Inside television: Dining disasters go down a treat


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The Independent Culture

We’ll be sitting down to an early dinner this Monday. At 5pm, Channel 4 will is adding to its already 1,300-strong stockpile of Come Dine with Me episodes with a brand new couples-based spin-off. So what’s the show’s moreish special ingredient? Many fans will cite the sarky voiceover provided by comedian Dave Lamb, but, for me, it’s the food itself.

Most cookery TV shows aim to induce lifestyle envy, but bad food is so much more interesting than culinary perfection. What kind of disturbed mind, you wonder, comes up with English breakfast curry? What kind of stomach exercises are necessary to hold down a dish like mango and blue cheese salad? And what’s so surprising about Belfast beef surprise? Here’s a hint: that’s not beef you’re eating.

When trashy telly  is a guilty pleasure

 The trial of the century is soon to reach our screens. No, not phone hacking. We’re talking about that time in 1994 when Kathy from EastEnders sued The Sun, after they reported that she and her partner had been caught doing something rude in a Range Rover.

Trial reconstruction dramas are intrinsically salacious, but add a soap star protagonist, her tabloid foe and an A1 slip road and we must tip our hats to Channel 5. Amid strong competition from Nazi Titanic, The Trial of Gillian Taylforth, which is due to air next month will surely stand as the trashiest docu-drama of all time.

No word yet on casting, but I do know one actress who’s probably free and would be perfect. Has anyone got a number for Gillian Taylforth?