You can just imagine the exchange that took place before Ramsay made his great escape to India.

Ramsay: "F*** me. My career is going down the f***ing pan. What the f*** can I do to improve my f***ing popularity?"

Flunky: "Umm. I'm thinking a new series. A cross between Jamie's American Road Trip and that thing with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Something that'll show Gordon the fallible man, the humble student... rather than, umm, a loud-mouthed bully, who, umm, likened a female Aussie TV presenter to a pig."

Ramsay: "Alright, alright, you've made your f***ing point but f*** me, that's not a bad f***ing idea."

And so it came to pass that the pug-faced one headed to India to learn how to cook the UK's favourite cuisine. Gordon's Great Escape (9pm, C4, 18-20 January) could have been a recipe for disaster and Ramsay often came across as a patronising bore (he certainly didn't cover himself in glory when his train broke down and he asked whether it was ready to "choo choo" again, while pulling an imaginary chain). But, despite this and the fact he couldn't help swearing even in the most inappropriate circumstances, this was really rather good.

It helped that the food was a million miles removed from what we think of as Indian here and that the people were not averse to getting one over on Ramsay. I particularly enjoyed the octogenarian chef with the handlebar moustache who showed Ramsay how to make a very different kind of biryani (rice topped with whole goats stuffed with chickens, quails and eggs) and got seriously grouchy when people weren't working fast enough.

Ramsay looked genuinely uncomfortable. As he did when he was sent up a tree to find ants (used with their eggs to make a chutney) and got bitten. And when Bozzo, an implausibly named maharaja's nephew, made him dig a hole in the desert to prepare a goat masala.

And then there was the Star Anise incident. Ah, the star anise. Picture Ramsay in a kitchen full of chefs who can't speak English waving at the sky and barking STAR. ANISE. The chefs looked nonplussed, Ramsay, exasperated and ridiculous in equal measure. In a word: brilliant.

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