I wonder if they drew whether it would go to penalties?

In recognition of the opening of the world cup this week the TV planners have been doing their utmost to schedule shows that would build anticipation. The zenith of which was a special Come Dine with Me, everyone’s favourite voyeur and fine dining miss-match which this week put on a footballer’s special where four ex-England players cooked for each other.

The players chosen for this fusion of football and food were Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock (who was stretching the criteria somewhat considering he had only two international caps), John ‘Awooga’ Fashanu, Frank Worthington and Carlton Palmer. It was an eclectic bunch: considering we had the disgusting in Ruddock (who answered the door for some reason wearing nothing but an apron), the old in Worthington, the condescending in Fash (who seemed to think of himself as a street philosopher) and the stupid in Carlton Palmer (who masterfully deduced that a banoffee pie was a kind of pie).

The concept at first did could conjur up some weird ideas: like that the hosts might prepare some kind of England themed courses, such as a ‘Butcher cut’ for a main (a bloody steak named after human blood pack Terry Butcher), or Roony-potatoes - so called because the star striker looks a bit like one. Sadly the best we got was ‘Razor’ Ruddock preparing a pasta dish called ‘big boys pasta’, which only seemed to be named after the fact he served up such huge portions of the stuff to his guests.

The rest of the show was a whirlwind of has-beens, banter, some cringeworthy antics and the unsurprising revelation that footballers aren’t generally very good cooks. Well, except for Carlton Palmer who turned out a fine, and a rather more complex meal than his counterparts who were knocking out nothing trickier than prawn cocktails and spag bol. There was the odd disaster, like Ruddock burning his entrĂ©e much to the screeching panic of his Barbi-I mean wife, or ‘Worthy’ pouring straight vinegar onto his starter instead of the vinaigrette he’d just prepared. None of this however, topped Fash’s menu, which was incredibly average, although that didn’t stop him heartily congratulated himself for making a top class meal. He came last.

However, an interesting point about Come Dine with Me Footballers Special that made it distinctly different to other Come Dine With Me episodes, was that it was a very good tempered affair. There was none of the bitching and petty rivalries, such as one snooty guest nit-picking ever miniscule fault with the food, or having one twattish guest winding up everyone with foul or arseholish behaviour - Neil Ruddock did come close, but none of the others seemed to mind that much. Also I couldn’t help but chuckle every time Fash appeared as I couldn’t stop thinking of the foreboding music used the in Day Today skit on him.


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