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
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week