Burgers and kebabs are firmly on the menu as channel hopes to replicate success of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off in contest hosted by Adam Richman
ITV will look to the great outdoors in a bid to repeat the success of BBC hit The Great British Bake Off with a contest to find Britain’s champion of barbecue.
BBQ Champ, which will be hosted by Adam Richman, the American presenter of cult TV hit Man V Food, will feature Bake Off-style challenges but swaps pastries and cupcakes for burgers and kebabs.
ITV will hope it does better than its last attempt to tap into the vogue for TV cookery competitions, Food Glorious Food, which flopped two years ago despite the power of the man behind it, Simon Cowell. .
The Great British Bake Off was BBC1’s most popular entertainment show of last year with more than 13 million viewers watching Nancy Birtwhistle win the final.
But replicating even a portion of its success has proved no easy task. Even GBBO itself took a few years to warm up in the ratings, and viewers had little appetite for Channel 4’s The Taste, featuring Nigella Lawson, which slipped quietly off the menu last year despite it being a success in the US.
Richard McKerrow, creative director of GBBO maker Love Productions, said: “The big terrestrial channels are never going to ignore the subject of food, because it is so much part of our existence, and nor should they.
“In barbecuing they have identified a subject and combined it with a competitive approach which is a proven formula in MasterChef and Bake Off.”
Announcing the new show on Thursday, ITV said the series would “inspire us to do even more outdoor cooking” and pointed to a UK barbecue market worth £7bn a year, the biggest in Europe for the last five years, with a reported 125m barbecues owned last year.
McKerrow said it was: “Interesting and slightly dangerous to say barbecue sales have gone up hence we are doing a barbecue show. That isn’t what motivated Bake Off; baking sales went up as a result of Bake Off”.
Richman and his fellow judges will test the contestants on “mouthwatering BBQ masterpieces” to “reinventing culinary classics”. They will also have to deal with the additional hazard of the British weather, raising the less unappetising prospect of a total washout.
Radio Times writer Claire Webb said Food Glorious Food was “too cheesy”, widely-derided as a Bake-Off clone, and The Taste “too glossy”. But the new ITV show may yet have the right ingredients.
“I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “It’s not something you would think of as being a typically British thing but actually who doesn’t have a barbecue? And barbecuing has always been a competitive thing. I’m looking forward to the Bake Off-style showstoppers, Scotch Egg burgers and kebab-style towers.”
Richman, at the centre of a social media furore last year after he posted pictures of himself after his dramatic weight loss with the hashtag #thinspiration, will also bring a following to the show.
BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw earlier this week appeared to call time on “straight cooking” or what she called “chop and cook” shows.
And yet the channel will soon welcome back Nigella Lawson for the first time in three years, in a “pared down” offering Simply Nigella, and new shows with Nigel Slater, Mary Berry, and Rick Stein, albeit each of them with a bit of a twist.
Cookery shows are not about to go off the boil just yet.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010