OVER in the Celebrity MasterChef kitchen this week, John Torode rather obligingly asked Nancy Dell’Olio: “What do you always have in your fridge?”
And as one, several million viewers bellowed back: “Her face, in between the crispy pancakes and Sven Goran Eriksson’s knackers,” where it remains frozen in a flirtatious smirk, until it’s needed for her next reality show appearance.
The big question here, of course, would be, could Nancy last long enough to defrost it into a second expression, like “warmth” or “humility”?
Well, that was certainly the main reason why I was so hypnotised by the return of Celebrity MasterChef, a show I was pathetically grateful to see back on BBC1 after a couple of months running on empty.
Cult of woke
It may be familiar as hell, but I also quite enjoy the unchallenging rhythm of the format and felt there was even something edgy about the appearance of John Torode and his turnip-headed time-keeper Gregg Wallace that I couldn’t quite put my finger on immediately.
A series of Celebrity MasterChef, though, lives or dies by the strength of its bookings.
I reserve the right to change my mind completely next week, but the early signs with this one were good, as it even included two people I like, slapstick legend Paul Chuckle, who comes with his own oven-ready catchphrase (“To me, to you.”) and Danny Jones, who is McFly’s answer to George Formby and a really good cook.
The bad news, of course, always arrives with the words “comedian” and “Edinburgh fringe”, that were attached here to someone called Kae Kurd, who clearly finds himself hilarious but wasn’t actually as funny or likeable as Love Island tantrum-thrower Faye Winter, whose lips seem to have developed a slow puncture since she left the ITV2 villa.
An arrangement that was never going to stop a show as mischievous as Celebrity MasterChef presenting her, at the earliest opportunity, with a sea bream, which she observed with a weary: “That looks like me last year.”
The absolute money shot, however, was Nancy Dell’Olio, generously described by the show as a “media personality who speaks four languages”, often at the same time, as she demonstrated before the first round had begun.
“I have butt-fry in my stoh-mark.” Gregg and John must have had “butt-fries” in theirs as well when they let her loose in the kitchen, as I think Celebrity MasterChef uncovered something special here. The only Italian in the world who can’t cook anything.
Nancy started with some baby food gunk that set like dental cement and finished with Melanzane Parmigiana, which had the texture and appearance of Tigger’s autopsy.
Then something terrible happened. Nancy was eliminated from the show, the scales fell from my eyes and, as soon as the next episode started, the awkward reason why John and Gregg seemed so different became apparent.
They’re two straight, white, working-class guys hosting a prime-time BBC1 show. This used to happen a lot, obviously. But not any more.
We’ve been eliminated, to the extent I can’t even think of another current prime-time Beeb show where the hosts fit the description.
It’s been a brutally swift process as well, put in really sharp focus by the Commonwealth Games, where white men were vanished completely from the prime-time hosting studios and barely tolerated even in a punditry capacity.
I know the rules here, obviously. I’m not meant to draw attention to this arrangement, let alone complain that any new form of discrimination might be just as bad as an old one.
But the BBC is now so lost to the cult of woke it actually used a break in the women’s Euros to chide the England squad for being “too white”.
And when an organisation is gripped by such a demented level of political correctness you know it’s probably about to overplay its hand horribly and the cultists will either end up destroying themselves or the entire BBC in the process.
It’s not too late to row back, obviously. And given how little they actually want some groups included, they could make a start by dropping the gaslighting mantra “diversity, equality, inclusion” and maybe replacing it with the equally meaningless Celebrity Master-Chef phrase which helped Gregg get his big break in the first place.
“Make the vegetable the hero.”
Beeb’s Daley lesson
ON Tuesday night, BBC1 broadcast an even-handed documentary about Britain’s Empire, highlighting all the wonderful gifts this flawed enterprise gave to the world.
Democracy, the rule of law, a free Press, schools, universities, the civil service, railways, an unprecedented era of peace . . .
Well, no, of course it didn’t.
It broadcast Tom Daley: Illegal To Be Me, a disingenuous load of woke b******s which saw the Olympic diver trying to blame every single ill ever visited upon the Commonwealth’s LGBTQ community on Britain and its legacy of anti-gay colonial laws.
