TV on Trial

The Fabulous Baker Brothers

As a nation, we're in love with cooking. Or at least we're in love with watching cooking. There's no statistics to prove that there's people actually making Heston Blumenthal's recipes at home, but there's an audience for it. So why do TV programmers still think we need a kerr-azzy gimmick to be pulled into a show? That's the issue we had with the Fabulous Baker Brothers, which started last week on Channel 4.Focusing on brothers Tom & Henry, a baker and a butcher/chef respectively, the show is apparently out to prove that baking 'is not just for girls'. That sounds like a '70s Yorkie advert, but it's a genuine quote from their website.

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Desperate to show off how manly baking is, they resort to the sort of cliches you see in a Just for Men advert. There's a tepid Razorlite-lite indie soundtrack, editing lifted straight from a music video and lots of manly chopping at things. We also learn that the guys are very competitive, albeit in a way that only shows itself in Apprentice-style quotes.

They also talk like a cookery obsessed Hulk Hogan, just in case you think big knives and plenty of meat wasn't manly enough. Choice sample: "We're knocking up some killer recipes, guaranteed to wrestle even the most humungous hunger pangs to the ground and make them cry for mercy, brother". They didn't say brother, but they could have.

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If you want to get people into something, how about just showing it in the simplest way possible? You could even leave the recipes up on the website so they could be recreated. If you really want to push it, you could even add links to the products so they could be easily purchased online. Or, if you're Channel 4, you can search the country for relatives who can cook and playfight.

Channel 4, 8:30pm, Tuesdays