A couple of novel-related programmes on BBC2 tonight.
The Great Outdoors is a short series that was on BBC4 last year. It’s about a group of ramblers enjoying the countryside and features Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey fame and who’s shortly to star as Hattie Jacques — who, in turn, I remember well from Sykes along with Derek ‘Corky’ Guyler and his washboard — if this means zilch to you then congratulations on being young — as well as the Carry On films.
I watched a few odd bits of when it was on BBC4 — mainly on the prompting of local newspaper The Bucks Herald which said it was written by local writers and was filmed largely on the Ridgeway locally around the Chilterns. While I’m not exactly sure where the embedded clip below was filmed, the beautiful landscape shots are very typical of the local area where The Angel is set and it’s quite Â incredible to think these areas are within forty miles of the centre of London. The beauty of the countryside is one thing that Kim will fall in love with.
Earlier is Michel Roux’s Service. I caught the last half of the programme last night. It’s a series a bit like The Apprentice and Masterchef (without the cooking) whereby the eponymous restaurateur will train some young people (for whom the term ‘rough diamond’ may have been invented) into developing the service skills required for a Michelin starred restaurant. Needless to say, in the first episode they were hopeless in a pizza restaurant and we’re now promised they’ll go back to basics in a greasy spoon and curry house.
I’ll watch this quite carefully as my novel has a restaurant customer service angle — it won’t be the main focus but it will provide some incidental materials. I’m also quite intrigued by the systems that are used to manage restaurant service delivery. As with making a Christmas dinner at home, it seems simple because lots of people do it but it’s very difficult to get right.
I’ve not often eaten in Michelin starred restaurants but I did once have a wedding anniversary spectacular at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quatre Saisons — pushing the boat outÂ with a surprise bouquet of roses waiting on the table after the champagne in the garden before we got started on the however many course meal it was. Of course it cost more than the monthly shopping budget but demonstrated how excellent customer service makes you think it’s all worth it — until the credit card bill turns up.