In the 1980s ‘scratch-and-sniff’ promised the worldwide screen-viewing public technological advancements directed towards the other dormant senses. This uncertain future died from a distinct lack of… well, certainty from the audience and since then the furthest humans have stretched in the entertainment industry is
A recent trend in television viewing has seen the growth in popularity of cookery programmes, as if executives realised (as Countdown should, similarly, be suffering) that their core fanbase for Ready, Steady, Cook are dying in large numbers, as is befitting of an audience that comprises almost entirely of pensioners.
Entitling my article ‘A Feast for the Eyes’ would have been too easy and would have been giving into an overwhelming urge prodding at me to gorge myself on all the potential food puns, but would have given an insight into the heart of my anger surrounding this matter (besides the banishment of Ainsley from the new trend of TV). My anger is tied to the supposedly fatal flaw of programmes about culinary culture… you can not taste the food. The harshest perpetrator of this atrocity is the new, revamped, post- Lloyd Grossman Masterchef and the detailed articulations of the two fat men presenting the programme. The merits submitted to the audience are unattainable and yet this audience (the demographic of which are accurately represented by my parents - tediously middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income suburbanites) are drawn into supporting a specific party (or chef). For once in a discussion about credibility of tv programming Big Brother wins, because at least the interest of the audience is sustained by a quality that is remotely accessible. The ramblings of one man who looks perpetually stoned (“yeah, food’s fucking brilliant! Please keep giving me more! Have you got any Frosties?”) and one man who seems to like everybody (“I like her, because she’s probably going to re-watch this and hate me”) are not the basis for any form of judgement. “The pheasant was overdone” completely alters the audience’s reception of the food by their brains when, if we’re honest, very few of us have had enough pheasant to know when it’s not just duck that we’re being swindled into paying more for.
The pinnacle of this tedium arrives at the point in which the key demographic (or target audience) were so well identified by the producers at Channel 4 that the middle-classes should feel ashamed to be so transparent. Come Dine With Me put dinner parties on television and has been met with great success. All the dressing-up, the politics, the competitiveness, the intimacy of a dinner party, but without the food. Perhaps dinner parties, like the programmes that are indulged in by dinner-party-goers/thrower