I got a fair amount of writing done yesterday; got the characters moving in the right directions, got some other bits and pieces ready for the final scene. I never get quite as much done on a Sunday as I expect to, and the main reason for this is one tv programme that seems to take up most of Sunday's schedule: Come Dine With Me.
If you haven't seen it, the concept is quite simple; four or five people take turns hosting a dinner party, they mark each other out of 10 in secret, and then the person with the most points gets a grand at the end of the week. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no interest at all in cookery programmes. I bloody hate them. I can't think of anything duller than listening to Jamie Oliver warble on about his spuds (although I have been known to watch Heston Bloominecks cock up Little Chef, or stick vibrators inside jellies- but that's not really cookery though, is it?)
The reason I love Come Dine With Me are the people that go on it. Every week, I will find myself asking "Where do they get them from? Really, where do they find them?" Because every group is a glorious collection of grade-A weirdos. First of all, there will always be one you are guaranteed to hate instantly, usually (distressingly enough) a woman of a certain age with a face like a smacked arse and frightening upper arms (I wish there were more hateable men on the show, but it's just not the case). Half of the people there you will wonder why they went on the programme at all, because they clearly can't cook and in fact seem rather surprised by their own kitchens, as if they have never been in there before. It's always these people who are making something they've never made before, with a gadget they bought that morning and haven't bothered to read the instructions for yet. One chap even still had the little wire twines around the plug flex, so fresh was his ice-cream maker from its box. Cue a series of disasters as things go up in flames, vital meats are left out of the oven, or in the oven too long, fingers are cut open, cats eat the appetisers, plasters are left in mixing bowls... One elderly chap put very obviously blue coloured liqueur on his crepes, and then wondered why they turned fairy liquid green. How he could not notice the big blue bottle was full of blue stuff, I do not know.
The other half of these weirdos go on there purely to show off the house they are so dreadfully proud of, which normally looks like it was furnished by the dodgy shop round the corner from me that sells lifesize porcelain labradors, and framed paintings of snow leopards. And then there are the people that just seem to make no sense at all. Last night's episodes contained two; the guy who decided to do a full christmas themed dinner (with decorations and santa costumes) in the middle of summer, and gave the vegetarian of the group her veggie option with pigs in blankets on the side. And then there was the barrister who was terrified of people, who named his hero as being Bart Simpson, and when asked to turn up in Christmas gear arrived as an Aussie surfer. With a rugby ball.
The crowning glory on all this is the fantastically sarcastic voiceover by Dave Lamb. We love to bitch at the people on this show, but Lamb is right there with us. Possibly his greatest comment ever came on yesterday's episode; "Gordon Ramsey would tell you to f**k off." Brilliant.
So if you're not watching Come Dine With Me, for christ sake watch it, it's the best thing on tele on a Sunday by miles, if not all week. It will remain my favourite mainstream programme, at least until the Apprentice comes back anyway, the Holy Grail of Hateful Bastard TV. Can't wait!