01/09/2017 00:01 BST

James Martin Shuts Down Comparisons Between His New Weekend Cookery Show And 'Saturday Kitchen'

'If I started to do something like an omelette challenge, I would understand it.'

James Martin has played down comparisons between ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and his new weekend cookery series, insisting his latest project is “more relaxed”. 

The TV chef will be going head-to-head with his former BBC show this weekend when ‘Saturday Morning With James Martin’ launches on ITV. 

James is hosting 'Saturday Morning With James Martin' for ITV

James quit ‘Saturday Kitchen’ after 10 years in 2016, but was lured back to the time slot when ITV gave him the opportunity to front a new pre-recorded show from his own home. 

And James admitted he is hoping the fact it isn’t live or in a studio will stop people comparing it to ‘Saturday Kitchen’, as he claims ‘Saturday Morning’ will have “a totally different feel”. 

“I think if you see it, it’s not a comparison,” he told HuffPost UK. “The only comparison is me. I can’t change me.

“If it was a live, studio-based programme, I can see people making that assumption, but it’s a very different show. If I started to do something like an omelette challenge, I would understand it.

“We also don’t have an archive to rely on, so you’ve got a two hour show where we make everything. It’s more involved in me than the other show was, so it’s a lot more work.”

He added: “I think it’s more relaxed and I feel more relaxed because I’m in my house and I know where everything is and how the oven works!”

James hosted 'Saturday Kitchen' on BBC One for 10 years

James also claimed he is not seeing the fact his new show will air directly up against ‘Saturday Kitchen’ as competition, explaining he still has a special place in his heart for it.

“I have huge respect for ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and what it is,” he said. “I am still in touch with the guys who make it and I still get in touch with the BBC. 

“I don’t feel there’s any pressure there at all.”

James, who has been cooking on TV for 24 years, also opened up about his decision to throw in the towel on ‘Saturday Kitchen’, admitting he needed to return to his roots as a chef. 

He explained: “I left for a multitude of reasons really and I’ve got my balance back. I spent so much time doing television that you take your eye off the restaurants. I needed to get back in them - I’ve got people I employ and look after, and they’ve got families that rely on you.

“All my mates are chefs and they said I looked like shit. They told me to go back into the restaurants and do what I love - cooking.”

James's new show will also include celebrity guests

And while James has only been away from Saturday morning telly for 18 months, he said it was actually the public who lured him back, having initially turned down an offer from ITV when he first left ‘Saturday Kitchen’. 

He said: “Since I left, the public have been going, ‘for god’s sake, get yourself back on there’. Then I got called into ITV four months ago about pushing my daytime series into primetime, then just as I was leaving, they turned and said, ‘We’re not going to ask you this again as we’ve asked you before, but before you say no, this is some information on the viewing figures. If we commission 26 episodes at your place, it doesn’t have to be live and it can be chilled out and relaxed, what do you think?’.

“So I thought, ’do you know what? Life is too short, and I’ll give the public what they want.”

‘Saturday Morning With James Martin’ airs Saturdays from 2 September at 9.30am on ITV. 

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