Dispatches: Supermarket Secrets, Channel 4

by | Jul 28, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it?

Journalist Jane Moore serves up facts to make us choke on our chicken and retch at a ready meal.

What to say if you disliked it?

A tabloidy, Watchdoggy, hamfisted investigation full of too many reconstituted facts and gimmicky additives (non-stop captions, taste tests etc).

What was good about it?

• Seeing thousands of tiny little chicks sliding down a conveyor belt into a massive henhouse. It was the most remarkable footage we’ve seen for ages, appearing like an Alton Towers ride to doom.

• The contributing experts – a Wigan butcher and several boffins – were much more enlightening than Jane’s dull script.

• The programme provided a useful guide to how to spot a hockmark, a telltale sign that a chicken has suffered burns from the ammonia they are exposed to.

What was bad about it?

• The horrific footage from a Norfolk farm where lame chickens were trampled to death.

• Jane’s narration, notably: “I’m here to meet Michael Crawford. No, not that one. It’s Dr Michael Crawford.”

• Chef Raymond Blanc slagging off supermarket food which is all well and good for someone who earns a fortune by charging £34 for a speck of paté and can afford to pick and choose. “That is a crime against ‘umanity,” he said when confronted with a ready-made boeuf bourguignon. “It’s jammy, it’s messy, it’s chemical”. Yeah, but you don’t need to take out a mortgage to buy one, mate.

• Jane failed to confront the supermarkets whose demand for cheap chicken means the producers only make 4p per bird and are forced to get poultry ready for the shelves in just 42 days, half as quick as 50 years ago.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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