Saveur speaks truth.

No less an authority than Saveur has declared Two Fat Ladies the best cooking show ever made.” Tell us something we don’t already know.

Saveur.jpg

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“Well . . . we’ve done it again . . .”

It was always my intention when writing this blog to do a sort of summary post once I’d finished the series. Now I find I’m a year out from recapping the final episode and still haven’t done it.

It’s easy to get swallowed up by nostalgia when valorizing a decades-old TV program. (As a lifelong Doctor Who fan, I know this too well.) That Clarissa and Jennifer themselves seemed like throwbacks to an earlier time (characters out of Wodehouse or Saki, perhaps), and that on the show they constantly referenced the past, usually comparing it favorably to the present, compounds this problem. Continue reading

“Leave the love out of it; stick to the money” – A Day at the Races

Here it is, the final recap! Hope it doesn’t disappoint. – WK

TITLE: A Day at the Races

NUMBER: Series 4, Episode 4

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 28, 1999

SETTINGS: At the opening of the episode, Clarissa and Jennifer arrive at yet another fishing boat, identified by a title as being in “St. Abbs, Northumberland,” though most maps put it on the Scottish side of the border. (The fisherman they meet has a heavy Scottish accent, which seems to support the latter theory.)

“St. Abbs, Northumberland.”

Scottish border map

Note the border.

No flirting with the fisherman this time, shockingly, even though he does give them a taste of what Clarissa says are langoustines. [They look like ordinary enough shrimp to me – WK]. Continue reading

“Dinky little peaches, dinky little moussies, for the dainty little lumberjacks!” – Timber!

TITLE: Timber!

NUMBER: Series 4, Episode 3

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 21, 1999

[This episode is one of my all-time favorites – the final classic, perhaps. – WK]

SETTINGS:

The ladies are in “bonnie Scotland” again, and fairly far up into it this time (in the Ardnamurchan peninsula).

DCF 1.0

They pass by the seashore at one point. Continue reading

“Well, I hate to break this rustic idyll . . .” – On Safari

Title: On Safari

NUMBER: Series 4, Episode 2

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 14, 1999

SETTINGS: The ladies visit Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside.

Knowsley logo

[From what I’ve read, “On Safari” was actually the last episode to be filmed before Jennifer took ill. This interesting timeline of Jennifer’s life claims Series 4 was to have been the final series anyway.] Continue reading

“No occupation for a gentlewoman” – Potatoes Galore

TITLE: Potatoes Galore

NUMBER: Series 4, Episode 1

ORIGINAL AIRDATE: September 7, 1999

[A note before I begin recapping these final four episodes. Jennifer died on August 10th of 1999, and the experience of watching this season now, after living with this project for some time, must be similar to what it was like for BBC viewers to watch it then, knowing she was already gone. The show can’t quite feel the same.

[The nice thing about it is, she doesn’t seem ill in any of the episodes. On the contrary, she seems vibrant and well – in “Timber!”, for instance, I would argue she’s in as good a form as we’ve seen her in. It is only in the voiceover work, obviously recorded after she became sick, that you can hear a difference – her voice is thick and painful. Those moments, usually dubbed over the motorbike sequences or the introductions of the dishes at dinner, are very difficult for me to sit through.

[However, for the most part, she seems fine, and in a way, it is good that her illness took her so suddenly. There was no decline in the quality of the program or her ability to perform. As we shall see, these final four episodes are not compromises in any way.

[Anyway, not to prolong this digression, but I wasn’t too familiar with “Potatoes Galore” before – in fact, there were times when I felt I hadn’t ever seen it. However, when I said as much out loud, my girlfriend said, “Oh, that’s ridiculous, you’ve made me watch this one a hundred times.”

[Well, be that as it may, it’s a good one. Enjoy. – WK]

SETTINGS: This episode is set in (or on) Jersey, a place I didn’t know much about. [It is an island, a “possession” of the United Kingdom but closer to France and apparently overlapped with the latter in some cultural ways.]

Jersey

The ladies travel to a potato farm connected with the Les Prés Manor House, [a property that apparently has gone by other names in the past]. Continue reading