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
Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
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

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

    Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

    Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
    Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

    Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

    Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting