Masterchef: the least bad talent programme on TV

Masterchef isn’t the greatest programme in the history of television. But it’s certainly a lot better than some of the other stuff out there. Here’s some brief thoughts about why that is.

  • It isn’t based around a gimmick. (Here’s looking at you The Voice.)
  • The judges give proper constructive criticism.
  • The judges don’t act as if every contestant is the best cook they’ve ever seen.
  • The judges don’t make easy decisions seem tortuous.
  • The challenges are actually hard, and they test competitors’ skills in tackling unseen tasks, rather than just on the basis of something practised beforehand.
  • If contestants aren’t good enough they aren’t put through.
  • The judges aren’t constantly changing.
  • The first round actually features programmes with some real content, rather than endless auditions. The visit to a professional kitchen doesn’t even count! But it’s there, and it’s often very interesting.
  • The contestants’ life stories aren’t discussed at all, except in the context of what they cook at home.
  • The judges don’t make pronouncements on contestants’ chances of winning while they’re still in the first round.
  • It isn’t a talent competition based around my specialist subject. I’m sure if you’ve not got quite so much invested in musical knowledge and/or ability then The Voice and The X Factor are a lot more enjoyable.

Actually, quite a lot of these comments could apply to The Great British Bake Off, which I also thought was very good.


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