Channel 4 viewers bamboozled by Gregg Wallace mockumentary about ‘eating human meat’

Viewers were unsure if ‘The British Miracle Meat’ was real or not

Isobel Lewis
Thursday 27 July 2023 06:35 BST
Gregg Wallace presents human meat mockumentary The British Miracle Meat

Channel 4 viewers have been left baffled by a Gregg Wallace-fronted mockumentary about eating human meat.

On Monday (24 July), the channel aired a new “documentary” from the Masterchef presenter, with the unassuming title Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat.

On the Channel 4 website, the episode description reads: “With food prices soaring, Gregg Wallace investigates a controversial new lab-grown meat product that its makers claim could provide a solution to the cost-of-living crisis.”

However, the show in question was actually a mockumentary created by comedy writer Matt Edmonds. It sees Wallace – who hosts BBC Two documentary series Inside the Factory – introduced to a fake company called Good Harvest who are pioneering technology in the sales of “human meat” used by struggling people during the cost-of-living crisis.

Wallace, 58, is shown visiting a human meat-harvesting plant in Lincolnshire, where he meets some of the donors. Looking around the factory, he explains that “under EU law, we couldn’t possibly operate machines like this due to legislation. But now we can harvest people and pay them for their flesh”.

The host then travels to London, where TV chef Michel Roux Jr cooks the “meat” for him at his Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche.

The cooks try the so-called human meat and attempt to guess which person it came from in a line-up.

In one shocking scene, viewers are also told that children under the age of seven, volunteered by their families, make for particularly good donors. Wallace is then offered some “toddler tartare”.

The mockumentary was created to raise awareness of the cost-of-living crisis and the lengths people will go to to keep their families out of poverty.

Wallace is shown meeting Gillian, a 67-year-old retired receptionist who has been forced to donate to look after her family when her plasterer husband’s back went.

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“Am I excited about donating?” she asked Wallace. “You know there’s something wrong when you’ve got to jump on a bus and have some flesh scooped out of your arm for money.”

At the episode’s end, Wallace explains: “No wonder the state is behind their sacrifice 100 per cent. The Trussell Trust says a future without food banks requires a benefits system that works for all and secure incomes so people can afford essentials. So it’s no surprise eating children seems a more likely path for our country.”

While The British Miracle Meat was a parody, many viewers admitted to falling for the episode’s conceit.

In The Guardian, Lucy Mangan wrote that “it took a shamefully long time for me to work out what was going on”.

The Telegraph’s Anita Singh, meanwhile, called it “a Black Mirror episode stripped of cleverness and subtlety”.

Twitter users were equally bamboozled, with one commenter writing: “Just caught the end of some kind of f***ed up Black Mirror style s*** on Gregg Wallace’s The British Miracle Meat in which a scared woman was having her flesh harvested to pay her energy bills. That couldn’t have been real surely?! Surely? It’s impossible to tell nowadays.”

Others also fell for the episode, one viewer asking: “Gregg Wallace: The British Miracle Meat on Channel 4 is like an episode of Black Mirror. Harvested human meat… is it April first?”

“This Gregg Wallace meat program on C4 had me going for about 30 seconds, nice try mate…. I’m assuming this is a test to see how people can fall for fake news?” one commenter asked.

“Is anyone watching this Gregg Wallace show on Channel 4? This absolutely cannot be real. WTF am I watching. My stomach is turning,” another commenter said.

“I am not buying this Gregg Wallace miracle human meat program on C4,” another tweet read. “It has to be a spoof, they all look like actors. Is it a joke?”

Food critic Jay Rayner seemed equally baffled by the whole thing, writing: “So @Channel4 is currently running a two-minute sixth form comedy sketch, as a 30-minute fake doc. Fronted by Greg Wallace. I mean. Okay. On you go.”

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