Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Sticking the knife in (but using the correct knife, sweetie)
Hooray for The Dinner Party Inspectors. Victoria Mather and Meredith Etherington-Smith have arrived to complete the TV trinity of female duos who Tell It Like It Is.
Over the next few weeks on Channel 4, these ladies will be showing us how to run successful dinner parties (should we ever host such things) and why reading poetry to your guests mid-starter isn't such a good idea.
The pair politely comment on the conversation, etiquette, culinary finesse and table manners of the party guests.
We are sure we'll be as hooked on this series as we are on seeing people being dressed down/up (a la Trinny and Susannah), or ordered to clean up their filthy homes (Kim and Aggie).
But whereas What Not To Wear and How Clean is Your House? take forceful action in making changes in the lives of their subjects, Victoria and Meredith are far too polite to take such a direct role.
Instead, they find refuge in a back room with some breadsticks and a bottle of wine and watch the faux pas unfold.
At the end of it all, they send the party host a handwritten note mixing complements on the evening with gentle suggestions for the next occasion. Such as seating arrangements for guests who don't get on.
"Put one at one end of the table, and the other . . . the following week."
Our favourite moment tonight came when Meredith (a close friend of Princess Diana, we've discovered) almost lost her calm composure when one of the five courses prepared by the host arrived at the table.
"Palette cleanser? What the fu . . . er, What the heck is a palette cleanser?" she said.
The only thing we weren't too keen on were the guests themselves - which tonight featured a pretentious host, and a pair of irritating duelling women.
Let's hope future episodes selections of guests who are a little more down to earth (or as the inspectors would say: "Bohemians").