Richard Madeley’s ‘Nothing Fresh In It’

Richard Madeley was covering for Simon Mayo on Radio Two last week. As mentioned previously, I find him absolutely fascinating. He seems to be the most unembarassable person in the world. He’ll come out with some complete banality, inanity or drivel (and occasionally something interesting) and not be fazed at all.

He told the story about how he’d made a name for himself on the first day of his TV career at Yorkshire Television on the Calendar programme when he’d ‘broken’ a story involving the village of Penistone. Of course, in Yorkshire pronunciation it’s pretty inconceivable to avoid putting the emphasis on a short vowel sound on first syllable of the name: ‘Pen’. However, Madeley rushed on screen and did it the other way: ‘Pee-nis-stone’.  Apparently the story is so legendary in media circles that the traffic reporter had heard of it — but didn’t realise it was Madeley who’d done it. Anyone else would probably have been paranoid about the cock up and hence their career disappear without trace thereafter — but Richard Madeley takes these things in his stride.

On Thursday it was cooking night and the resident ‘gastronome’ Nigel Barden was challenged to make a tuna fish pasta bake of slightly more authentic provenance. In the end his painstakingly researched Italian version didn’t trounce Madeley’s chemical concoction by as much as might have been expected. It was pretty funny to hear him simulate the length of time taken to create his dish — about 50 seconds. I guess, scientifically, he may have had a point as well on flavour — plenty of his ingredients would have had enhancers like MSG. The thing that probably is most off-putting about the dish is the crisps — they’re such an anathema and, let’s face it, guilty pleasure for foodie types that it seems unthinkable to put them into any recipe.

Here’s his recipe as purloined from the programme’s website. I’ve also added Madeley’s Twitter feed to the sidebar, which seems to be as amusing as his DJing.

Richard Madeley’s ‘Nothing Fresh In It’ Tuna Fish Casserole.


One medium tin mushroom/chicken soup

One medium tin tuna chunks in brine

Handful frozen peas

Handful frozen sweetcorn

One to two dozen frozen prawns

A palmful of dried mixed herbs (generous amount)

Two crushed bags of plain crisps

One uncrushed bacg of plain crisps

Dash of white wine

Pinch of salt and ground black pepper


Set the uncrushed bag of crisps aside and mix all the other ingredients in a medium-sized casserole dish.

Now for the piece of resistance. Place the crisps evenly on top of the mixture.

Do not cover.

Place dish in oven at 200 or equivalent gas mark

Leave for 30 minutes.

Remove and serve with penne pasta and a chilled glass of dry white wine.

*NB Your ‘Nothing Fresh In It Tuna Fish Casserole is delicious cold, too!

Snogging BBC3, Avoiding 6 Music, Marrying Cynicism or Idiocy

Either the top BBC management are incredibly stupid or they’re trying to be too clever by half — and, quite possibly, they’re both. Why on earth do they think that axing BBC Radio 6 and the Asian Network is a strategic course of action?

By its charter, the BBC has to primarily cover public service obligations that commercial broadcasters arguably won’t undertake but it also feels it can’t be too elitist if it’s levying a regressive tax of £130 per household for its services. Interestingly, the range of programming on channels like Sky Arts and, to a lesser extent, Classic FM and many US cable channels like HBO shows that it’s possible to produce commercial broadcasting that doesn’t insult the audience’s intelligence. In fact the most crass, dumbest programming that can be viewed on any remotely mainstream channel (such as on Freeview) is BBC3 — inspiration of gems like ‘F*ck Off I’m Ginger’, ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’, patronising rubbish snippets of news presented by ‘cool’ presenters who no doubt got the job through their father’s connections down the lodge, repeats of ‘Eastenders’, various programmes where people film their genitals for an hour, ego-trip hagiographies of BBC programme makers (‘Dr Who Confidential’) and where the only half-decent programming is destined for BBC2 anyway. It’s almost entirely absolute total rubbish but is considered inviolable by the idiotic BBC management as it’s targeted at the sacred Yoof market — people who the BBC commissioners completely fail to understand despite their obsessive pursuit of the demographic. You have to end up watching Stag Party Channel on Sky at midnight on a Friday to see anything equivalently witless to the general rubbish pumped out by BBC3.