The documentary might have carried a bit of weight, obviously, if Daley had explained exactly why some Commonwealth countries are no longer homophobic or had the courage to draw the common Islamic link between those three countries/territories, Pakistan, Brunei and northern Nigeria, who’ve turned being gay into a death penalty offence.
He didn’t, though. In fact, for an entire hour, Daley never even uttered the word “Islam” as he was too busy posturing and telling activists slavery made him: “Sick to be British.”
An error of judgment, because unless you acknowledge all the causes of this homophobia, including the ones Guardian readers find uncomfortable, you’re never going to solve the problem.
Yet, ironically, Daley, who clearly longs to play the hero, finished the documentary, in true empire fashion, by threatening the guilty third-world countries with a series of empty flag-waving gestures and sporting boycotts.
To which, if they’re as conniving as they are barbaric, I’d imagine they’ll just respond: “But how can we do anything, when everything is Britain’s fault?”
Unexpected morons in the bagging area
TIPPING POINT, Ben Shephard: “Which Tudor monarch was the daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon?”
Jaybe: “Victoria II.”
Ben Shephard: “What word is both the name of a velvety burrowing mammal and a secret spy or informant?”
The Chase, Bradley Walsh: “Henry Cooper, John Inman and Danny La Rue have all held what title? Rear of the year? King Rat? UK heavyweight champion?”
Max: “UK heavyweight champion.”
Random TV irritations
CROWN PAINTS’ utterly nauseating “There’s a baby on the way” commercial making me think King Herod had a point.
BBC1’s All Star Games failing to pixelate Noreen Khan’s mortifying leg in the sprint relay event. Van Der Valk’s pretentious plot and cliches getting in the way of Amsterdam’s glorious return to ITV. And Celebrity MasterChef contestant Faye Winter spluttering: “I’m rubbish when I’ve got people creckeeting, creckeet . . . creteek . . . crickeeting me.”
The correct word here being, cretin.
Great sporting insights
MARTIN TYLER: “The ball was blocked by Zouma, facially on the chest.”
Tim Sherwood: “The positive vibe I get about Forest is they can’t get any worse.”
Kerri Pottharst: “It’s not over, but it is.”
Micah Richards: “Welbeck has been the best player on the pitch. Trossard too.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray)
ON Love Island: The Reunion, Laura Whitmore, who’s paid an alleged £600,000 to host the show, began by asking the eight finalists: “Has it sunk in yet?” She subsequently asked Tasha and Andrew: “Has it sunk in yet?” Before then asking Ekin-Su and Davide: “Have you had a chance for it to sink in yet?”
So tell me, has Laura’s salary sunk in yet?
GREAT TV lies and delusions of the month. The Commonwealth Games, Qasa Alom: “Let’s talk a bit more about women’s T20 cricket, because we can’t get enough of it, can we?”
Are You The One: UK, Jordan: “Without sounding arrogant, I am a very good looking kid.”
And Arielle Free: “That’s it for another series of Apocalypse Wow! It’s been weird, it’s been wild, it’s been wonderful.”
Although, as the Queen once memorably said, recollections may vary.
ELSEWHERE, meanwhile, host of the recently axed Mock The Week, Dara O’Briain, wrote: “Last week, at the Montreal Comedy Festival, the entire British/Irish contingent, Tom Allen, Ed Gamble, Sindhu Vee, James Acaster, Nish Kumar, Suzi Ruffell, Rhys James and Catherine Bohart were all Mock The Week alumni.”
And that’s just eight reasons why it had to die.
ELAINE THOMPSON-HERAH’S poetry-in-motion sprinting at the Commonwealth Games.
The beautiful reception the Birmingham crowd gave to Eilish McColgan and Laura Muir’s victories.
Celebrity MasterChef contestant Danny Jones inadvertently prompting the gag reflex as he admired his aubergine miso marinade: “Normally I’d put a codpiece in there for 48 hours.”
And Channel 4’s magnificent Night Coppers reminding us all the wisest thing we’ll ever be told on a night out is: “Go home.”
Lookalike of the week
THIS week’s winner is Sky News anchor Kay Burley and Velma off Scooby Doo. Sent in by Colin Simpson, Wendover, Bucks.
Winning entry receives £65 and a copy of the official Wilfred Bramble biography, You Dirty Old Man.