Why must sex pervade everything on TV? Not even Mary Berry's mince pies are safe

By the time the festive Nigella popped up, bosom heaving, viewers were in need of Viagra. Thankfully, she had a massive supply.

Share

Might it be possible, just for one moment, to accept that not everything in life has to be sexy? And that this need not threaten the survival of sex. In fact, it might even enhance it. In a world where sex is used to sell everything – from stale panettone and suet-free mincemeat to Royal icing and Mary Berry’s mince pies – as a nation we are surely in danger of wanting to becoming entirely celibate.

This week has seen a bumper crop of Christmas foodie TV shows. What did they all have in common? Honey-toned voiceovers, lingering shots of bulging foodstuffs, and a cornucopia of soft-focus shots and come-hither looks. And all this before Nigella had pouted, “I want a really nubbly filling”.

It’s hardly a new thing to suggest that Nigella Lawson’s shows are filled with innuendo. But now even poor Mary Berry is not immune to the sexification of everything but the kitchen sink. Except, in the case of the Great British Bake-Off Christmas Masterclass, this included, of course, the kitchen sink. It was a Shaker-style sunken Dublin to die for. Or at least to take out a second mortgage for.

Other than the eye-watering close-ups of raspberries hitting their targets, the festive Bake-Off itself was relatively innocent. But the trailer... Weaving together Nigella’s heavy breathing and Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood’s knowing looks, it was a frightening thing to behold. It featured a soundtrack of a barely conscious Rupert Penry-Jones sounding as if he was lying on a sun-lounger on the set of Boogie Nights. And was that a lascivious wink over the “heavily beaten” egg whites that passed between Berry and Hollywood? If there wasn’t, then the programme’s editors willed it there.

In recent months, MasterChef has tried hard to get away from the “food porn” that has become the norm, by emphasising technique and the importance of being obsessive-compulsive at all times. But Michel’s Classics sadly only serves to showcase how far down the road of fetishisation we’ve come. Freshly scrubbed, attractive Frenchman proffering Burgundian freshwater bouillabaisse, anyone? Non, merci. Can we have fish fingers grilled by Nora Batty, please?

By the time the festive Nigella popped up, bosom heaving, viewers were in need of Viagra. Thankfully, she had a massive supply. The script was worthy of a Carry On film: “Pour it in as slowly as I can bear...”, “Wonderful, voluptuous cream...”, “Just what I always want to find in my stocking!” This is what it has come to. Fifty Shades: The Festive Feast. I watched it open-mouthed. Which seemed appropriate.

What do I most want in my stocking this year? A world where no one on Christmas cookery shows makes nudge-nudge wink-wink gestures to actual stockings. I’ll leave a carrot out, Santa. Don’t do anything rude with it.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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