When good TV goes bad: why we’ve all had un oeuf of Saturday Kitchen

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The departure of James Martin gave the show the chance to ditch the lamentable Omelette Challenge and add some fresh ingredients. Did it bother? N(egg)ative

It would be so very easy to pinpoint Saturday Kitchen’s elasmobranch-vaulting moment as the one when James Martin decided to up sticks, thus depriving the nation’s hungover of bi-hourly reminders that their host comes from Yorkshire. For sure, ever since he ecky-thumped a hole in the studio wall and made good his escape, the show has endured a torturous throw-a-load-of-chefs-at-the-wall-and-see-who-sticks search for a host who matches Martin’s chubby bonhomie, failing every time.

The problems are obvious and many: Michel Roux Jr, for example, has all the presentational warmth of a Gaboon viper, while John Torode attempting matey badinage comes across with all the sincerity of Theresa May recounting episodes of wheat field-related malfeasance from her childhood. Elsewhere, Angela Hartnett’s horrible, whining, rusty-nails-on-slate delivery is enough to turn all of the dairy products in the studio. If scientists ever found a way to weaponise her throttled vowel sounds, we’d have world peace within a year.

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