Watching TV just doesn’t get any tougher than this


THE seventh series of the MasterChef’s revamp including new X Factor-style auditions has just started on British TV. And it’s … dreadful. Has been dreadful since 2005. It was a good show when Lloyd Grossman presented it – it was actually about food and cooking. It went downhill when it ‘went large’, and now it’s become a grotesque travesty of itself. It’s like a cookery show spoof on The Day Today. Bring back Lloyd Grossman. Or even his successor, Gary Rhodes.

Food used to be centre-stage. Now it’s an opportunity for the presenters to be theatrical and the contestants emotional. It’s stopped being a cooking competition and is now merely an Eggs Factor-style elimination/ entertainment programme (because we really need another of those), only this one just happens to have a kitchen in the background. I thought I’d give it another chance for the new series and it didn’t fail to disappoint.

With this new format, I was bored within the first five minutes. A couple of minutes later I fully expected Gordon Ramsay to leap out of the wings and start abusing the contestants. It’s based on the win-lose formula that needs viewers to empathise with the competitors and the winner. It’s misery TV that has no place anywhere.


It just gives John and Gregg more opportunities to tell us: “they’re going to have to step it up”, “this is where it counts”, “the pressure’s really on” as they build the contestants up for a fall, pause, and then tell them they’re through to the next round.

Every night of the week the schedules are already jam-packed with X Factor clones. How soon then can we expect the rebranding of News at Ten when news anchors have to read the news in a style chosen by the audience while riding a bike? When there’ll be lots of foreboding music and the walk of shame if they fluff a line. When Anne Robinson will hurl insults throughout and their relatives will be on hand to provide an insight into their troubled background and the “journey” they’ve travelled.

In short, this MasterChef is a messy dish with incompatible ingredients and overdosing on its own cleverness. Programme makeovers. Don’t. Get any. Tackier. Than this.

And so another serving of Dead Horse lightly flogged and served in a stale jus. Is there really nothing else the BBC could serve up? A completely pointless revamp of a successful show … and for that reason I’m out!



Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code ( available at Amazon. Profits to Cudeca 







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