Keith Floyd

Keith Floyd died yesterday.

I have never really enjoyed any chefs or cooks on TV. Floyd himself thought that he had started an endless cult of people consuming food and cookery programmes as entertainment without actually cooking anything themselves. I tend to agree.

But, back in the 1980s when I was a kid and watching TV when I should have been doing homework, Floyd was a legend.

Can you believe a TV cookery show today would ever use Peaches as the theme music?

Even though his producer was a perfectionist and often insisted on multiple re-takes, the shambolic impression of him at work made it look like everything was shot in single take. Floyd would issues instructions to the camera to ‘focus back on me’ or ‘look at the food’ and the camera would willingly oblige.

He was never without a drink and in reality was probably a miserable wino, but on camera was a bon vivant

In an era of endless celebrities, where fame is achieved as an exponential result of being famous, Floyd was a genuine entertainer. He deserved more success from his 20+ books and constant TV presence through the 80s to 90s, but the new era took his ideas and sanitised the swearing and drinking from the mix – Jamie Oliver being his most obvious heir, though Nigel Slater is also clearly an admirer.

Oliver is himself incredibly talented, but he can’t quite match the sheer dangerousness of Floyd trying to drink wine, cook food, talk to the camera, and all on a bouncing fishing trawler off the English coast.


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