Ready Steady Cook

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Ready Steady Cook
Readysteadycookuk2004.jpg
Host Ainsley Harriott conversing with the chefs Lesley Waters and James Tanner, during a recording session on 15 August 2004
Also known as Celebrity Ready Steady Cook (1997–2003)
Format Cookery game show
Presented by Fern Britton (1994–2000)
Ainsley Harriott (2000–2010)
Theme music composer Ken Bolam
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 21 (Original series)
9 (Celebrity series)
No. of episodes 1735 (Original series)
102 (Celebrity series)
22 (specials)
1859 (total)
Production
Executive producer(s) Linda Clifford
Running time 30 mins (1994–2000)
45 mins (2000–2010)
Production company(s) Endemol
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two (Original series)
BBC One (Celebrity series)
Picture format 4:3 (1994–2000)
16:9 (2001–2010)
Original airing Original series: 24 October 1994 (1994-10-24) – 2 February 2010 (2010-02-02)
Celebrity series: 11 July 1997 (1997-07-11) – 3 January 2003 (2003-01-03)
Chronology
Related shows MasterChef
(1990–2001, 2005–present)

Ready Steady Cook was a BBC daytime TV cooking programme; it debuted on 24 October 1994 and the last edition was broadcast on 2 February 2010. The programme was hosted by Fern Britton from 1994 until 2000 when celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott became the new host. In August 2000, when Harriott took over, the duration of the programme was extended from 30 to 45 minutes.

The programme was originally recorded in the small (and now closed) Fountain TV studios in New Malden it then moved to the Capital Studios in Wandsworth. After Capital Studios closed down in mid-2008, recording was moved to Studio TC2 in the BBC Television Centre, London.

On 5 November 2010, it was announced that the show would not return for a new series.[1] No new episodes were produced, but repeats of the show continued to be broadcast until 18 February 2011.[2]

In CBBC show Horrible Histories, during Seasons 1 and 2, a parody of Ready Steady Cook was one of the sketches. It featured different historical characters bringing in food from their historical era.

Format[edit]

Ingredients[edit]

Two members of the public provided two celebrity chefs with a bag of ingredients they had bought, usually to a set budget of £5. The two teams were designated "red tomato" and "green pepper" (referred to as "red kitchen" and "green kitchen" after the August 2007 revamp, though the tomato and pepper motifs still featured on the guests' aprons and in the show's logo). Occasionally, the permitted budget was increased: a so-called Bistro Bag allowed for ingredients of up to £7.50, while the Gourmet Bag may have had a value of up to £10. On some occasions, they have used a £3.50 Budget Bag. Also on a few shows, a Lucky Dip Bag was used. It contained ten food items. The chef closed his or her eyes and picked out half of the items at the beginning. At the halfway mark, the chef randomly picked a sixth item. The sixth item could have helped or hinder the chef. The chefs had no prior knowledge of the ingredients they had to prepare. Another format was used on occasion in which both kitchens were given the same ingredients, and the toss of a red and green die determined who had first pick.

The Main Course[edit]

The chefs had to make several dishes out of the said ingredients (and a generously stocked kitchen containing basic ingredients and spices) in 20 minutes, with the help of the contestants and the programme host. As the contestants taste the prepared dishes, the host asks the chef some questions about the food. Prior to the September 2006 programme season it was customary for the chefs to name their dishes, which usually included a pun. Naming of the dishes continues to take place.

The creations were voted on by the studio audience, who each held up a card showing either a red tomato or green pepper. The winner received a cash prize of £100, which celebrity guests donate to charity (an example the regular guests will sometimes follow) but this was changed to a plate towards the end of the series. The runner-up used to receive a hamper which included a variety of items, such as a set of knives, pasta and sauces, olive oil and balsamic vinegar but later received a Ready Steady Cook mug due to budget restraints.

Quickie bag[edit]

The quickie bag section of the show then followed. This was introduced in 2000, the same year Ainsley Harriott became presenter, extending the programme from 30 to 45 minutes. The contents of the quickie bag used to be decided on by the series producer and a home economist. Their decision was based on produce that was currently in season or unusual ingredients that hadn't featured on the show recently.

In late August 2007, the quickie bag changed format with the bag being brought in by an organisation, company or member of the public who challenged the chefs to prepare the dish.

