What is it with the Victorians this week? We've had Jeremy Paxman waxing lyrical (and surprisingly engagingly) about what the paintings of the era tell us about Victorian society (9pm, BBC1, 1 March). We've had the movie premiere of The Young Victoria in Leicester Square (3 March). And last, and very much least, we've had Heston Blumenthal's Victorian Feast (9pm, Channel 4, 3 March).

The timing of Blumenthal's return to our screens after Little Chef takes on Big Chef (or should that be the other way round?) wasn't ideal given that his restaurant The Fat Duck had just been forced to close as a result of a food poisoning scare. But C4 wasn't going to let the Fat get in the way of a good story (boom boom). In the first episode in a series in which he reinvents dishes from bygone eras, Blumenthal recreated the Mad Hatter's tea party from Alice in Wonderland using mind-boggling techniques and ingredients, including the hallucinogenic drink absinthe .

"I want to make the most extraordinary feast ever eaten," he said, before introducing his B-list celebrity tea party guests - including Richard Bacon, rather appropriately given the menu's druggy overtones.

The question I kept asking myself was: why? Don't get me wrong. The culinary world's own Mad Hatter pulled off jaw-dropping feats of culinary engineering: layering flavours of toffee, hot buttered toast, custard, cherry tart and turkey in a test tube-style glass for his gloriously pink drink-me potion; freezing a consommé, plopping it into a centrifuge and then freezing it again to concoct a cow's head mock turtle soup; and using tongue-shaped vibrators (invented by the Victorians to cure female hysteria ) to give the pièce de resistance, a glowing absinthe jelly, its wobble.

But it's hardly stuff you're going to cook at home, so you were just left feeling resentful you weren't invited to the party - especially when they started inhaling from helium and absinthe-filled balloons.

I have to say I preferred the more vulnerable persona on display in Big Chef takes on Little Chef. This gleefully childish Blumenthal was bloomin' irritating. I'm looking forward to the ejaculating cake in a future episode though.