Do you like cooking?
Are you a keen gardener?
Oh – one other thing… do you like homeopathic remedies?
If you ticked all of the above, you’ll love BBC2′s new cooking, gardening and homeopathic remedy show: Grow Your Own Drugs.
It’s a strange mixture of all of these elements squeezed into a format similar to Nigella Express or Chinese Food Made Easy. The only problem is, where those are both straightforward cookery shows, Grow Your Own Drugs’ presenter, James Wong sets out to squeeze in a factual basis for what he’s doing, growing the plant, cooking or preparing it and then, with the clock ticking away, providing a little bit of testimonial as to whether or not it worked. It’s a lot to slot in. Where Ching-He Huang migh collar a builder, cook for him, then eat with him, Wong has to jump through several hoops before he’s even at the hob.
Not only that, he’s also legally bound to provide disclaimers throughout. He starts the series off saying he’s ‘not some weird hippy’, slightly defensively, and proceeds throughout the show to warn us that he’s ‘not a doctor’, explaining that the tests aren’t ‘clinical trials’ and telling viewers not to smear pulverised fruit on their face if they’re worried that they might have allergies.
It comes across as incredibly restricting, as though Wong can’t get into his stride because he’s fenced in by indie-intros, justifying his own existence and explaining that he’s not a dispenser of pharmaceuticals. With half an hour to try and cure insomnia, constipation and dry skin using just a fruit bowl, the poor sod was always going to be up against it. The Naked Chef first appeared over a decade ago, but still the BBC are using this tired and stilted format for a large percentage of its factual TV, even when the content isn’t suited to it at all.
However, you don’t have to take my opinion as fact as I’m not a qualified writer. Always see a certified critic before watching gardening, cookery and homeopathy based television shows.