Christmas Supermarket Secrets, BBC1: Review - An undeniable nerdy satisfaction
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Thursday 12 December 2013
Gregg Wallace had no particular drama to narrate in Christmas Supermarket Secrets, but an abundance of detail with which to narrate it.
Is anyone really that interested in what goes on at a Sainsbury’s warehouse or Waitrose supplier in the run-up to Christmas? Apparently so, because someone at BBC1 commissioned this special for Supermarket Secrets, an occasional series in which our old MasterChef pal sets out to discover how the food we eat makes it onto the shelf.
You might think that a foolhardy endeavour, post-horsemeat, but there was nothing here to put you off your Christmas dinner. Despite this, and the fact that he was once a greengrocer himself, Gregg spent the entire 60-minute programme in a constant state of astonishment. Here’s Gregg on sorting-depot drama: “The sorter has stopped because it doesn’t know what to do with a box!” Here’s Gregg on haulage methods: “Who knew! They’re moving wine around the world in giant bags!”
And yet... and yet... even without Gregg-level enthusiasm for forklift trucks, there was an undeniable nerdy satisfaction to be had in learning facts about everyday commercial processes. Did you know that Tesco is the biggest wine buyer in the world? Or that seven out of 10 supermarket trollies are built in the German city of Stuttgart? And I bet you’d love to discover which food items we buy most during the Christmas period. Go on, have three guesses...
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