Like most Brits, I love a cup of tea. The first bunches of leaves arrived on our glorious shores in 1662 and, on Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup Of Tea (Wednesday and Thursday, BBC1, 9pm), she proved that, like the most memorable of love affairs, our passion for a cuppa has remained undiminished by the passage of time.
National treasures in waiting like Morrissey, Graham Norton and the latest Doctor Who (don’t know his name, but he’s every bit as tediously wacky as the others) queued up to rhapsodise about their relationship with a brew.
And who wouldn’t love to share a pot of tea with Victoria Wood? Warmth and comfort personified, like that first cup of tea at work after a large night out, she dreamily reminisced about how “this exotic, fragrant leaf became an indispensable part of British life”.
It started in China, where Wood shed light on a murky world of opium, high-speed clipper ships and “thrashing the Chinese” in trade wars. Then she moved to India, detailing the rampant British “alcoholism and tiger shooting” that took place while the tea trade was established.
Curiously, she barely touched upon the one question that will divide Great Britain as long as our collective love of char unites us. milk - first or last?
George Orwell set his stall out in his 1946 essay on tea, in which he put forward his “unanswerable” theory that the milk must go in last. He was wrong, obviously. He should have stuck to sagacious satire on the human condition, and left tea to those of us who understand the important stuff.