So this expensive pile of insulting crap remains untouchable whereas a couple of cheap radio stations that serve less fashionable demographics are to be wiped from the schedules. I’m not sure what the Asian Network has done to offend the BBC management so much. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to it but it appears to be a more public service orientated station than its untouched equivalent — 1Extra. This would appear from its publicity to be focused on the sort of music that Radio One provides quite a substantial outlet for and pirate stations in London even more so — and it seems to address a far narrower audience than something generic like the Asian Network. 6 Music falls down because it’s meant to serve those too grown up for Radio One (surely anyone over about 13?) and those not old enough for Radio 2 (over 35s apparently). I thought the targeting of those two stations was simpler — Radio One is for single people and Radio 2 for marrieds or equivalents (just listen to any dedication that comes in on Radio 2 — it always mentions a wonderful spouse).  At heart it’s a fairly serious music station, despite being hijacked by the egos of ‘look at me I’m a rising star’ merchants like George Lamb or that Lauren Laverne,  6 Music is playing the sort of slightly less commercial music that a public service broadcaster ought to play and the last thing that should happen is it to be closed down. Radio One is far harder to justify, as is Radio Two.

People have speculated the whole thing is a cynical exercise in creating a grass-roots movement to ‘save’ 6 Music — perhaps the BBC realised that the crass stations they want to preserve like Radio One and BBC3 wouldn’t generate such almost universal sympathy and goodwill? Yet, if they’ve been cynical enough to do this, they’ve only just drawn further attention to the rubbish that they’ve been too weak to consider touching.

All I can say is that they’d better not even hint that they’re threatening BBC4.

Richard Madeley’s ‘Ghastly’ Tuna Fish Bake

Richard Madeley has been doing the Radio 2 6-8am show on a Saturday while Zoe Ball is on maternity leave. Having not been a devotee of daytime TV I’ve listened to the show with absolute fascination as he’s completely unpredictable: you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth next. It’s like ghoulishly waiting for an oral car-crash to happen. It can be very endearing and revealing, though. I heard him recently on the radio saying something I’ve hardly ever heard about a famous actor — that he’d met this actor at a party and he was completely pissed (can’t remember exactly who it was now). Most of the luvvies cover all this up when addressing the likes of you and me.

I only caught the end of his show this morning but I listened with increasing horror to his ‘recipe’ for Tuna Fish Bake. He apparently Twittered on Thursday that he was cooking it for his dinner (who says Twitter is all about trivia?). ‘Yup,it’s a culinary legend tonight, all tins,packets and e-numbers.Utter rubbish but tasty as hell’. He then gave out the recipe, if it can be called that:

  •  Tuna bake:1 tin chickn&1tin mushrm soup.2 tins tuna.Prawns.Mushrooms.Mixed herbs.Peas/sweetcorn.Dash w. wine.S&Pepper.Serve w pasta.Delish.
  • &two bags of crushed crisps.Mix it up,top put uncrushed crisps on top and bake for 30″.Vile recipe but comfort food like Heinz Tom Soup. 2:49 PM Feb 4th from web
  • Crushed crisps make it less runny;crisps on top make it, well, crispy.How tastily ghastly! 3:03 PM Feb 4th from web

Get more on his Twitter page.

This was apparently what he cooked Judy Finnegan on their first date! If the tins of soup are decent quality the recipe might not be too bad up to the entrance of the crisps. It’s those that catapult it into the league of completely bizarre crap. The recipe made it into the Daily Mail and he reprised it on the radio. If his recipes have anything like the pull of Richard and Judy’s book club then the supermarket shelves will be being stripped of tins of mushroom soup and tuna as I type.

Anyone who refers to tuna as ‘tuna fish’ immediately strikes a soft spot with me as I’m old enough to remember when it was thought of as something of a delicacy (thus you had to stress that it was fish) and didn’t have the cat-meat status that food snobs confer on the tinned stuff today.

