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

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Arts and Entertainment
War veteran and father of Peter and Laust Thoger Jensen played by Lars Mikkelson

TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success

Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan in Far From The Madding Crowd
FilmCarey Mulligan’s Bathsheba would fit in better in The Hunger Games
Arts and Entertainment
Pandas-on-heat: Mary Ramsden's contribution is intended to evoke the compound the beasts smear around their habitat
Iart'm Here But You've Gone exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
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.

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk