Celebrity Masterchef is pretty much a miniaturised version of the original pleb-friendly version but with one major difference. These are celebrities, usually with expertise in a field such as television presenting, acting or sports, so they’re not expected to be particularly good at cooking.
Immediately, the pressure is off and Gregg and Johns’ constant inspirational patter becomes nothing more than hot air. After five or ten minutes, their passion about the whole affair becomes unintentionally amusing. Whether they fake their involvement – which borders on obsessive frenzy – or not, the fact that the celebs are there for the fee and couldn’t really care less reduces old John’s and squat Gregg’s involvement a little tiny bit. Which is a shame, as they’re probably the only decent TV judges in reality TV. They provide this thing called ‘constructive criticism’ which is all too rare in these kinds of competitions.
Last night in this weird two-shows-in-one-format they’ve chosen to put this out in, we had Michael Buerk, that toothy one from Atomic Kitten, Denise Lewis, some bloke from Brookside (the second some-bloke-from-Brookside in a week), the blonde one from Birds of a Feather who used to go on about ‘my Daryl’ and a TV presenter woman whose name I can’t remember. The latter managed to make ‘the worst thing I’ve ever tasted doing this show’ which was faintly amusing, while the rest made half-decent attempts. Apart from Michael Buerk, who is clearly going senile.
An unchallenging but entirely inoffensive hour of entertainment, but the aspect that keeps me watching when this is on has little to do with the format, the guests or the food itself. I find myself laughing out loud at the sheer amount of food Gregg and John stick on their forks and spoons.
It’s on tonight – make sure you watch as they load up their forks when it comes to testing time. On an average insertion they load up their mini-shovels with a kilo of fodder and then guide it in. Their faces turn vacant as they feed these gargantuan spoonfuls into their gaping maws and the moment of suspense – did they like it or not? – is built in the period during which they chew the gargantuan boluses in their fat faces. It’s really quite extraordinary.
But not quite as extraordinary as John Torode saying stuff like ‘Yes, he maaaay be a fantastic actor who can take on any role – but is he a master in the kitchen?’ when the clear answer is ‘No. That’s why he’s an actor’.
I really hope Andi Peters doesn’t win.