I played a fun game while watching the television this week. It’s called Spot The Other Reality Show. It works very well if you’re watching Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC1, Thursdays, 8pm).
This is the new show BBC1 is hoping will fill the Chelsea Bun-shaped hole left in the schedules by The Great British Bake-Off.
It shares one of the judges – the sainted Mary Berry – and similar plinky-plonky incidental music with the Bake-Off, but it’s certainly not carried off with such a light touch.
That’s partly because it’s nicked an idea from another hit BBC show, The Apprentice.
The 10 contestants battling for the Best Home Cook title are all billeted in a massive, swanky house, and are picked up at stupid o’clock in sleek, black Mercedes vans.
And, like The Apprentice, all the contestants seem to take themselves very seriously – I’ve taken against teacher Philip already.
He seems to be a personality in search of a reality show.
The show’s main host, Claudia Winkleman, has been borrowed from a third reality show, The Great British Sewing Bee, and makes the whole show seem very touchy-feely, while a second judge is Eat Well For Less’s Chris Bavin, dubbed ‘the produce king’, although his job seems to be unclear at the moment.
The actual cooking seems all right, although one task seems to have been nicked from Ready, Steady, Cook, and it’s difficult to tell how the cooking and judging differs from Masterchef – although it does lack crumbs, broths or purées.
In essence, Britain’s Best Home Cook is a Frankenstein show – bits bolted together in a terrible pastiche of a show.
Unlike the Monster, however, it’s definitely less than the sum of its parts.
Taskmaster (Dave, Wednesdays, 9pm) has returned, and it hasn’t lost its place as the silliest, funniest, most inventive bit of television around. Proof simple ideas can be the best.
Watching Prime Suspect (Netflix) is a shock. Everyone smokes like chimneys and there are no computers. The sexism against Helen Mirren’s DCI Tennison seems depressingly modern though.