Wednesday, August 29, 2007
COOKING! The Restaurant, BBC2, 8.00pm
2007 has not exactly been a vintage year for the reality genre, has it? It kicked off with Shilpagate during Celebrity Big Brother, prompting Channel 4 to "rest" that show for a bit (hooray!), then Sralan Sugar's decision to appoint Simon Ambrose as his next Apprentice brought the nation together in a unified expression of "wtf?" Strictly Dance Fever lost its summer schedule slot to DanceX, which turned out to be both incomprehensible and rubbish. Not to mention Endemol completely dropping the ball with regular Big Brother, and we're basically just left with Britain's Got Talent, which was apparently watched by everyone. Twice. Terrifying thought, isn't it?
Hoping to turn the tide of failure is The Restaurant, where nine couples compete to win a restaurant, financed by Raymond Blanc. Blanc has been in the press a fair bit saying things about how reality TV is far too mean, and he certainly doesn't intend to be unnecessarily mean to people. That's a tad worrying, because surely that's the only reason people watch reality shows in the first place, isn't it? But we'll see how this one goes. Surely most reality show contestants are sufficient to drive even the most mild-mannered person into fits of blaspheming rage, after all.
Special mention goes to the BBC3 spinoff, which is called The Restaurant: You're Fried. Whoever came up with that one should report to lowculture to be issued with a celebratory packet of biscuits in recognition of excellent work.