Wednesday’s TV: May the least worst contestants win

October 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

THE RESTAURANT, BBC2, Wednesday 29th, 8pm Alert me

So, tonight is le soir that Monsieur Blanc finally plucks one lucky couple from finalists James and Alasdair, and Russell and Michelle to throw some money away on, sorry, open a new restaurant with. Who will step up to the mark? Who has got what it takes? No seriously, who actually has got what it takes? With a series that seems to have seen more disasters than discovery of raw talent, surely it’s a case of ‘may the least worst contestants win…’

Tonight’s final sees both couples cook on board the extravagant Orient Express. Raymond makes his task clear. He says all wistfully and French, like, “I want a storm of seduction, beauty…romance…the sublime.? Ha! Good luck with that lot! Both couples know that they can’t mess this one up. Organisation is key. Everything has to be prepped and on the train when it leaves the station and be served to absolute perfection.

This series, the standard in the final just isn’t that high, especially with the front-of-house brigade. They’ve ended up with nervy excuses for charismatic hosts, shakily handing out menus and smiling manically in the hope that everything will be ok. Floaty, if-I-smile-then-everything’s-fine Michelle can’t seem to get it together to choose tissue paper (yeah, I just said tissue paper) for the gifts they’re handing out, phoning a positively unimpressed Russell in the middle of prepping all of the food alone. Then later, she almost leaves the booked entertainment behind on the platform! Oh, sort it out love…

And fumbling Alasdair, bless him, he tries…actually don’t bless him. This boy needs to a) toughen up and b) calm the hell down! Ok, so he looks cute in his little steward’s waistcoat thing but can everyone just stop, take a moment, and cease treating him like a child?? When Raymond straightens his dickie bow it’s almost father/son-like (if not for the bizarre air of sexual tension– “ahum…dickie bow…?, Alasdair mumbles- did anyone else notice that??). And it’s like being at his bl**dy parents evening when David Moore comments on his performance, “Alasdair was a little star!?..ergch. Oh and one more thing- don’t go pulling out your sob story when Raymond gives you one last chance to convince him to pick you. I know it’s in keeping with the general trend of shamelessness nowadays but it’s cheap, unashamed and just makes you look lame.

Stay tuned this evening to find out who wins but don’t expect fireworks. Two endings have been filmed (a bit harsh to build them both up methinks but what do I care, they’re lame!) but the footage shown tonight will pronounce the actual winners ones that didn’t lose.

By Susan Allen