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Food TV Fortnight: Meet the people keeping Britain going in lockdown, and take a culinary trip with James Martin and Nick Nairn

Gregg Wallace on Inside the Factory.
Gregg Wallace on Inside the Factory.

While foodies might rule in the kitchen, it’s time to take charge of the TV remote control as Rebecca Shearer rounds up her top picks for the two weeks ahead.

There’s not a lot that’s new in the TV world, with the filming of many shows postponed or ground to a halt due to the recent pandemic.

Some of the main channels have opted for reruns and some of our household names have taken to cooking on social media instead.

But there will be some twists on our old favourites in the coming fortnight, with a lockdown version of Inside the Factory on Mondays, the “professional” version of Bake Off returning on Tuesdays, reruns of James Martin’s popular Islands to Highlands series, Alan Titchmarsh on what food to grow at home and even an insightful BBC documentary to feast upon, among others.

Here, we round up the highlights…

Inside the Factory: Keeping Britain Going

Monday, June 1 and June 8
BBC Two, 8pm

Gregg Wallace.

“I’m Gregg Wallace and like you I’m doing my bit to stop the spread of the virus by staying at home with my family,” starts the episode this evening (Monday, June 1), and there will be those who wish he would stay home more often.

In this series of the somehow-still-running behind-the-scenes BBC programme, Gregg Wallace catches up with some of the factories in charge of meeting the demand of the essential supplies we’re after during this crisis. And, I may have missed the memo, but apparently this included baked beans (tonight’s episode) and Walkers crisps (next Monday, June 8).

This lockdown special of Inside The Factory features Gregg catching up with his pals at Heinz and Walkers via video chat and surely holding them up from getting vital supplies out to the shops. Nonetheless, you can find out just exactly how Heinz and Walkers have been “Keeping Britain Going” over the next two Mondays or later on iPlayer.

Bake Off: The Professionals

Tuesday, June 2 and June 9
Channel 4, 8pm

Bake Off: The Professionals 2020. Tuesday 26th May. 8pm. Channel 4.

Twelve teams of pastry chefs bake, whisk and flambée it out to be crowned the winners of Bake Off: The Professionals 2020. Tuesday 26th May. 8pm. Channel 4.

Posted by The Great British Bake Off on Saturday, 23 May 2020

Finally, something new! As much as I love Bake Off, Channel 4’s reruns over the past few weeks haven’t quite done enough to whet the appetite, largely because they were from the celebrity version, in which a sturdy bake is not the norm. So the return of Bake Off: The Professionals is a tasty treat.

The only problem is I’m yet to find a good review of it that makes me want to watch it, with GQ magazine even referring to it recently as ‘the most stressful show on TV’. With perhaps two of the harshest judges on TV, Cherish Finden and Benoit Blin, and presenters Tom Allen and former-Bake Off contestant Liam Charles bringing up the rear, it’s yet again an odd mix of comedy and criticism.

But with this year’s sister show Great British Bake Off hanging in the balance, due to the pandemic, it’s perhaps one of the best baking fixes we’re going to be offered for a while.

Last week saw the first heat take to the hobs, with round two tonight. Next week, the successful bakers, representing bakeries, hotels and restaurants from across the UK, will be put through their paces for chocolate week.

James Martin’s Islands to Highlands: The Royal Scotsman

Sunday, June 7
STV, 9.25am

Today I’m joined on #islandstohighlands by my mate Nick Nairn for a luxury trip aboard The Royal Scotsman. On the menu…

Posted by James Martin on Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Despite the series having finished, ITV is still doing re-runs of James Martin’s most recent series, Islands to Highlands, in which he samples and creates culinary delights from up and down the UK.

The episode in which James and celebrity chef Nick Nairn climb aboard The Royal Scotsman is shown again on Sunday morning, or can be seen on the ITV Player, along with the rest of the series’ episodes.

Grow Your Own At Home With Alan Titchmarsh

Sunday, June 7
ITV, 11.25am

One of gardening’s greats, Alan Titchmarsh, has a regular series on STV inspiring us to grow our own fruits and vegetables at home, while also encouraging us to eat seasonally. Filmed by his wife Alison during lockdown, Alan shows us how we can enjoy our own food, no matter where we live – from large gardens to small balconies on the side of a flat.

Sunday’s episode focuses on strawberries while last week’s can be found on the ITV player online.

The Truth About… Takeaways

BBC iPlayer 

The Truth About… Takeaways: A Good Night's Sleep

Could you get a better night's sleep by eating your dinner earlier? 🤔

Posted by BBC One on Thursday, 27 February 2020

Takeaways are arguably just as much a part of British food as a good Sunday roast. According to the BBC’s research, 10 million of us are using delivery apps that allow us to have our favourite meal brought to our doors at the tap of a finger. But the BBC delves deeper into our takeaway psyche through this hour-long documentary in which journalist Nikki Fox endeavours to learn how takeaways can affect us.

Watch the episode here, on the BBC iPlayer.

Read more in this series…

Food TV Fortnight: Four shows to sink your teeth into

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