Last night's television: Dawn Porter: Free Lover, Channel 4; True Stories: Chosen, More 4; Jamie's Ministry of Food, Channel 4

Try that for starters

"If School Dinners was like Star Wars," said Jamie Oliver, "then this is going to be like The Empire Strikes Back." I couldn't immediately work out the analogy here. Did he mean that Jamie's Ministry of Food is the first of a string of increasingly flabby exploitations of a surprise hit? Or was it an acknowledgement that, despite the success of his assault on the Death Star of British eating habits, his enemies had regrouped and forced him into a desperate rearguard action? Either way, he began with an excursion into hostile territory – driving up to Rotherham in South Yorkshire to confront a woman who last graced our screens, if that's the right word, when she was filmed pushing chips and burgers through a school fence to crap-deprived children. Jamie wasn't exactly complimentary about her at the time, describing her as a "big old scrubber". Now, though, he was going to meet Julie Critchlow face to face and try to enlist her in his culinary-pyramid scheme, an attempt to get a whole town to teach itself how to cook.

It wasn't very long before she and her mum were eating out of his hand. But it was what they were eating that really worried Jamie – a virtually unbroken diet of takeaways that was replicated in almost every household he visited. His solution to this dietary poverty drew on the power of doubling. He taught two people a single recipe on condition that they would each teach it to two more and so on and so on. If everyone kept their word the entire town would be capable of making fresh spaghetti and meatballs in just 15 iterations. Unfortunately, they couldn't or wouldn't. And it wasn't always for lack of will. Natasha, a young woman determined to improve her children's diet, was ecstatic at her introduction to home cooking, and became Jamie's star pupil but then tearfully lapsed under the pressure of money worries and time. Other participants – one of whom didn't appear to know how to tell when water was boiling – had such a feeble grasp of the skills they'd acquired that they'd dropped them before they got a chance to pass them on.

Julie – one of those Northern women who take pride in the efficiency with that they can stamp on a dream – acquired a told-you-so smirk that understandably infuriated Jamie. Had people like Julie been around when the Wright brothers dreamt of transatlantic air travel, he said, the planes would never have flown: "Don't be ridiculous," he said, parodying the attitude. "Get on a boat like all the other bastards." So he tried another tack – setting up a shop-front cooking school in a Rotherham high street to try and pass on some basic skills. He's got another three episodes to make an impression, and there'll be those who say that reality television like this – a bit gimmicky, vulnerable to charges of snobbery and exploitation – is no way to do it. But they're Julies at heart, I think. They miss that he really means it, and how much it would mean if he's even a 10th as successful as he aims to be.

Brian Woods's sad, involving documentary Chosen, broadcast in the True Stories strand, left you feeling that no photograph can be trusted, and particularly not school photographs. His film was constructed from three long interviews with men who had been abused at the same British boarding school, and it repeatedly contrasted their memories of sexual assault with pictures of themselves as children, apparently innocent and in most cases untroubled. Occasionally, as the rostrum camera panned across a row of boys to close in on one face, you found yourself wondering how many other children there had secrets too. It was a film edited to preserve long, struggling pauses, as grown men chewed their lip and nerved themselves to speak. But when they did it was with a careful, nuanced clarity that precisely described the coils of guilt and imagined complicity that tightened around them at the time. The alleged chief perpetrator never came to trial after the case was stayed on grounds of "abuse of process", the argument being that he couldn't receive a fair trial so many years after the events in question. But he got a kind of trial here and the verdict was damning. When he retired he gave a speech in which he talked of how he would miss the boys and "their many fine qualities, which have often brightened my day". He'd darkened years and years himself.

In Dawn Porter: Free Lover, the presenter went off to investigate polyamory and open relationships, notionally an exploration of her own attitudes but actually a way of getting a very attractive woman into as many sexually titilating situations as possible. It turns out there is free love out there, but you pay a terrible price in pony-tails and new-age bullshit to get access to it.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test