Monday, February 13, 2012

What’s Next For Gordon Ramsay? Monkey Tennis?

It shows what a ridiculous, self-perpetuating farce reality TV has become when a satirical programme idea dreamed up by Alan Partridge becomes, err, reality.

In I’m Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s failed chat show host frantically tries to sell TV pitches to an unimpressed BBC executive in a bid to get himself back on telly. The gems include Arm Wrestling With Chas & Dave, Inner City Sumo, Cooking In Prison, and Youth Hostelling With Chris Eubank.

In flailing desperation, the Norwich DJ plucks another idea of out of thin air, and suggests “Monkey Tennis?” - a phrase that later came to be used by pundits to describe today’s crop of lowest common denominator TV programmes.

But what a shame he didn’t try to pitch his ideas 14 years later. Because in a move worthy of the well-aired tabloid phrase ‘you couldn’t make it up’, Gordon Ramsay has stolen one of Partridge’s gags by fronting a Channel 4 show about cooking in prison.

If you’ve ever wondered whether there is anything that Ramsay wouldn’t do for money, then the answer is a firm ‘no’ after the celebrity chef arrived at HMP Brixton in south London last week to film the new series, which will air in the autumn.

Channel 4 insiders claim it is actually a serious attempt to shake-up prison food and save the Government cash by teaching inmates to cook.

If it all sounds a bit like Jamie's School Dinners, which saw Jamie Oliver overhaul food in schools, then that’s because it is.

With grub in schools, hospitals, and even submarines all having been “transformed” by celebrity chefs, TV executives were clearly left shamelessly scraping the bottom of the barrel by nicking one of Coogan’s ridiculous ideas for a show.

Ramsay is apparently keen to use his cooking skills to help prisoners' rehabilitation - even though he didn’t bother helping out his own brother Ronald when he got banged up in an Indonesian jail in 2007 after being caught with heroin.

The show is part of the £1m, one-year deal Ramsay signed last April with C4. Perhaps if he gets another contract, he’ll get to front Monkey Tennis. It’s not like they’ll be a shortage of celebrity chefs eager to take part.

MORE: Gordon Ramsay A Cut Above The Rest?

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Auldo said...

He, love your articles, and have no problem with critical stuff, but I was not impressed with your remarks on the situation with his brother and the link to your story on his new show. It's too easy to take that shot without knowing the full back-story.

Congrats on the book. Is it different from your posts on this blog?

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I love reading your posts, but I'm not sure about the comment on Gordon Ramsay and his brother. It sounds like you were passing judgment on a matter that's supposed to be personal.