What in God’s name has happened to Jamie Oliver? On Jamie’s Comfort Food (C4, 9pm, 1 Sept) he repented of his sins and delivered a eulogy to a big fat bacon cheeseburger. All those years spent demanding everyone put down their burgers, now he’s gorging on them like an escaped pupil on Jamie’s School Dinners. Did he summer in Damascus?
Anyway, who cares if he’s lost his faith? Instead of the usual lengthy sermon we were treated to some very naughty food porn that would make even M&S blush. Although scheduling it on a Monday night was the work of the devil himself. For every person drooling at the screen, there must have been plenty more people desperately trying to be virtuous after an indulgent weekend, gazing forlornly at their sad salad, wishing he would stop making those unholy burgers, a sinful lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and a creamy strawberry pavlova.
That’s Jamie Oliver, though. Still polarising viewers like no other TV chef ever has, racking up hundreds of hours of prime time TV, shifting millions of cookbooks (and making millions of quid), yet attracting unprecedented levels of vitriol while doing it.
This show may tip the balance in his favour, however. For fans, his appeal has always been his unrefined recipes, his open energy and his encouraging enthusiasm. So, as admirable as his work to tackle obesity is, when it comes to deep down dirty food - sorry, comfort food - he excels. And he’s clearly having more fun being ol’ dirty Jamie than he ever did acting like a saint.