Hell's Kitchen is a reality TV show with all the originality of the wheel. It was based on a conversation like this:
TV WANKER A: People love animals. People love having sex. Let's make a show called Sex with Animals.
TV WANKER B: It's good, Jools, but it hasn't got celebrities in it. Why don't we just put some celebs in a kitchen?
TV WANKER A: We could call it Celebrity Kitchen.
TV WANKER B: That's good. Fucking good. I'll write it down.
TV WANKER A: Can you past the coke spoon?
TV WANKER B: Sorry. It's stuck in my brain.
The celebs are a truly moth-eaten bunch, including Brookside's Jennifer Ellison, the bloke out of Gimme Gimme Gimme, Edwina Currie, Matt Goss, comedian Al Murray and, bizarrely, Belinda Carlisle.
Why, Belinda? Why? Did the Go-Gos get some really bad investment advice? Oh, we forgot: 'buy cocaine'.
At least you can still hear Heaven is a Place on Earth on the radio. Occasionally. Which is more than can be said for anything by Bros. Overall, Hell's Kitchen is definitely stretching the definition of 'celebrity'. Does this mean that the bloke who played Lysette Anthony's photographer husband in Three Up Two Down* is a celebrity? Is the guy off the Elephant.co.uk advert a celebrity? (And the elephant, for that matter.) Is the actor who played Crozier in Bergerac a celebrity?
Also unappealing is the underlying cynicism of all celebrity reality TV. Even if you make a twat of yourself, you still get some sort of boost to your career, however minor, that can be translated into £££s. That's what it comes down to, really: micro-talents like Jordan coining in money beyond their wildest dreams thanks to the celeb industry. Without the celebrity industry, all these actors who can't act, singers who can't sing and personalities without a personality would be stuffed because they weren't even much good at their chosen profession in the first place. Why, and it's a question that's got to be asked, does Dean Gaffney exist?
To be fair to Hell's Kitchen, it's provided a couple of minor insights. Edwina Currie, arguably one of the most despised and ridiculed politicians ever, has had the chance to redeem herself by having a crack at working in a kitchen and not annoying people. Does she? Nope. She just acts like a silly cow, failing to do her basic kitchen chores and generally talking crap. How did this awful, awful woman get anywhere near the corridors of power? We may as well make Timmy Mallett prime minister.
At the other end of the likeability scale is Al Murray, who is taking a genuine interest in learning to cook and generally grasping the opportunity to work in a top kitchen with top chefs with both hands. He's the sort of person you suspect company bosses would like to have on their apprenticeship schemes: 'I've never swept a factory floor before, so I'm really giving it a go to see what I can learn and what I can get out of it!'
On the other hand, if this is the highlight of the show (nice bloke who's interested in cooking learns to cook) there's something a bit wrong with TV. What next? Celebrity German Nightclass? Celebrity Lending Library? Celebrity Amateur Woodworker?
*The bloke out of Three Up Two Down was Ray Burdis, by the way (he was in Scum too). He's currently a producer and writer, just in case any ITV producers are looking for contestants for 'I'm a celebrity - let me work in a Gregg's Bakery.'