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MasterChef voted best cookery programme of all time

Posted May 2, 2013 - Press Releases

But a third of Brits would rather eat a ready meal while they watch 

  • Micro-chefs: 1.36million[1] Brits admit to tucking into a take away or supermarket ready meal whilst watching our favourite cookery shows
  • Pukka power: Jamie Oliver  voted the best TV foodie of all time; Fanny Craddock proves more popular than Greg Wallace

British cookery programmes have evolved over the years from Fanny Craddock and Delia to Nigella and Heston. But according to new research by Freeview, it’s the current phenomenon of competitive cookery shows that tickle our taste buds, with MasterChef being voted our favourite cookery show of all-time (15%) – and The Great British Bake Off in second place (10%).

Top 10 cookery programmes of all time:

  1. MasterChef (1990 – current) (15%)
  2. Great British Bake Off (2010 – current) (10%)
  3. Floyd on Food (1986 – 1996) (6%)
  4. River Cottage (1998 – current) (5%)
  5. Nigella Bites (1998 – 2002) (4%)
  6. Rick Steins Food Odyssey (1999 – 2009) (3%)
  7. Great British Menu (2006 – current) (3%)
  8. The Naked Chef (1999 – 2001) (3%)
  9. Galloping Gourmet (1969 – 1971) (2%)
  10. Delia’s How To Cook (1998 – 2001) (2%)

However, it would seem the popularity of these TV programmes has converted us into a nation of ‘Micro Chefs’ rather than aspiring chefs. According to the research, approximately 1.4million Brits (3%) admit to writing down dishes from cookery shows such as MasterChef and Delia only to buy them as ready meals later and over a third of us (31%) admit to tucking into a take away or supermarket ready meal whilst watching our favourite cookery shows.

When it comes to our all-time favourite TV foodie Jamie Oliver, who first appeared as the Naked Chef in 1999, came top (15%), ahead of Gordon and Delia in equal second place (11%) while Nigella rounded off  the top five with 6% of votes – 84% of which came from men.

Top 10 TV foodies of all time:

  1. Jamie Oliver (15%)
  2. Gordon Ramsay (11%)
  3. Delia Smith (11%)
  4. Keith Floyd, (8%)
  5. Nigella Lawson (6%)
  6. Mary Berry (4%)
  7. Heston Blumenthal (4%)
  8. Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall (4%)
  9. Rick Stein (4%)
  10. Fanny Craddock (3%)

Celebrity chef Lisa Faulkner, who won Celebrity MasterChef in 2010, commented: “I’m not surprised MasterChef has been voted as the favourite cookery programme of all time. That said, it’s a shame our fascination for watching our favourite foodies hasn’t had an effect on what we’re cooking in our own kitchens. For me, the great thing about cookery programmes is they inspire me to try new dishes and show that making a good quality meal doesn’t have to take hours.”

The research also revealed that when it comes to cookery inspiration, Brits are now turning to the TV just as much as recipe books (both 39%) with 15% of us under the age of 45 taking inspiration from programmes we are watching, rather than picking up a recipe book to cook a decent meal.

Guy North, Marketing Communications Director at Freeview, said: “It’s really interesting to see that TV is now as influential as recipe books.  With the adoption of digital technologies like the PVR, people can record and store their favourite series so they never miss an episode – creating their own personalised, digital recipe library.”


Research conducted by Populus amongst 2,000 adults (18yrs +) from  12th – 14th April 2013.


[1]Source ONS, 2011 consensus – based on 45.5m adults living in the UK

[2] 972 of the 1000 highest rated programmes shown on UK TV (live or pre-recorded programmes watched within the same week) between 1st January and 30th June 2012 were available on Freeview. Source: BARB


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