Playing fast and loose with the sobriquet "celebrity", twenty new faces lined up to be shouted at by Gregg Wallace and John Torode, a duo known primarily for sitting in separate rooms and pretending to hold a conversation with each other.
The contestants comprised Yvette Fielding (I genuinely have no idea who this woman is), Tish Potter (ditto), Sheree Murphy who used to be in Emmerdale a thousand years ago, Chesney Hawkes and Sarah Harding, who cannot possibly believe how rubbish her life has turned out compared with Cheryl's.
Anyway, they all had to cook a main course and despite looking very handy sharpening knives and doing that strange see-saw cutting thing that chefs do, Sarah's effort looked like roadkill surrounded by rabbit droppings. She said it was some pork thing with mushrooms but the camera cut away when John Torode was supposedly shovelling a huge forkful into his mouth, so go figure.
The five slebs were then split into two teams and packed off to real restaurants. Sarah was put in charge of the starter, which comprised pigs trotters, toast and caper and raisin puree. To my mind not so much a starter as a punishment, but hey, what would I know? Sheree had to fry some tuna and prat about with something referred to as emulsion, but turned out not to be Dulux. I forget what Chesney had to do - something with pigeon I think.
Meanwhile in nobody-knows-who-you-are-land, Tish had to do something fiendishly complicated with the world's most expensive beef, and Yvette had to cook with fish and leaves. Jesus did something very similar, but without Wallace and Torode yelling "FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND DOESN'T GET TOUGHER THAN THIS" in his face. I could not take my eyes off Yvette's fringe, which looked she'd cut it herself with a pair of nail scissors on the way to the studio. Has the woman no mirror? Or, you know, a hairdresser?
The camera cut back to Sarah with the immortal line "And now Sarah has to get to grips with her Pig on Toast." We've all been there, Sarah. When I finally stopped laughing, Sheree was slicing tuna and making an arse of it. I wonder what happens in these extortionately expensive restaurants when amateurs are cooking the food - do the punters get a discount? Are they told, or do the staff just, you know, pretend that the top chef has mangled their tuna on purpose?
Chesney spread some mashed potato on a plate and received praise so lavish you'd think he'd just made a pudding out of a Higgs boson. Yvette complained about the heat in the kitchen. No really, she did. The jokes just make themselves, don't they? "In all honesty, it was horrendous," said Tish. "I loved it." Yeah, right love.
Finally, they all had cook two courses, in one hour. "THAT'S TOUGH!" shrieked Gregg. Sheree told us she would just make something that she'd usually make at home, which turned out to be sea bass and apple crumble cake. Not toghether, although it wouldn't surprise me on Masterchef. Sarah was making fishcakes. Yvette was baking salmon. Tish was making spaghetti with clams. Chesney was frying sea bass. Had the BBC got a deal going with Birds Eye?
Sarah presented John with fish cakes that looked like hell. "Your fishcakes are wet." Sarah threw her head back and fake laughed so much that when she stopped her eyes were pointing directly upwards through her skull.
Sheree's apple crumble cake looked like Arthur Scargill's head. "I'm really proud of what I served," she said, modestly. Yvette served up a pancake which was not well received. "You've left us questioning whether or not you can cook puddings." Chessers fried his sea bass and Torode and Wallace had a collective culinary orgasm. "I'm blown away, boys," said Chesney.
The judging. "I'm blown away by Chesney," said Torode, with a post-coital look on his face. Who would go home? It was between Yvette and Sarah. "I'm disappointed by Yvette's pancake."
Yvette and her Fringe of Doom were shown the door. She looked relieved.
First published here