Nigella, darling, there’s something about your chat show that’s… awful

Nigella Lawson, domestic goddess extraordinaire, now has her own TV chat show. You may not have noticed, because it’s on around lunchtime, when most people are doing sensible stuff, like working.

But you should watch it. Now, before it’s taken off. For while la Nigella may be able to cook, and possibly to interview people, she’s shown she can’t do both at once. It is car-crash television.

Wife told me that the first show was amazingly bad, with Val Kilmer her stunned guest. So we watched the second show together, taping it just to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Her guest: Terry Wogan.

“What I like about you, Terry,” she said as she made something involving bacon, “is your Eurovision coverage.. you’re so sour.” Possibly it would have been more diplomatic, and accurate, to have said “you’re so honest about its foibles”. But no.

Wogan, who has cultivated his image as the jovial Irishman probably since before she was born, visibly got a blood vessel pulsing in his temple at this. However, he comes from the school of “don’t get mad, get even”, and thus began tripping her up at every turn.

“Have you-” she began.
“I hope you’ve washed your hands,” he cut in, eyeing her cooking the bacon. “I was told you have to wash your hands before cooking.”
“Of course I have,” she said, grinning offendedly. “Now,” she said, serving it up. “You must tell me about your huge fan following, the TOGs, aren’t they?”
“Mmph,” said Wogan, with a mouthful, “my mam always told me it was rude to speak with your mouth full.”
And left Nigella to twist in the wind as he consumed the meal. And then he went on the offensive; anyone tuning in a few minutes later would have had the impression that it was his chat show, and she the invited guest, as he controlled the questions.

Then they had a segment in which Nigella tries to solve the home problems of various chavs who call in. Because come on, the yummy mummies who ITV were hoping would be the target audience aren’t going to sit down and watch television at that time of day, are they? They’re going to leave that to the nanny while they lunch with Felicity and Karen.

“Well,” said Nigella, introducing the segment, “we have some viewers who have rung in..” And there was this unconscious sneer at the word viewers. We watched it about four times. She may not have meant it, but there it was.

And it gets worse. Apparently her opening line to Greta Scacchi on Thursday was “Why did you marry your cousin?”

More over at Popbitch. She looks great in photos, and in pre-recorded series, but baby, live TV’s a different game.

Oh, and Nigella caused consternation among other channels because it pays its guests to appear. I’ll bet Wogan was laughing all the way to the bank. And that it’s a while before another TV exec has a lunch in Soho and says “sells lots of books, looks great, done a TV series, it’s cooking and chat!” Well, you can only hope, eh?

Can’t wait for the DVD. The extras should be interesting too. Or perhaps a book of the series, with transcripts of the interviews, including lacunae?

2 Comments

  1. Of course, I’ve never been a guest on a chat show at that level, but the normal rule on the shows I *have* been on is you don’t get paid if you have something to promote (a show of your own, a movie, a book), but you do if you don’t. I’ve almost always been paid to appear because the Skeptic is volunteer and I don’t make money off it.

    wg< ! spaminator saw this >

  2. Well now, me and the Truly Fair recorded Friday’s show and watched it in the evening and it looked as though the whole act had been sharpened up marginally until the bit where the guest brings an item in to auction for the Nigella’s chosen charity.
    Jayne Middlemiss proudly produced a skimpy two piece that she had worn on Celebrity Love Island. She was particularly keen to highlight the optional padded cups: “bikini with breasts attached!”
    Nigella’s charity? Breast cancer, naturally.< ! spaminator saw this >

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