Thursday, October 29, 2009


Eet's baack! Raymond and his sniffy cohorts 'ave anuzzair bunch of 'ow you say...numpties with ambitions to open their own eatery. This week we get to meet the contestants and they get to cook for Raymond and his fearsome assistants. First, they take to the streets of Bristol.

Now, I'm sure that Bristol has a wide range of high end and speciality food shops, but for some reason our contestants are in Morrisons. Or is it Asda? I wouldn't know: I shop at Ocado, darling.

Ho we go, in the live as-it-happens blog, straight from our lovely new laptop...

Team Nigeria
A midwife and a lady who does the announcements on the Piccadilly line. They want to put Nigerian food on the culinary map because nobody eats Nigerian food (apart from Nigerians and a few Scots mechanics and nurses nostalgic for their VSO days when they drank Gulder beer under the desert sky.). They (or the producers) don't seem to realise that Bristol, being one of the main centres of slavery in the 17th century and all, also has a large African Caribbean community, and thus fail to find a butcher selling goat. They have to make do with mutton for a mutton stew and rice and it looks totally tasty. Raymond and co do much chewing and accuse the girls of "murdairing the lamb". They also don't think it looks very nice. I disagree.

I haven't got a name for Mother & Son team yet. She's a food stylist: he wears pratty glasses and prattles on about wanting to cook the produce from his allotment. Having been shot down in flames by Raymond and his lieutenants, he retires, tongue-tied.

Team Essex
He's a hospital chef: she's an estate agent with a lovely whiney estate agent voice and they overcook a chocolate pudding. I remember the hospital food my late grandmother got served...

...want to open a multicultural restaurant that definitely isn't a curry house. The trouble is, they don't actually know how to cook. Raymond has to intervene when they try to open a tin of condensed milk with a very very big knife, and show them how to use a can-opener.

I wanted to keep them in simply for the comedy value. Spoilsport Raymond asks for them to leave immediately.

Team NotGay
The traditional "best friends" Nathan and Chris want to bring high-end food to the mid-priced market. Chris works for a diet boot camp in Wales, and wants to stop cooking beans and mushrooms. His pork Wellington goes completely wrong, and he's reduced to cooking a fillet while Nathan flaps about. It's actually quite nice.

Team Blonde
First seen devising their vision of locally sourced, seasonal food in the corridor, then in the next scene cooking up some frozen peas. Well, that's a good start. Scallops with pea and mint puree isn't the most original of dishes, and Raymond points out they cooked their peas for 25 minutes.

Team Winker
A couple of 80s haircuts called JJ and James. JJ makes cocktails and James runs the bar that JJ works in. Their idea is picnic food in a restaurant setting. Well that was the one that didn't go away when they sobered up. Raymond is perturbed by JJ's habit of winking at him. James looks a bit perturbed at the idea of actually doing anything that doesn't involve sitting at a bar with a glass in his hand. The pear and strawberry crumble is more like a sugary dough with a few bits of fruit underneath. Raymond: pas heureux.

Team Miliband
Barney is an army chef and Badger is ex-logistics. Barney looks a bit like David Miliband. Badger barks orders, and Barney looks harried. He has to consult Raymond about his over-salted stock.

Apparently Mrs IKEA is married to George Best, and lived in Sweden for a bit in the 80s, so she's going to make gravadlax and beetroot salad. Raymond and co note that all she has done is open some packets of Asda smoked salmon and mix some veg with sour cream.

It turns out that I didn't need a team name for Mother&Son because Raymond decides that for zem, the journey is over.

Next week, they're let loose on an unsuspecting public. Team Winker runs out of scotch eggs or something. George Best says he can't cope, and Team Nigeria is seen offering free drinks to waiting customers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


We’re coming to terms with the new format now, and I suppose it makes sense to do it all in one big fat show, just the way it is recorded, than in two shows. For one thing we get fewer silly interludes.

