Ready Steady Cook is back! Yep, I hadn’t realised that it wasn’t on any more either. I thought like This Morning, Homes Under the Hammer and the Jeremy Kyle Show, it was just “always there” (hold on, that last one might not have been the best example). Apparently, it finished in 2010. I must have been distracted by this new-fangled the Twitter to notice it (I only ever followed Stephen Fry in those days, so unless he tweeted about it, then it passed me by).
So what’s different?
- The presenter: Cuddly Fainsley (as no one ever called Ferne Britton and Ainsley Harriet) have been replaced by the elongated Rylan, who is now so famous and ubiquitous that he no longer needs a surname.
- The set: It’s bigger…much bigger. I think is mainly due to Rylan’s size. He is about 7 feet tall and 2/3 of that are his legs (the majority of the rest being teeth). On the old set he could walk between both kitchens with a half step. On this one he has room to shimmy from one to the other. The larder items are now in lovely glass jars and the whole set has the feeling of a hipster’s coffee shop.
- Hugging: the chefs now virtually sprint on and hug the contestants. Back in the day you were lucky if Kevin Woodford even gave you a firm handshake.
- Reusable bags: Gone are the plastic carriers and mince in plastic trays. It’s all hessian carriers, reusable net veg bags and meat wrapped in wax paper.
- The crowd applause time checks: “10 minutes to go!!” (Cue rapturous cheering. Who knew telling the time would become such a spectator sport?)
- The chefs: still never heard of any of them, but then again what did we know about Ainsley Harriet before the original series?
- The money: the money the contestants spend has gone from £5.00 up to an inflation busting £7.50. FYI That can buy you a 3 course meal from Aldi these days, so the whole exercise feels a bit moot.
- The format: the 20 min recipe is the same, but they now have a 10-minute round. Ingredients are selected by choosing from cards the audience holds up in a Countdown inspired “one from the top, one from the middle and one from the bottom” arrangement. In the first episode this led to one chef effectively producing a sausage spag bol with a side order of cheese on toast.
So what is the same?
- The contestants still do nothing: in the first episode one contestant sweated some spinach and the other stirred some strawberries for 20 minutes.
- The audience vote by holding up green peppers and red tomatoes: (just to spite the red-green colour blind viewers). I have to admit, this always foxed me. Surely you have to taste food to judge it, not just see it.
The original series ran from 1994 -2010, so let’s see if we are watching Rylan lopping around the set in 2036. (Actually by then he will have replaced Ant and Dec on Saturday night TV, or become Prime Minister).
Ready Steady Cook is on BBC 1 weekdays at 4:30 and on iPlayer.