Sweet Baby James


James Martin 

Aren’t there enough celebrity TV chefs in the world? Ainsley Harriot, Delia smith, Gordon Ramsey, Gary Rhodes, Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Jean-Christophe Novelli, Anthony Worrall-Thompson, the list goes excruciatingly on.

Among the population of TV cooking arses, there stirs James Martin, of ‘Sweet Baby James’ on BBC 2.

As much as I don’t like Ainsley Harriot, at least he’s passionate. At least Ramsey swears. At least Worrall-Thompson is untrustworthy. At least Oliver has a speech impediment. Martin has no outstanding features whatsoever other than that he could be described as a fairly tall man.

This episode sees Martin return to his old secondary school to perform a food-based facelift on the canteen menu. A highly original idea other than the fact that Jamie Oliver did it yonks ago. Besides which, Oliver clearly already has his grubby mitts all over the whole school dinners issue.

In fact, Martin is like a no-frills charisma-less Jamie Oliver in more ways than one, which is saying something as Oliver himself is as bland as post-modern architecture.

While working out the point of Martin, it is difficult to avoid drawing certain comparisons. I couldn’t help thinking of him as the kind of cooking equivalent of Steve Leonard (The boring nature-twat). Leonard’s programmes frustrate me because he seems to think that his blank face is as interesting to the viewers as the wildlife he is meant to be exploring. Martin is guilty of the same. If I tuned in merely to learn some cooking tips I would be disappointed as ¾ of the programme is just Martin poncing about like the self indulgent bore-monger he patently is.

He also seems to be the masculine interpretation of Nigella Lawson (at least she has colossal thighs) in TV’s bid to present food as ‘sexy’.

I say this because Martin clearly fancies himself as quite the ladies choice. The start of the show sees him roll up to his old headmaster’s house in a sports car. I couldn’t tell you which type – cars bore me – but the point is that he seems to be eagerly putting himself forward as some type of TV lothario. The style of the shows production also betrays the programme-maker’s intentions to drum home the ‘food is sexy, honest!’ concept. The editing is sleek and vigorous and furnished with a funk/soul soundtrack giving the impression that food preparation qualifies as sexy action, with Martin being clumsily misplaced within as some sort of culinary action-man.

Let’s get this straight now – food is not sexy, and food is not art. I plan to eat it and shit it, not fuck it or frame it.

James Martin has been around for a while, but what is all this ‘Sweet baby James’ bullshit out of the clear blue sky? I can only think that it is a sickly and transparent attempt to endear an audience to a man who is the pinnacle of TV dreariness. He has no wit whatsoever and is merely a drone who can cook a bit.

The thoroughly tedious nature of the show is reinforced by a sequence late on in which he teaches a bunch of yuppie-types how to cook a crumble. How quaint. How extremely mind-numbing.

“It’s all in the marshmallows mate!” seemed to be his wittiest quip in the whole show. Laughing yet? Me neither. I do understand that he’s not a comedian, but where is the justification in his existence as yet another TV chef? Entertain me dammit!

He is simply a non-entity. He brings nothing new to the table, other than his claims to be a sweet baby who drives around in a sports car.

So why doesn’t he find his own niche? Perhaps cooking with drugs, or how to introduce untraceable poisons into a dish in order to get away with a murder?

That, I would watch enthusiastically…

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20 Responses to “Sweet Baby James”

  1. Swineshead Says:

    His niche is that he cooks desserts. Which makes him about half as good as other chefs in that he can’t be arsed to cook mains. Or starters, so only a third.

    Sweet Baby James is a song by someone who I can’t remember, and Martin cooks sweets, so it’s quite tenuous.

    More here at the Urban Woo…

  2. piqued Says:

    He’s a friend of a friend, nice bloke apparently

  3. Swineshead Says:


  4. piqued Says:

    Just saying he’s a nice bloke. TAKE A FUCKING CHILL PILL YEAH

  5. Swineshead Says:

    He seems alright. I like pudding.

  6. amanda misu Says:

    Sweet Baby James is a song by James Taylor.

    I liked your article, although I’ve not seen his program and in fact hadn’t even heard of him.

    Sweet Baby James is a song by James Taylor.

  7. proudfoot Says:

    That’s how boring he is. You hadn’t even noticed him.

    I hear he’s a lovely lad though, just agonisingly dull.

  8. qwerty Says:

    I think the projrams alright. He dus think alot of himself but, its not that bad!

  9. piqued Says:


  10. Tag Says:

    Two of my mates worked for James martin & they both said he was a cunt. But everyone would say that about their boss i guess. Also he allegedly shagged my sisters mate in an alleyway so he sounds like a classy guy. Bloody nice puddings though.

  11. piqued Says:

    Well, one of my mates is mates with him, my mates a cunt so you could have a point

    What are you up to this weekend? Fancy a fuck?

  12. julie brooker Says:

    i have made 2 things of your show and both haven’t worked. i was anoyed and thought you should know.

    btw i love your show.

  13. piqued Says:

    hay thankcs julie u complett and uter fcukwit

  14. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Nice one Julie! I fancy some fresh milk … care to help me out? Eh? Wha? Hurr hurrr hurrrr …

  15. Clare Says:

    I like James. I think he is dead sexy…in fact, I think he is the sexiest of all the TV chefs. And he is too funny! I just had to put a word in for him…

  16. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Apparently, his balls weigh as much as a Mini Metro. And they stink, so I’ve heard.

  17. piqued Says:

    There must be an element of truth in that as I heard something similar. He shits eclairs as well, apparently

  18. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    See? Stay away from him Clare.

  19. piqued Says:

    Yes, you might get fat from his scat, yeah

    *ambles off*

  20. Eating With The Enemy « Watch With Mothers Says:

    […] Sweet Baby James presents Eating With The Enemy, playing the exact same role as Evan Davis in the old double ‘D’. He’s the go-between who liaises with the judges and cosies up to the contestants. He’s the viewers’ representative. It works with affable Evan, who humbles himself in front of contestants, folding his fists in front of himself and smiling from behind those kind, slightly off-kilter eyes. With Sweet Baby James it doesn’t quite work the same way, given his abrasive attitude. He spends the show mocking the efforts of the contestants to their faces and getting in the way. Yesterday he made a scene when he got splashed with a tiny dribble of custard, the big jessie. […]

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