Well, that’s what we thought, then while we were minding our own business, pondering another glass of wine and shifting the cat between laps, we get some middle-aged blokes bouncing onto the stage doing not-very-good tapdancing that wasn’t even in time to the music. And THEN we get Amy Winehouse looking grumpy as she sings backing vocals on some fake-doowop nonsense that even Darts would have thought a bit naff. Amy looked quite healthy, despite the “community service” expression, sang flat, and forgot to wave her arms in time to the music. Her god-daughter had a lovely belter of a voice though – even though her name that nobody remembered anyway has now been changed to “Amy Winehouse’s god-daughter”.

At this point I could digress into musing about Amy Winehouse’s qualifications for godmotherhood (job description: stand witness at baptism ceremony and promise to keep kid on path of righteousness etc…), but to be honest I wish people would leave her alone and let her get on with writing some more lovely songs, so on with the dancing.

BOOBWATCH: we liked Tess’s asymmetric red satin sheath. Suited her.

Brucie did some lame stuff about Twitter (sooo 2008), and then it was straight onto:

OK Producers, enough of the “oooh no, will Tanya Turner be any good this week” nonsense. So what if she stamps on Wolverine’s paws in training? That’s what training is about. Tanya sparkles like an old-fashioned movie star, and delivers a graceful Foxtrot. Lots of walking about and a bit too sedate for my liking, but good.

Once again, Ola has raided the handkerchief and haberdashery section in John Lewis for her costume. Chris has to Act Sexy, which is quite painful to behold. He poses self consciously and wriggles his hips a bit. But I’m reminded of John Mills going down with a submarine rather than the sultry streets of Havana.

Lynda’s battle with the costume department has come to an end. And the costume department won. Lynda’s costume theme this series seems to have been “Brothel Madams of Days Gone By”. This week: 1940s Western Brothel Madam. Her foxtrot was very sedate, but NOT ENOUGH. Craig and Alesha voted to save her, but Len saw the agony in her eyes at the thought of another week of looking like a giant salmon with a perm, and said she had to go. I’ve never seen a woman look so relieved.

Bloody good. Not quite a ten, but nearly there.

Brucie makes a lame joke about Jo losing a Stone (geddit). Jo smiles politely. Brendan still hauling the poor old thing around the dancefloor, but she’s getting better

Moomin has worked her Moomin magic on Creepio: he’s now quite sweet and they spend a lot of time giggling and cuddling chastely. Moomin’s salsa is a proper PAR-TAY salsa with lots of jiggling of sequins and tassles flying everywhere. Loved it. Craig wasn’t so sure and earned a Look of Hate from Len.

Oh dear, he’s bringing his comedy dad into rehearsals now. This week there isn’t any belt nonsense, but he still has problems with his timing. The public like him though, and so he clings on for another week.

Lots of hugging and kissing and shows of solidarity in the face of hostile media opinion. Yeah, OK we get the message. Laila likes Anton, and he has apologised. We will now move on.

This week’s foxtrot is all glidey loveliness and perfect timing, and earns them a lovely 34. And the great British public decides to keep them in to see if Anton manages to insult another minority grouping next week.

Ricky’s got a big Hollyoaks storyline right now (so that’ll be a big underwear fashion show, male rape, teacher assault or…?), so he’s working really hard, learning lines, doing dancing…doing acting… OK, I’m not a Hollyoaks fan, but he does a lovely little salsa with perfect hips and timing. The judges are slightly disappointed, and tell him he could do better. Ricky: notbothered.

Corrie boy is starting to grow on me. He’s got an interesting face, and he’s a bit intense. The foxtrot, however, is notverygood. Poor old Craig looks like he’s about to be shot, and the judges tell him to get a grip. Only Len saves him in the final dance-off, but you can tell he’s on borrowed time. Borrowed time!

Or, the Battle of Phil’s knee. Lots of hip wiggling and a slightly embarrassing solo turn, and plenty of gurning. Phil is getting lean and mean again, which is nice to see (for me anyway).

I wasn’t sure about the red satin ruffles, but Mr P liked them. They covered a lot of floor, both being tall and all, and there was lots of energy and pizzazz. The ending was some odd thing where Jade did a handstand and pretended to be the Isle of Man flag, and popped out of her dress. Not quite sure which bit was accidental. Judges were very nice about it all, but then gave them rather indifferent points. Ian: tight-lipped.

