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Helen Lederer: Finger Food

Note: This review is from 2004

Review by Steve Bennett

The spoof cookery show with which Helen Lederer makes her
return to the fringe proves as appetising as balsa, a bland hotpot
of half-baked ideas, weak characters and mushy parody as vacuous
as the world it tries so hopelessly to satirise.

Lederer's unattractive and one-dimensional character is an
unsuccessful, wishy-washy lifestyle journalist given the chance
to host a pilot episode of some daytime TV drivel while the real
host is away.

As she cooks, she witters meaninglessly about soft furnishings,
kabbalah and her sexual exploits the preceding night, but none
of it makes anything approaching sense. The fact you can barely
hear half the lines Lederer whispers incoherently might be considered
small mercy. She doesn't seem to have all that much interest
in the material, and with tripe like this, who can blame her?

In a vain attempt to shore up the painfully weak premise,
we are introduced to a guest who has written a book combining
cookery and ­ how hilarious is this going to be? ­ sexually
transmitted diseases. So just when you thought it couldn't get
much worse, we go plummeting below the belt. Desperate, desperate

It's typical of a script with no comedy compass, an untidy
mish-mash that leaps all over the place, hoping to find something
that might just possibly be funny. Perhaps everyone involved
is hoping that manic energy might compensate for the lack of
jokes, or sense, but it doesn't. And it's all so unsophisticated
that the best it can muster for a finale isa custard pie in the

Miranda Hart, who plays the beleaguered, hopeless floor manager,
deserves to be mentioned in despatches for making at least a
little sense of it all. But she is the only person to emerge
from this amateur-night shambles with any shred of dignity.

Review date: 1 Jan 2004
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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