“Pointing out the obvious in clichéd soundbites DOESN’T get hammier than this..!”
An army marches on its stomach (and apparently plays hide-and-seek behind the heather too), especially a Scots one, but that’s no excuse for putting the three finalists in charge of their dinner in the open air of the Scottish Highlands, on Masterchef (BBC2) last night. As 30 armed-and-starved men from The Black Watch menacingly approached the chefs’ woodland base from the purple-hued hills, our three heroes battled it out with huge trays of belly-filling stodge, being cooked over a fiery hole in the ground or in an oven made out of an oil drum. They were under pressure as it was (the programme’s director seemed to be heavily implying, for the sake of drama, that they’d all be shot if dinner wasn’t ready by the time the soldiers had trudged to their tents), but there can’t be much in life more distracting than having Gregg Wallace and John Torode prodding them with irritatingly obvious questions, much sucking through their teeth and then making prematurely dire forecasts about their punctuality straight to camera within earshot.
Much as I admire self-styled ‘vegetable guru’ Wallace, I hoped the contestants would end up stuffing an apple in his mouth and sticking him in the oil drum; to make it more pleasant for him, maybe they’d smother him in his beloved toffee first. And while they were at it, lift the grill off the open hob and stick his Australian colleague into the fiery barbie-pit. Actually, there’s a series-winning meal in itself: Roasted Sticky Toffee-Apple Wallace, served with Celeriac Mash (naturally), with a side order of Torode-In-The-Hole. It’s going to be a fun week….