The ever-present Gregg Wallace is like an unwanted Christmas gift
As the old song goes, '˜I wish it could be Christmas every day', but for TV's most famous baldie, Gregg Wallace, I think it probably is.
Gregg has been on our screens for ages, co-hosting Masterchef with John Torode – a man who can open his mouth wider than a python swallowing a young deer – popping up on Strictly, or Who Do You Think You Are, and presenting several daytime lifestyle shows masquerading as primetime entertainment.
This week, however, Britain’s most famous greengrocer has reached Santa-levels of ubiquity.
On Monday, he was to be found shouting at assorted nerdy types Time Commanders (BBC4, Mondays, 9pm) in which the geeks attempt to show history’s leading generals where they went wrong in their most famous battles.
On this week’s show, a team of aquarium workers and a trio of archery enthusiasts staged a re-run of the Battle of Waterloo. Frankly, the level of tactical awareness on show would have disgraced a primary school playground, as the two teams essentially charged up and down Belgium, seeing their troops scythed down by cannon fire, and ending up with about two-a-side.
Through it all, Gregg charged about like an over-excited schoolboy, adding absolutely nothing in the way of historical fact, and very little in intelligible English.
Similarly, his gurning boat race turned up to add literally nothing to Masterchef: The Professionals (BBC2, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 9pm) as he sat with assorted Michelin-starred chefs to taste the food turned out by this year’s finalists.
A telling moment arrived when Gregg asked renowned chef Sat Bains: “What do chefs like?”
“Great food, great company,” replied Bains, “so you’d better go.”
Quite why he was there is a mystery, he just stands about, shouting whatever comes in to his head, usually some sort of Cockney-ism containing words like “mate”, “cor”, “phwoar”.
Just as he did on his final appearance this week, on Inside the Christmas Factory (BBC2, Tuesday, 9pm), in which he wandered around a Mr Kipling factory finding out how they make mince pies on an epic scale. Even the most banal fact was greeted with an amazed mouthgasm – “oooh!”, “mate, that’s amazing”, even “clever old raisins”. The best bits were whenever Gregg – who wore the most redundant hairnet in Britain at all times – was not screen.
Basically, Gregg has been like that gift set of Lynx toiletries Auntie Mary gives you on Christmas Day – unwanted. I think we should put him away until a more appropriate festival – Easter, perhaps.