Move over, Nigella: TV's new chefs are hairy bikers

Like a cross between the Two Fat Ladies (Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson) and Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman on their round-the-world motorbike challenge, Dave Myers and Si Young's shows look to be as much a travelogue as a culinary experience.

They won their first moment of fame on British screens in January in a pilot programme, driving through Portugal to search out its best gourmet delicacies.

After a phenomenal public reaction, BBC2 has commissioned 12 shows, which are due to start this autumn. Michael Joseph has agreed a six-figure publishing deal sufficiently sizeable to set tongues wagging. The show, yet to be named, is filming in Transylvania and the series will also visit Namibia, Mexico, Lebanon, Syria, Vietnam and Ireland.

Part of their charm appears to have been the gentle air of civilisation. In the words of one television critic about the pilot, instead of being "two fearsome geezers on great, roaring choppers", they seemed almost sedate, with their Scout-like roadside cooking equipment of stoves and pots and pans.

Even when one confessed to an erotic dream, it took the form of a naked Delia Smith bearing a bowl of garlic mash. They appear as men whose love of motorcycles is matched by a fondness for their food.

Camilla Stoddart, the editorial director at Michael Joseph, which beat several other publishers at an auction to sign them, admitted she had missed the original pilot programme. "It snuck out without anybody noticing, but the public went bananas and inundated the BBC website with wonderful comments," she said.

She is convinced that the mix of travel and cookery, seasoned with the men's native northern wit, is a combination that works. "They're not just about cookery; they're adventurers and very, very funny," she said.

"People are getting more excited about food in this country but the role models they have apart from Jamie Oliver are still quite chef-y. To be a foodie in this country is considered snobby and middle-class.

"But these guys are completely unpretentious about food. They're realistic and down to earth and just love food. They're greedy and the way they cook is just really normal, apart from being by the side of the road. They show how easy it is."

When Myers was seen frying onions in olive oil in Portugal, Young brought northern colour to the table. "They are sweating like a Geordie in a spelling test," he said. Rubbing marinade into a suckling pig was "like putting suntan oil on your lass's back, you know, it's great", he said.

The two men met on the set on a television drama and have both worked in the film business. Young, who comes from Newcastle upon Tyne, where he lives with his partner and three children, is an assistant director whose recent work includes the Harry Potter films.

Myers was born in Barrow-in-Furness and worked as a furnaceman in a steelworks before taking a fine arts degree and joining the BBC. He is a make-up artist who specialises in prosthetic limbs and has worked on series including Lives and Loves of a She-Devil and the spy drama Spooks. He lives on Roa Island in Morecambe Bay, where he is the local sailing club champion.

Now a new career beckons for both men. "They've given this up to be full-time hairy bikers," Ms Stoddart said.

The television series is expected to be broadcast in two tranches, with six episodes before Christmas and the rest afterwards. The first of two commissioned books, The Hairy Bikers' Cookbook, will be published in the spring.

Suggested Topics
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    '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
    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