So far, this year's festive offerings have been distinctly underwhelming by comparison and Huge Furry Wittering Balls' River Cottage Christmas Fayre (C4, 9pm, 13 December) is no exception.
Now, I appreciate that sleb chefs are 10 a penny these days and if they stick to turkey and all the trimmings patter, it isn't exactly going to differentiate them from the crowd. But you can stray too far from the path and Wittering Balls did straight up his own middle-class arse. I didn't think he was going to. He kicked off by wittering on about how much he preferred goose to turkey. Good, I thought, something I have no idea how to cook.
Unfortunately I still don't. The bird was merely the vessel for two labour-intensive and not particularly nice-looking stuffings he and sidekick Gill were preparing and the cue for the usual lame quips about gooses being cooked and people being stuffed. A haw haw... haw. Still, with much of the episode left, all was not lost. The next recipes were bound to be better.
If only. The first was potted pheasant made by another River Cottage regular, Tim, with the secret ingredient of... wait for it, pheasant stock from the last lot of pheasant he'd cooked (I really must go and dig mine out of the freezer). And the second was a pear cheese topped with food grade paraffin wax (which I'm guessing is NOT available from my local supermarket).
Aside from the smug mummies in the baking group, who's got the time or inclination to source all these ingredients? I sure haven't. Even if I could, I wouldn't want to cook half this stuff (especially not the cat sick sorry, celeriac soup).
There was one highlight the "Bloody Bastard" hangover cure. But I was left otherwise perplexed as to the point of it all. Supposedly offering up secrets on how to enjoy the perfect Christmas, it struck me as more of a lesson to the rest of us on how the other half live. Hardly the recipe for a great Christmas and ironically given his penchant for goose, a complete turkey.
More from this column