The Lowdown: the return of Ready Steady Cook

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The return of Ready Steady Cook

Related tags: Ready steady cook, Chef, Heston blumenthal

Ainsley Harriott has announced that he’s in talks with chef James Martin to bring back popular teatime cooking show Ready Steady Cook nearly 10 years after it was axed from BBC2.

Jill​ must be ecstatic…
She’s probably not the only one. The original show ran for nearly 16 years, recorded close to 2,000 episodes, and in its heyday attracted at least 2m viewers per episode.

2,000 episodes! Blimey, haven’t we had enough?
You would think so, but apparently not. Harriott told The Sun that he and Martin had discussed a possible return. “It's a unique format and there's nothing else on TV quite like it,” he told the newspaper. "Fingers crossed they go for it” he added, which seems likely with Martin being one of TV’s most bankable chefs.

Can we expect a change to the format?
Unclear. The original show, which Harriott hosted for a decade after taking over from original host Fern Britton, saw two members of the public each bring a bag of groceries that would amount to £5 in value (good luck trying to do that now). They would then each be paired with a celebrity chef - designated as either a 'red tomato' or 'green pepper' – who would create a bespoke meal from the ingredients provided. Over the years chefs including Gino D'Acampo, Anthony Worrall Thompson and Phil Vickery appeared regularly on the show, as did Martin himself.

Will the new series see any of these chefs return?
Harriott says he and Martin would do it (perhaps as joint hosts) “along with a raft of new chefs". Who that refers to is anyone’s guess, but they certainly won’t be short of options.

Maybe Heston could do it?
Doubtful. We expect you’ll see a similar roster to that on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, which Martin hosted for nearly 10 years. But anyone hoping to see Heston try to recreate his iconic bacon and egg ice cream in 20 minutes with only an Asda Smart Price box of eggs and a bag of smoky bacon crisps at his disposal might be disappointed.

There are loads of cooking competitions on TV now, though. Why should we even be excited about this?
Good question. The food TV landscape has changed beyond recognition over the last decade, so this could be a breath of fresh air. With Harriott at the helm, however, one suspects the new Ready Steady Cook may not be much more than a pale imitation of what has come before. That said, it might be quite nice to watch a competitive cookery show that isn’t dominated by Gregg Wallace saying ‘YUM’ all the time.  

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