Saturday Kitchen

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Saturday Kitchen Live
Genre Cookery
Presented by Gregg Wallace (2002-03)
Antony Worrall Thompson (2003-06)
James Martin (2006—)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 400 (As of 21 March 2015) (Cactus TV episodes only)
Running time 90 minutes
Production company(s) Prospect Pictures (2002–06)
Cactus TV (2006–)
Original channel BBC Two (2002–06)
BBC One (2006–)
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 26 January 2002 (2002-01-26) – present
Related shows Saturday Cooks!

Saturday Kitchen Live is a 90 minute cookery programme, which is broadcast live on BBC One on Saturday mornings. It is currently presented by James Martin; previous presenters have included Antony Worrall Thompson and Gregg Wallace. The programme is currently produced by Cactus TV (perhaps best known for the Richard & Judy show on Channel 4). The programme has also aired on RTÉ One in Ireland on Saturday mornings, the episodes shown are several months old.


The first programmes, starting on 26 January 2002 and shown on BBC Two, were presented by a then relatively unknown Gregg Wallace with a different celebrity chef each week. As a BBC production for the Open University, the programme had an educational remit and a relatively low budget, showing clips of the likes of Keith Floyd and Rick Stein from the BBC Archives to fill time.

2003–2006: the Antony Worrall Thompson era[edit]

The first series with Gregg Wallace had been deemed a success, and Saturday Kitchen was relaunched as a major BBC brand. Wallace, at the time relatively unknown, was replaced with an established celebrity chef, Antony Worrall Thompson, presenting the show. The format was revamped and, in a bid to secure higher ratings, the programme was switched from BBC Two to BBC One, which had traditionally shown children's programmes in this slot since the early 1970s, a move which courted some controversy. Saturday Kitchen gained a more entertainment-based approach, with the focus moving away from simple suppers and snacks to more aspirational food with an increasing number of new chefs appearing, many of whom were Michelin-starred.

Until June 2006, the show was produced by Prospect Pictures with each show featuring two guest chefs who demonstrated how to cook a dish of their choosing. The guests and main presenter would also pitch another dish, each to be voted on by the audience by telephone - the winning chef cooked the dish at the end of the show. Worrall Thompson recorded a running total of the number of shows he won on the show by using fridge magnets.

2006–present: the James Martin era[edit]

In June 2006, ITV scheduled a similar cooking show in exactly the same time slot as Saturday Kitchen. Worrall Thompson defected from the BBC to present the show, which was titled Saturday Cooks! and also made by Prospect Pictures. The format was almost identical to the old style Saturday Kitchen format, but with different theme music and a different set. Both Saturday Kitchen and Saturday Cooks! started at the same time of day and ran for the same duration, although ITV later rescheduled Saturday Cooks! to noon.

With Worrall Thompson presenting the rival show, the BBC recruited James Martin as the new presenter and revamped the format once again, switching their choice of independent producer to Cactus TV. The show currently features a Heaven and Hell element, in which a celebrity guest describes their most beloved and loathed foods, and the viewers vote for which recipe based on each James Martin will cook at the end of the show. This idea was also borrowed for ITV's Sunday Feast the week before the first Cactus-made Saturday Kitchen aired but 3 weeks after the official launch of Saturday Kitchen, where the idea was first announced.

Sunday Feast was axed following an unsuccessful run of only 10 shows.

In February 2007, Saturday Kitchen was accused of misleading viewers to phone in to an apparently live segment, which was found to have been pre-recorded a week earlier.[1]

As well as cookery, the show features a regular wine tasting element, featuring wine experts such as Olly Smith, Tim Atkin, Peter Richards, Susie Barrie and Susy Atkins. Almost half the show's length is made up of edited versions of food shows from the BBC archives including, amongst others, MasterChef, Keith Floyd, Antonio Carluccio, Rick Stein and Delia Smith. These elements are used at frequent intervals throughout the show to facilitate clean-up and "resetting" of the studio kitchen.

Since its launch the show's viewings figures have increased dramatically. At launch, it received 1.2 million viewers but now reaches nearly 3 million viewers. It reached a peak of 2.7 million on 9 January 2010.

The "Saturday Kitchen Cookbook with James Martin" was published by BBC Books in July 2007.

In May 2008, chef John Torode joined the Saturday Kitchen team as guest presenter in James Martin's absence.

James Martin was replaced as presenter by Matt Tebbutt in October and November 2009 for two weeks.

On 8 September 2012, the first episode was broadcast from a new studio set. The new set is an improvement over the old one, as it has mains gas and running water. James Martin remarked on the show that this would lead to improvements in cooking times for the omelette challenge, for which a new, blank leader-board was placed. The new studio featured several new additions including completely new counters, back wall and equipment. The new studio has come under heavy criticism for being too generic, and no improvement over the older one. The new set featured a new popular 'guests table' made from a tree root with a glass top. Such tables are available from retailers like Sustainable-Furniture and House Rootwood House.

The Omelette Challenge[edit]

Each week the guest chefs are challenged to cook a three-egg omelette as quickly as possible.

The current record holder is Paul Ainsworth with a time of 16.00 seconds, set on Saturday, 04 April 2015.


Guest chefs who have appeared on Saturday Kitchen include:

A small number of the show's guests are regulars on Ready Steady Cook, including Ready Steady Cook's host Ainsley Harriott.

Spring Kitchen with Tom Kerridge[edit]

Spring Kitchen with Tom Kerridge
Genre Cookery
Presented by Tom Kerridge
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 14
Running time 45 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 576i (16:9 SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release 22 April 2014 (2014-04-22) – present

Spring Kitchen is a weekday daytime spin-off of Saturday Kitchen presented by chef Tom Kerridge.



External links[edit]