for fireworks. This first episode was a mere amuse-bouche. There could be another 1,363 courses still to come.