Best Albums of the Last 30 Years?

‘My arse,’ as Jim Royle might say.

Radio Two listeners are having to pick the supposed best album of the last 30 years out of the motley list below. Maybe the list is selected from only the people who can be bothered to turn up to receive the award at the Brits? It’s difficult to imagine a bigger bunch of crap — who on earth shortlisted this rubbish? In many cases the album isn’t even the best that the artists concerned has made.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head – Coldplay: they might be a decent band if they got a singer. I thought ‘Viva la Vida’ was ok but most of Coldplay is pretentious whining — cock rock for middle-class students.

No AngelDido: this is actually a very good album and balances the pop influences of Rick Nowells (Stevie Nicks, Belinda Carlisle) with the trip-hop influences of her brother’s band Faithless. At least with names like Dido and Rollo, they had to admit they were posh — not kids off da street like most middle-class musicians. Because of inverted snobbery by middle-class music journalists the only people who were allowed to admit they liked Dido were those who had impeccably ‘street’ credentials — like Eninem, who knew a good tune when he heard one.

Diamond Life – Sade: this one is good too. It has the mark of a good album in that some of the non-single tracks are equally memorable as those that got in the charts. It’s got a lot of period charm.

Hopes And Fears – Keane: I don’t know anything about this one or Keane, in fact, apart from their song ‘Spiralling’ was ok.

What’s The Story Morning Glory – Oasis: a load of over-hyped, third-rate bombastic imitiations of Beatles tracks

No Jacket Required – Phil Collins: unbelievable — ‘Face Value’ was genuinely an album of its time with a single that has endured (even if the drumming gorilla didn’t save Cadbury’s). ‘No Jacket Required’ was loveable geezer Phil at his showbiz worst.

The Man Who – Travis: I’m the man who can’t remember anything about Travis, let alone their supposedly brilliant album

Rockferry – Duffy: OK but largely a throwback to the 60s in musical style — is imitating 40 year old music something that makes the best album of the last 40 years. At least it isn’t Amy Winehouse.

Urban Hymns – The Verve:I bought this on cd when it first came out, listened to it once and then never bothered again. Good opening tune but wasn’t it derived from the Rolling Stones?

Brothers In Arms – Dire Straits: like the Phil Collins selection, not their best album — they did some decent stuff a few years earlier but this is stadium formula bloat-rock.

Seems like whichever nerd put the shortlist together selected their favourite album (probably Keane or Travis) and then put it up against a load of other dross to ensure it wins — while milking Radio Two listeners for phone votes. It will be interesting to see how the women artists compare. I think anyone with any independent taste should organise a Rage Against the Machine campaign to make Dido’s ‘No Angel’ the top album of the last 30 years. It’s certainly the best there but that says everything about the competition.

I’ll try and think of my own list.

I Love Jeremy Vine

When I get the opportunity I love to listen to Jeremy Vine at lunchtime on Radio Two — I even started running at lunchtimes partly so I could listen to his show.

Part of the appeal is the mix of serious discussion with the absolutely ludicrous and including the whole spectrum in between.

Vine is also the heir to Lesley Crowther, when he presented ‘The Price is Right’ (‘you’re a frozen food salesman, how wonderful!)  in his ability to sound completely sympathetic and sincere to his interviewees but also planting the merest hint that he might not be as totally straight with them as they might thing. That may be entirely unintentional but I like to think I pick up more than a slight touch of irony.

Today’s showis a great example of the subject matter. We are promised: an earnest discussion on the power of supermarkets over the agricultural industry; a guide to the little known but now controversial country of Yemen; an item on meditation and how its practice might help people overcome depression; and a discussion on the ex-mayor of Preesall who, no doubt due to the ubiquity of his photgraph on the web, is now famous for his conviction for breaking into houses and stealing womens’ underwear! I’m sure the last item will be a sensitively handled debate on people inclined to transgenderism by proxy and not a cheap excuse for a few Carry On Film type jokes.