Love/Hate: Come Dine With Me


Angus on why he loves it:

There’s nothing more blissful on a Saturday afternoon than slouching on the sofa in front of two and a half hours of guests slagging each other off for failing to deliver a Michelin starred meal at a dinner party. Not surprisingly Come Dine With Me has been going forever and with good reason.

Dave Lamb is the constant voice of reason amongst the swirling egos, deflating soufflés and undercooked chicken. Forever poking fun at the contestants, he is the show’s single greatest asset, turning Come Dine With Me into entertainment. The show also benefits from the fact that the producers actively seeks out crazy people. There’s always the snobby foodie, who whilst being outwardly nice, bitches viciously about the other contestants and brags about winning, before guffawing at coming third behind the person who served pig’s trotters. There’s always a person who can’t cook. Often the most entertaining individual, they flail about the kitchen, smearing the camera in smoked salmon and covering themselves in meringue by tipping the egg-white mix over their heads without sufficiently stiff peaks in place .

At the end of the day, it’s comfort viewing and it’s easy. You don’t have to engage too much with Come Dine With Me. You can slump, switch on and Dave Lamb takes over for you. He points out when someone’s crap, cooking something bizarre or hasn’t a hope in hell of winning, and you can contentedly sloth about with your day.

Katie on why she hates it:

If you’ve ever found yourself confined to the house and exposed to the horror of daytime television, you’ll be all too familiar with the show that is Come Dine With Me. Dave Lamb; the show’s narrator, keeps viewers hooked with his sarcasm, dry humour and witty one liners voiced at the stake of the contestants. Sadly, he is the one somewhat redeeming aspect to the show.

Maybe I’m being overly critical, but I have never understood why watching a group of unspectacular individuals with amateur cooking skills host dinner parties for each other is an entertaining concept. It is in fact, tedious. I could maybe justify watching one dinner party; hosted by a Bob, Brenda or George with mediocre culinary skills, the drama of the night escalating to one of the guests having a little too much to drink – abruptly stating they didn’t take too well to the roast beef. But suddenly we have to do the same thing all over again. And again. Until you’ve witnessed four dinner parties in one show, featuring the same people and enough monotonous conversation to last you a lifetime.

Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to catch one of the more dramatic episodes; one of the guests might even drop a bottle of red wine on the dinner host’s white carpet. Additionally, the show is almost impossible to avoid, with up to six episodes a day aired on Channel 4. Uneventful and repetitive, Come Dine With Me doesn’t fit the criteria for good television, failing to leave me feeling remotely entertained – and considering it’s a show about dinner parties, I’m sure you’re not surprised.