The Lowdown: Tom Kerridge's pub programme

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Tom Kerridge to present a new TV programme on BBC Two about British pubs that are under threat

Related tags: Pubs, Britain, Pub closures, Tom kerridge

Chef and publican Tom Kerridge will headline a new primetime TV show on BBC Two about British pubs that are under threat.

Kerridge’s Kitchen Nightmares?
Not quite. We suspect that Kerridge’s less abrasive/more approachable demeanour wouldn’t quite translate to a show that’s often geared towards humiliating people rather than helping them.

Shame, it had a good ring to it. So what is it about?
According to the casting call posted by Kerridge on his Instagram page yesterday (31 July), the show will see the chef – whose own pub, The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, is the only one in the UK to have two Michelin stars – “using his business experience and passion for the licensed industry to work with determined publicans and communities to save their much-loved pubs from closing their doors for good”.

Seems a little pointless if you ask me, after all there are still plenty of pubs in the UK that are open…
It might feel like that if you’re in a busy city, but the upshot is that the nation’s pub sector is in crisis. According to the casting call, 18 pubs in the UK go out of business every week. And official figures released last year by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that one in four pubs – totalling more than 11,000 – in the UK have closed since 2008.

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That’s bleak; if this carries on we’ll just be left with a handful of Wetherspoons. Why has there been such a decline?
The deterioration of Britain’s pub scene is well documented, with organisations such as the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the British Beer and Pub Association charting the disappearance of UK pubs for many years. Various reasons have been cited, including rising overheads, the smoking ban, the rise of cheaper alcohol sold in supermarkets, and pesky millennials choosing to go down the gym and stay off the booze rather than hitting their local.

Is there anything that can be done to slow the downturn?
Plenty. One suggestion made by CAMRA’s national chairman Jackie Parker earlier this year is a reduction of Beer Duty, specifically in pubs, which would “level the playing field between the price of beer sold in social, community settings and cheap supermarket alcohol consumed at home”. And there are other factors too, including the introduction of tighter planning regulations, community action groups, and increasingly diverse boozers, which CAMRA says have all buoyed trade.

How can a show like Kerridge’s help then?
Chiefly by bringing it further into the national consciousness. While the numbers are still bad, there are now few pubs closing year-on-year, and CAMRA attributes this, in part, to the rise of community activism. By working with such groups, Kerridge will hopefully be able to further highlight the need for such grassroots engagement and stem the tide further.

To find out more about the show, and to get involved contact Bone Soup Productions with your name, contact details and some information about the pub using the email: pnfgvat@obarfbhc.pb.hx​. Or you can call: 01179064321

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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