The two chefs each had a chance to describe what they would cook using the bag of ingredients. The audience members voted for which chef they would most like to see cook. The winner then had 10 minutes to prepare the described dishes, with the help of the other chef and the host. The hectic preparation of the chosen chef's suggested dishes often includes a slight element of chaos and ad-libbing along the way. A viewer's question relating to a cooking problem is usually put to the chefs, further adding to the pressure upon them to complete their dishes in the time allowed.

Celebrity Ready Steady Cook[edit]

Originally as a spin-off that ran alongside the original, Celebrity Ready Steady Cook had celebrities, often competing against a family member or friend, provide the bag of ingredients to the same budget of £5. Later series would see the public completely replaced with celebrity guests.

Celebrity appearances include: David Tennant, Wendy Richard, Honor Blackman, James May, Richard Hammond, Paul O'Grady as alter-ego Lily Savage, Cliff Richard, Twiggy, Fiona Bruce, Gail Porter, Midge Ure, Amanda Redman, Ade Edmonson and Alan Davies.[3][4]

Featured chefs[edit]

Variations on the format[edit]

  • Classic Bag – The original format where the contestant brought in a bag of ingredients costing up to £5.
  • Budget Bag – Similar to the 'Classic Bag' but the ingredients could only cost up to £3.50.
  • Bistro Bag – Ingredients worth £7.50.
  • Gourmet Bag – Worth £10.
  • Doubling Up Bag – Both contestants bring in the same ingredients. The host used a coin or dice with a Green Pepper and Red Tomato on to decide which chef would decide what to do with the ingredients first. The other chef must do something different.
  • Forfeit Bag – The chefs had to choose a card at random with a forfeit which prohibited their use of a certain store cupboard ingredient such as No Fresh Herbs, No Spices, No Citrus or No Wine.
  • Gamble Bag – The chefs were presented with three mystery ingredients and are given the opportunity to swap one of their ingredients with one of these mystery ingredients. They do not have to swap but if they do, they cannot change their minds once the new ingredient is revealed.
  • Lucky Dip – The Chefs were presented with a bag of ten items from which they had to pick five at random. After 10 minutes had passed, they then chose a sixth ingredient, which depending on what the chef has started cooking, can help or hinder them.

Transmissions[edit]

Original series[edit]

Series Episodes Start date End date
1
23
24 October 1994
23 December 1994
2
69
9 January 1995
2 June 1995
3
115
16 October 1995
17 June 1996
4
142
2 September 1996
19 June 1997
5
136
20 August 1997
15 June 1998
6
109
7 September 1998
12 July 1999
7
108
6 September 1999
30 May 2000
8
65
14 August 2000
5 January 2001
9
65
22 January 2001
30 July 2001
10
55
3 September 2001
21 December 2001
11
47
21 January 2002
28 May 2002
12
65
12 August 2002
20 December 2002
13
43
13 January 2003
6 May 2003
14
65
18 August 2003
23 December 2003
15
59
2 January 2004
26 May 2004
16
123
31 August 2004
10 May 2005
17
120
5 September 2005
10 May 2006
18
123
18 September 2006
20 April 2007
19
120
27 August 2007
16 July 2008
20
48
6 October 2008
15 June 2009
21
35
24 November 2009
2 February 2010

Specials[edit]

  • Children in Need: 20 November 1998
  • Happy Birthday!: 2 editions: 12 & 13 February 2002
  • Daytime Celebrity Christmas Specials: 7 editions: 27 December 2002 – 3 January 2003
  • Daytime Celebrity Christmas Specials: 5 editions: 26 December 2003 – 31 December 2003
  • 10th Birthday Specials: 5 editions: 25–29 October 2004
  • Christmas Special: 23 December 2004
  • Sports Relief Special: 12 July 2006

Celebrity Ready Steady Cook[edit]

Series Episodes Start date End date
1 9 11 June 1997 24 December 1997
2 9 7 January 1998 4 March 1998
3 15 8 July 1998 24 December 1998
4 6 8 January 1999 12 February 1999
5 9 11 June 1999 15 December 1999
6 12 27 December 1999 2 July 2000
7 17 18 October 2000 16 April 2001
8 23 4 May 2001 29 June 2001
8 September 2001 29 June 2002
9 2 6 November 2002 3 January 2003

Books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC axes 'Ready Steady Cook'". Digital Spy. 5 November 2010. 
  2. ^ BBC Two - Ready Steady Cook - Episodes by date, February 2011
  3. ^ Celebrity Ready, Steady, Cook (1997– ) Full Cast & Crew
  4. ^ Ready, Steady, Cook (1994– ) Full Cast & Crew

External links[edit]