Last night's viewing - Nigellissima, BBC2; Birds, Balls and Brighton, More4; Being Liverpool, Channel 5

 

Nigella has always prided herself on her adjectives and coinages, but I'm guessing that at least one of those deployed in Nigellissima – in which she reclaims the territory lately probed by young pretenders such as Lorraine Pascale and Rachel Khoo – was a lawyer's grace note. It occurred during her instructions for the Tuscan chips that she insisted were a compulsory accompaniment to her steak tagliata.

Start by dropping your chips in cold oil, she suggested (no, really, trust her on this) and then add fresh garlic and herbs "dropped gently into the bubbling oil towards the end of the cooking". She stressed the "gently" and even more pointedly when she said it again later. The BBC doesn't want a class action for splash burns, you understand, so although this sounded like a classic instance of the blurred intersection between sex and cookery that Nigella has made her own, I think it was actually a rare example of un-eroticised technical advice.

I supposes we're meant to take Nigellissima as meaning something like "quintessence of Nigella". And certainly some kind of distillation seems to have taken place. I don't know whether it's ungallant to point out that she takes up quite a lot less screen space than in previous series or whether it would be ungallant not to mention it. But it's true anyway. She is positively Sophia Lorenesque here, which fits rather nicely with the food – a kind of naturalised Notting Hill version of Italian dishes – a cuisine which, she told us, has been an enduring influence on her since she worked as a chambermaid in a Florence hotel (a biographical detail that I fear may have provoked cardiac arrhythmia in some of her older admirers).

Whether Italian cuisine will be grateful for this compliment is another question, because Nigella isn't exactly a gastronomic purist. For proof, see "meatzza" – a Nigella invention in which oat-spiked mince is substituted for pizza dough (it's essentially a Frisbee-sized hamburger with canned tomatoes and mozarella on top) – or check out her cheesecake, which blends Philadelphia cream cheese with a jar of Nutella (or "chocolate hazelnut paste" as Nigella dutifully called it). "Should I be embarrassed?" she asked, confessing that there wasn't an ingredient in the dish that hadn't come straight out of a packet. "I'm not." That, I guess, is what expands the Nigella demographic way beyond those who go to bed fantasising about her spoon-feeding them tiramisu. Where Gordon Ramsay's version of "easy" is strangely like an army calisthenics routine, Nigella's is easy like Sunday morning. If it's Italian food you're interested in, though, I'd recommend Marcella Hazan.

Birds, Balls and Brighton demonstrated the hazards for a sports documentary of tying itself too closely to a team's result. Notionally an account of Brighton's campaign to break into the Premiership, it was doomed to anti-climax by the fact that they didn't eventually make it. But allowing for that, it contained several nice moments that captured the intensity of football as seen from the terraces. Grant Phillips, a lifelong fan, showed off the club emblem tattooed on the back of his calves and also detailed his pre-match ritual, which extended to ensuring that his Brighton coffee mug was perched "on top of the pile" when he did the washing-up. And there was a nice sequence during the crucial match in which you followed the action on the pitch entirely through the faces of the supporters – hope and disappointment and elation scudding across their faces.

It was a better film, anyway, than Being Liverpool – a new Channel 5 series that brings to its subject all the trenchant revelation of a Hello! double-page spread. I imagine Liverpool fans will lap up the opportunity to see inside Stevie Gerrard's house and watch the team training, but even they should be able to see that we're in corporate-video territory here. The manager even got hero-cam slow-mo, for goodness' sake.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
TVDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
Arts and Entertainment
Laugh a minute: Steph Parker with Nigel Farage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Comic Ivor Dembina has staged his ‘Traditional Jewish Xmas Eve Show’ for the past 20 years; the JNF UK charity is linked to the Jewish National Fund, set up to fund Jewish people buying land in Palestinian territories
comedy

Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
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.

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?