A Slice Of The Action (Carlton Food Network, 1999)
Two decades ago I got OnDigital, and for the first time the multi-channel world opened up to me at home. I have written a lot about the shows that I enjoyed on various channels including BBC Choice and UK Play, but I also watched a lot of the other channels, where they put a lot of effort into making original programming even though it was clear that there weren’t a huge amount of people watching.
Another channel that was part of the lineup was Carlton Food Network (later renamed Taste CFN in a campaign to revive the flagging channel which naturally killed it off all together in 2001). I didn’t watch this channel reguarly as I don’t have that much interest in cookery shows, but I noticed that there were a few food-themed game shows among the schedule.
These included one hosted by Paul Coia (of Catchword fame) that I’ve forgotten the title of (that’s how much of an impact it made on me), and there was also this one. A Slice Of The Action was the self-styled crazy culinary show, hosted by Paul Ross (who is also following me on Twitter, hello Paul!). and two teams of three took part, consisting of two B-list celebrities (look, it’s that bloke who used to be in EastEnders!), alongside the team captains Amanda Grant and Andrew Nutter, who were also chefs.
Although there were various rounds, there were a couple of unusual things that made the show stand out. Firstly, the two teams were always shown at slanted camera angles, and there was a rather nonsensical scoring system that seemed to be made up on the spot by Paul featuring the contents of a fruit bowl. So whenever a right answer was given, Paul would throw over a banana or an orange and so on, but I don’t know if two bananas had a greater value than two oranges. Don’t worry, I haven’t had sleepless nights about it.
First up was the food file. Before the show, the contestants were asked about their favourite food. The other team then had to determine which of the statements given were correct. Next was guess the gadget, where teams had to identify a mystery kitchen utensil whilst wearing blindfolds and oven gloves. It’s worth guessing, there could be a melon at stake on this one.
Then a meal had to be created against the clock, they had just three minutes. This is followed by the taste test, the one that Paul finds the most edible wins a bonus. This is then followed by a few more rounds. At the end, the losing team with the least fruit had to do a food forfeit such as tasting a hot pepper. A Slice Of The Action seemed to be repeated endlessly for a while, but even though it was never going to be the highest-rated show on TV it was always a fun way to pass the time.