CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on last night’s TV

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS on last night's TV


Celebrity MasterChef

Rating:

Shetland

Rating:

Showing off his culinary skills on his programme about grief earlier this week, the Rev Richard Coles dropped vegetables on the floor.

Dirt enhances the flavour, he said blithely, before dusting them off and serving them. ‘I won Celebrity MasterChef,’ he added.

That confirmed everything I’ve always suspected about the cookery show, which has been running since 2006. Unlike the amateur contestants on the main series, most of the Celebrity MasterChef (BBC1) line-up don’t know one end of a blender from the other.

Unlike the amateur contestants on the main series, most of the Celebrity MasterChef (BBC1) line-up don’t know one end of a blender from the other

Unlike the amateur contestants on the main series, most of the Celebrity MasterChef (BBC1) line-up don’t know one end of a blender from the other

Unlike the amateur contestants on the main series, most of the Celebrity MasterChef (BBC1) line-up don’t know one end of a blender from the other

We’re meant to believe the celebs donning aprons spend all their free time in the kitchen. The truth is that some of them wouldn’t know how to open a pre-packaged sandwich from Pret. They’d have to get their personal assistants to do it.

Nancy Dell’Olio’s pretence at competence collapsed as soon as presenter Gregg Wallace asked what staples she kept in her fridge. ‘Champagne,’ she admitted.

Gregg and Nancy did a pre-rehearsed gag about her ‘favourite thing to make for dinner — a reservation at a restaurant!’

Another joke Gregg had prepared earlier was served as he chatted to Paul Elliott, much loved as one half of the Chuckle Brothers.

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Inspecting Paul’s recipe, Gregg declared: ‘Doesn’t sound like a bad idea . . . to me!’

‘To you?’ Paul replied obediently. ‘To me! To you!’ they chorused, echoing the Chuckles’ catchphrase.

On Celebrity MasterChef, all jokes must be flattened with a meat tenderiser to ensure that no scrap of spontaneity survives.

Sauntering over to Love Island star Faye Winter, Gregg asked what she was cooking. When she told him uncertainly that it was a chicken, he corrected her with a condescending smile: ‘It’s a poo, son.’

Even in these gender-fluid days, it seemed a bit familiar to call Faye ‘son’. Then I realised Gregg was attempting French. The bird was a poussin.

Faye admitted she was daunted to be surrounded by so many well-known faces. Gregg grinned, as Faye lowered her voice. ‘I grew up fancying . . . Danny,’ she whispered, gesturing to the former boyband singer Danny Jones from McFly.

Mummy issues of the night 

Deposed Russian tsar Peter (Nicholas Hoult) was locked in his rooms with the preserved corpse of his mother in The Great (C4). In a one-sided row, he accidentally smashed her skull. That’s no way to treat the head of the family.

Gregg’s grin turned into lockjaw. He wasn’t expecting the sentence to end that way.

Meanwhile, stand-up comedian Kae Kurd was cooking rib-eye steak. Despite this, he wanted us to know he was vegan for eight months. Good lad. That’s what we expect from our celebs — a combination of stupidity and virtue-signalling. He’ll go far.

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DI Jimmy Perez will go far at the end of the new series of Shetland (BBC1), though how far he voyages from the northernmost tip of Britain, we’ll have to wait and see. The character is hugely popular, and we have to hope the Beeb doesn’t make the crashing mistake of killing him off when actor Douglas Henshall leaves.

Jimmy’s best mate Duncan has already been sidelined — though actor Mark Bonnar delivered a show-stealing cameo in the first scene, as a broken man in prison. As he clutched a contraband Toffee Crisp, his shoulders slumped so far I was afraid his arms might actually drop off.

DI Jimmy Perez will go far at the end of the new series of Shetland (BBC1), though how far he voyages from the northernmost tip of Britain, we’ll have to wait and see. The character is hugely popular, and we have to hope the Beeb doesn’t make the crashing mistake of killing him off when actor Douglas Henshall leaves

DI Jimmy Perez will go far at the end of the new series of Shetland (BBC1), though how far he voyages from the northernmost tip of Britain, we’ll have to wait and see. The character is hugely popular, and we have to hope the Beeb doesn’t make the crashing mistake of killing him off when actor Douglas Henshall leaves

DI Jimmy Perez will go far at the end of the new series of Shetland (BBC1), though how far he voyages from the northernmost tip of Britain, we’ll have to wait and see. The character is hugely popular, and we have to hope the Beeb doesn’t make the crashing mistake of killing him off when actor Douglas Henshall leaves

Otherwise, Jimmy Perez’s last case promises to be very like the others. There’s a whiff of Nordic mythology, pagan bonfires on the beach, drugs crime imported from the mainland and the inevitable body in a suitcase.

Chief suspects are a couple who run a remote B&B, and fight bitterly when they think no one’s looking, like shopkeepers John and Mary in Father Ted.

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These days, of course, Father Ted would be a noir murder serial. I’d love to see Mrs Doyle the housekeeper conduct an interrogation: ‘Will ye admit ye killed him? Ah, go on, go on, go on . . . ‘



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