Come Dine With Me (Tab Special)

ALASDAIR PAL declares his love for Brittany Sheridan. Sort of.


The trouble with the news is it’s just so unpredictable. Sometimes, something will happen, but by the time you’ve written anything about it, it’s Old News. To counter this, sometimes you write about things before they happen, which makes it New News, but not really much use to anyone. So then you write something else about the thing that you’ve already written about, which I guess would make it Old New News, or maybe even New Old News.

Phew. Glad you’re still with me. Come Dine With Me (4od), featuring The Tab’s very own Brittany Sheridan, falls into the latter category. It aired on Sunday, but I’ve been asked to mop up the mess, like dried-on spaghetti bolognese round the back of the hob. (I say The Tab’s, by the way, because it’s legally binding that anyone pictured wearing one of our t-shirts, like the netball and lacrosse blues, or Hardy Cubasch, automatically becomes the property of Tab Publications Ltd. Sorry guys.)

Brit and Michael get down to it

As usual, the producers have assembled a set of contestants who aren’t exactly conducive to fluid conversation – which of course, makes for great TV. And after 22 series, they should be pretty good at it.

There’s Harj, who hates ugly people but is built with a frame like a fridge on two toothpicks. I wouldn’t touch her with a harj pole, har har. Her pet hates include glamour modelling and people who interrupt her. But before she can finish her sentence, the camera cuts to Michael, who “often interrupts people”. See what they did there?

Rounding off the quartet is Sean, who rates himself as a 9/10 in the bedroom. It’s not a nice thought, because he gives all his pieces to camera replete with a glazed look and orange complexion, like if Nick Griffin had stayed out in the sun for too long.

The food, disappointingly, is all pretty edible. Brit’s tomato soup is pronounced “slimming”; Sean makes seafood ravioli with won ton sheets, and there’s a vigorous epistemological discussion about what the essence of ravioli is (I don’t remember the conclusion). Vegetarian Harj complains about getting served quorn every night, but wolfs it down anyway.

But it’s not about the food really; dinner parties never are. We enjoy seeing what our guests arrive with (champagne for Brit; a tray of veg for Sean), and what they talk about (Michael enjoys telling everyone about his wife. Did I mention he likes telling everyone about his wife?)

Some of the faux pas are even better. “Going to Cambridge and doing glamour modelling is very typical”, says Harj, mysteriously. After Sean serves his chocolate and bran flake dessert (trust me, it works), Michael says he has “redeemed himself”, which doesn’t go down well.

When it comes to the voting however, they’re fairly civil, dishing out sevens and eights like the flamboyant one from Strictly Come Dancing. On the final night, Michael even introduces us to his wife.

“She’s like a blackberry and I’m like a raspberry”, he says while making his summer fruits dessert.

“Yeah, and I feel like a gooseberry”, replies narrator Dave Lamb, a man whose comedy stylings I can only dream of.

And then the credits roll to ‘Under My Thumb’. Glorious.

University of Cambridge