What he's managed to do for music, so Simon Cowell began his campaign to do the same for British food - hunt down the nation's most novel offering, play on the appeal of the interesting, inspiring, above all different, and then package it up for crowd-pleasing, inoffensive, mass consumption.
Elements of many another cookery competition were put in the oven for a good old bake, and sprinkled with lots of 'Antique Roadshow' personal profferings for good measure.
Producers of this kind of show are well-versed now in the art of spotting the eccentric one in the background. Here, judge Loyd Grossman quite literally saw outdoor chef Trish cooking over an open fire out of the corner of his all-seeing eye. Cut to a package of Trish crushing her ingredients in a bucket with her bare feet (all to the jaunty chords of The Good Life - TOO SOON!). Her resulting pheasant was deemed interesting enough for a rosette from the man behind a billion sauce bottles, as though in a million years Marks and Spencers are going to get their factory cooks taking their socks off to cook... but Trish still gets my vote, just for asking out loud, "Who IS Loyd Grossman?"
Meanwhile. Nadine and son Andrew proffered Nan Sandwich Pudding Cake, perfected in their family Victorian tea-room. "I've been dressing up in all different costumes since I was 10," explained Andrew - and, from the looks of things, this wasn't worth disputing with the matriarch. These two were straight out of central casting for Midsomer Murders. Judge Tom Parker Bowles thought the cake needed more currants, I thought it needed a head appearing out of the top.
And the toughest nut to crack of all... the stern-faced WI chief Anne, determined not to part with any rosettes all day, until grinning Terry finally broke her, with the way to any woman's heart... flirtation and an oatcake.
Carol Vorderman had advertised this programme as "less X Factor, more Antiques Roadshow" but there remains still the saccharine, emotion-signposting tunes, sob-story edits and whacky cartoons around once-interesting people that is the pawprint of Simon Cowell.
I've got news for you, Mr Cowell and acolytes. This programme doesn't need it, possibly because you've whacked us over the head into speaking your language so fluently already. But don't underestimate us now - we know who's interesting, talented, inspiring (StarBistro, take a bow). Just ditch the tinkly, tear-drop musical garnish and let us enjoy the basic ingredients on offer in this assuredly appealing and pleasure-making show.
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