Monday, October 05, 2009


Now, I do have two weeks' worth of notes, but there has been so much going on*, this is going to be a slightly hurried round up of how everybody's doing.

Early exits for Richard Dunwoody and Rav Wilding. Dunwoody was very sweet, but looked like he'd rather be digging up Shergar and running him in the Grand National than doing a paso doble. Rav gave it a go, but he was too clunky and a bit bland for the judges and the Great British Public.

So, in alphabetical order

After a lovely waltz in the first week, the Hollyoaks/Bill siren seems to be boringly good and sweet-natured, and she gets on well with Brian's weird eyebrows. Brian still looks like the result of a bizarre gene-splicing experiment between Donny Osmond and John Waters, and his hips are still snakey. Though if we're to believe the tabloids, they're doing more than just dancing...

The first of the oldie-but-hottie ladies suffers from the costume department's concept of what a size 14 lady should wear: whole slabs of sequins and then more sequins, and hair marcel-waved to within a inch of its life. Lynda seems to be the most reluctant dancer of them all. She tries her best, but I'm not convinced that her heart is in it.

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Despite this week's crystal-studded championship belt and a lot of faffing around with Kristina's skirt-that-turns-into-a-cape, this man is DOOMED. It's between Lynda and Joe for who goes next.

Creepio is still putting a brave face on the fact that his latest celeb is neither jailbait nor what one might call a natural dancing shape. But then, that's probably because Moomin is a) Strictly's BIGGEST fan, and b) she ain't half bad. OK, the turquoise fringing during the cha cha was probably a bit much, and we didn't like the duenna look she sported this week, but Moomin has plenty of moxie and chutzpah which might see her through to...oh I dunno...the quarter finals?

Now, you know how it is: the actors who play baddies are often utter sweeties in real life, so it should follow that somebody so annoying in Eastenders would be quite engaging when taken away from his screen wife Minty and the other screechers of Walford. I. Was. Wrong. If he keeps pulling those faces, I may have to invade the dancefloor and slap him myself.

One of the weirdest combinations of the year. We have Ola in her strange clothing choices, partnered with an early morning sports billy who manages to make a tango look like a jolly good prelude to a lovely evening of playing Risk. He's terribly enthusiastic, and tackles the ballroom dances with great vigour. But then he's oddly sedate in the Latin numbers.

The judges are unanimous in telling Jade to sort out her shoulders, but she's a nice, tall athletic girl who needs to get a bit of confidence.

Another weird genetic experiment, this time it's Julian Clary's straight lovechild. Craig's off Corrie, which means I have absolutely no idea who he is. But he seems like a nice boy who can dance a bit. Quarter finals, I think.

After lots of cunning "oooh she's pretty awful"-type editing and comments from Wolverine in the first week, Tanya Turner (for it is she) turns out to be bloody good at this dancing lark. Even though she giggles uncontrollably when Wolverine tells her to be more sexy.

Anton's "banter" has got him into a bit of trouble this week (and so it should), and mad Amber from Footba££er$ Wive$ doesn't appear to have gelled with our Tony on the dance floor either. Pity. She's lovely to watch.

Whoo! another cricketer! I love Tuffers, but his knees will be the death of him. As will his cheeky chappie charm. The new girl is rather good thoughbut

Mark's tip for the top is a possible next Lovely Ramps. He's lovely, he's good natured, and he moves like a crawling king snake. He will probably win, and Mark will be a happy man.

Jo is the other glamorous granny, but she readily admits that dancing isn't her thing. She's managed to lean on her rockstar mates to get a couple of half-decent tunes to dance to, but her most amazing achievement is to turn Brendan Cole into a bit of a hero. He's encouraging in rehearsals, and leaps hotly to her defence when Craig Upper-Norwood dares to criticise her fleckles, telling her not to listen " to that idiot from Australia". What is this? We can't have our favourite cockfarmer turning into an alright bloke...

Hopefully, now that the Friday show is no more, and we have the Saturday dance-a-thon instead, normal blogging service will be resumed next week

*(I might be an official Trisha-flicking dolescum these days, but I'm a bloody busy Trisha-flicking dolescum, what with the school run, PTA meetings and house renovations - there's not much room for jobhunting, oh no...).

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