Great British Menu
Food and Drink
Great British Food Revival
Come Dine with Me
Country Show Cook Off
Food Glorious Food
Indian Food Made Easy
Saturday Kitchen Live
Nigel Slater's Simple Cooking
My Tasty Travels with Lynda Bellingham
Ant & Dec's Saturday Takeaway*
Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard
Saturday Kitchen Best Bites
The Little Paris Kitchen: Cooking with Rachel Khoo
That's just a selection of programmes that have been shown on the four main terrestrial channels this week alone - I've not included Channel 5 as, well, they don't really *do* cookery; not unless you include Steven Seagal's turn as a chef in Under Siege - and it's worth bearing in mind that many of the titles listed above go out pretty much every day of the week. Also, some of them go on for hours & hours. Fancy three hours of Come Dine With Me on a Saturday afternoon? You're in luck, sir/madam, as that's just what Channel Four serve up (har har).
BBCs One and Two are particularly culpable when it comes to this constant diet of cookery shows; if it wasn't for all the antiques programmes and repeats of Homes Under The Hammer and Shop A Scrounger** padding out much of the rest of their schedules, you could easily be forgiven for thinking you were tuned into one of the specialist cooking channels (they have those as well!) much of the time.
But just what is it that makes the TV schedulers so keen on forcing all these culinary-based formats down our gullets day-in day-out? I mean, lots of people like caravanning. And knitting. Where are all the programmes about caravanning and knitting? And chess? Where's the chess love? Is British terrestrial television being secretly controlled by a sinister cabal of Jamie Oliver, Nigella and that comedy Italian bloke who won the celebrity jungle thing that time? I think we should be told.
Anyway, balls to all that. The only chef we really need to be seeing on TV never actually gets a look in now that it's not 1978 any more. Where's the justice in that? I ask you. Anyway, here he is. Talks more sense than all of the current rabble masquerading as celebrity cooks combined, too.
Honestly, though, enough of the cookery programmes already. I suppose you could argue that eating is something that everybody must do so it's only right that there should be lots of shows covering the preparation and consumption of food. But I'm not having this. If they were to really make TV based on what people do every day there'd be some pretty unpalatable stuff on our screens all the time. (Oh, actually, there is! Forget that bit!)
On a serious point, I can't imagine how this constant stream of fetishised images of food on our screens is helping ease the nation's obesity crisis one bit. No, it's high time the powers-that-be at the BBC, ITV & Channel 4 went on a cookery show crash diet and trimmed some of the flab from the schedules. What do we want? Caravanning and chess! When do we want it? Umm, straight after the Come Dine with Me omnibus and just before Masterchef: The Professionals. Sorted.
*Probably best to check the veracity of this one before publishing