TV: Eat Your Heart Out With Nick Helm, Dave

Nice work if you can get it. Nick Helm’s latest series is a mix of sitcom and food programme as he travels around meeting friends, family and heroes, gets to cook food and, on the downside, copes with breaking up with his girlfriend.

In the first of 16 episodes he doesn’t go far, heading to Islington close to where he grew up and close to where he lives now. There are some lovely, sumptuous scenes in various eateries as he learns how to make Banh Xeo (sizzling pancake) and gets to cook a Desperate Dan-sized “cowboy chop" which he shares with Bob Mortimer.

Mortimer turns out to be a hero of Helm, although he is surprised that Helm even knows who he is: “I feel like Arthur Askey these days – someone your mum and dad would watch.” Bob tucks in but admits that he has a penchant for cheap microwave macaroni cheese that he eats when he visits Palm Springs – “the American Pot Noodle.”

Meanwhile in the background during the episode we see Helm’s girlfriend strop off, text him saying “we need to talk” and then dump him, leaving him to gobble up two meals in their favourite restaurant on their anniversary night.

This is a simple concept then, but also an odd fact-meets-fiction one. We are watching the real Helm playing himself when he eats and cooks, but presumably it is not the real Helm getting dumped by his girlfriend and sharing his al dente pasta with the sound man. 

As hybrids go, this is somewhere between The Larry Sanders Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Trip, Man v Food and Sunday Brunch. Helm has some good people joining him too - with comics Nish Kumar and David Trent set to pitch up as he heads further afield than north London to places including Peckham, Paris and Berlin. 

Just one problem with the first episode. The researcher needs to up their game - the Screen on the Green cinema in Upper Street is not where the Sex Pistols played their debut gig. 

Eat Your Heart Out With Nick Helm, Dave, Thursdays from August 24, 8pm. Ketchup, sorry, catch up on episodes here.


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