Initially, Young Butcher of the Year (BBC3, Monday) sounded as appetising as week-old offal from a diseased badger. Yet the show had a grisly drama to it, like a cross between Masterchef and those animal autopsies recently screened on Channel 4.

With characters ranging from dour Brummies to dour Scotsmen, what a colourful cast it would have been had they not all shared the ghostly pallor of an animal-loving pre-teen who's accidentally stumbled into an abattoir. Which is probably how they got into the business in the first place.

Somehow they'd whittled down the field to five finalists from anything up to half a dozen applicants, you'd imagine before testing their "knife skills, portion control and presentation". And lack of charisma, at which they excelled.

Meanwhile, aptly-named host George Lamb gambolled happily about the gloomy warehouse set between expert judges Justin Preston, owner of upmarket butcher Allens of Mayfair, and "banger king" David Lishman.

From round one hacking up 80kg of beef in 45 minutes it was obvious all were pretty handy with a cleaver, even early straggler Emily. She insisted she "gets a buzz" from sawing up carcasses, bless her, and to be fair there's something oddly captivating about any girl wielding a big knife so assuredly.

Chris, a dead-eyed Gordon Ramsay lookalike and the youngest contender, at first seemed a lamb to the slaughter especially when he mangled his beef like an extra from Friday the 13th. But he roared back to wow the experts with his black pudding chipolatas and string of wrong answers about pig anatomy.

But there was no denying the more experienced Jim Sutcliffe (no relation to Peter, presumably). He admitted early on that he "loves experimenting with meat" much like Herbert West in the Re-Animator movie series. And it's probably for the best that Jim won. His softly spoken manner, eyes of chipped ice and uncanny calm under pressure marked him out as the one most likely to force his rivals through not just the emotional meat-grinder but an actual one if he lost.

Look out for him soon in BBC4's Young Serial Killer of the Year.

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