Take on the Takeaway



Rowland Rivron (voiceover)


Dean Edwards


Vision Independent Productions for BBC Two, 19 May to 21 September 2007 (11 episodes in 1 series)


A celebrity chef visits the home of two people who usually live on takeaway food, and attempts to cook a meal cheaper, faster and better than the occupiers' favoured takeaway establishment.

It works like this: first, the fast-food-loving members of the public choose what they're going to order from the takeaway. The celeb chef is expected to make more-or-less the same meal but naturally have a bit of leeway to produce their own "take" on it. They can use whatever they find in the kitchen (generally not a lot) for free, but then have to buy whatever other ingredients they need from a local supermarket, whereto Dean Edwards (a former finalist in Masterchef Goes Large) is despatched to do the actual shopping, being instructed by phone the whole time. We assume they can buy utensils too, if necessary, though we haven't actually seen that happen, ourselves. The aim in this part is to buy everything for less than the price of the takeaway meal.

The second portion of the contest is the speed test - basically, it's the bit where they do the actual cooking. For this part, Dean is sent to the takeaway establishment, usually somewhere that's won awards for its curry or where all the top stars go for fish 'n' chips - not just your average greasy spoon, anyway. The takeaway folk want to win just as much as the celeb chef does, so even though they never actually meet there's a proper competition going on. Dean has the task of asking the takeaway people about their brilliant award-winning recipes, and then actually transporting the finished meal back to the victims' home. Whoever gets their meal on the table (actually an illuminated trolley) first, wins this part of the competition.

Finally, it's the taste test: blindfolds on, marks out of 20. Whichever meal scores most, wins.

The one really annoying element of the show is Rowland Rivron's narration. Not only does he constantly tell us things that really ought to be confined to the Audio Description service (Dean's being held up by a red light) but he also narrates perfectly mundane things as if they were the height of wackiness (blimey, he's putting a LID on that SAUCEPAN! Whatever next?!).

Not a bad idea as lifestyle shows go, but the execution is rather ho-hum, sadly.


Stephen McAllister


The pilot episode, with Gary Rhodes, was broadcast at 12:10pm on Saturday afternoon. Those who liked what they'd seen had to wait nearly four months for the broadcast series, which went out weekdays at 6:30pm. The chefs involved were John Burton Race, Paul Rankin, Ainsley Harriott, Angela Hartnett, Simon Rimmer, Gino D'Acampo, Ken Hom, Jean-Christophe Novelli, Antonio Carluccio and James Tanner.


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