The Hairy Bakers, BBC2

Did we like it?
It was almost too quaint; two happy-go-lucky blokes amble or motorbike about North England’s verdant pastures cooking up some uncomplicated recipes along the way in a sort of lovely food show for people who don’t like food shows.

What was good about it?
• The main attraction of the show are the Hairy Bakers themselves, Dave Myers and Simon King, a pair of amusing uncles who love to put on a comedy double-act for their easily-pleased nephews and nieces.
• It’s never quite clear why the Bakers want Britons to start cooking the “12 million loaves [purchased each day] we could be baking ourselves”. Sure, as they go to great lengths to demonstrate the bread tastes delicious, but it can take a few hours to bake fully, time that most people often don’t have.
• However, as we said, it does look delicious and the Bakers garnish their loaves with bacon and other fillings, while they also prepare a ploughman’s lunch to accompany a brown loaf that takes six hours to rise.
• And it’s during the little jamboree while preparing this meal that the strengths of the Bakers bleeds through the screen. Waiting for the bread to rise, they take a ‘nap’ beneath a tree while Public Enemy’s Rise plays in the background (though, oddly, decapitated of appropriate lyrics) before setting out their respective versions of a ploughman’s and jovially comparing one another’s efforts.
• The Bakers don’t present food as the be all and end all of existence like certain other culinary goons. Baking bread in a Doncaster market, they offer tips on how to make baps have crispy bottoms or crunchy not how to elevate the palate to transcendental heights through some convoluted scripture passed down from chef to chef since the era of the Knights Templar.
• The Bakers stopped off in the glorious Derwent Valley to prepare and eat their naan bread, but were assailed by a swarm of pesky midges, forcing them to scoff the food with indecent haste.

What was bad about it?
• “We wanna get Britain baking again!” declared Dave. A noble and worthy aim, but we suspect that it’s also got something to do with the fact that their ‘brand’ can simply be tweaked from Bikers to Bakers.
• For all its pleasantness and cheery hosts, Hairy Bakers isn’t a very substantial show – it will entertain, but this will act to partly disguise its lack of identity.

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