Jamie’s Return To School Dinners, Channel 4

by | Sep 18, 2006 | All, Reviews

Did we like it?

The disheveled campaigner takes on parents who are poisoning their children and authorities who are complicit in this outrage. He looks unhappy and tired. His bottom lip pokes outward. But just when we thought we’d regard Jamie Oliver’s update as an almighty failure, along comes nice Mr Blair, sitting in his sunny garden, throwing money at the problem. Maybe, just maybe, those obese, spotty kids of this great nation can be spared an early death and will fulfil their destiny to become the next generation of single mothers and absent fathers.

What was good about it?

• The ludicrously staged culmination in which a bewitched Jamie got what he wanted from Tony. Even the PM looked a bit uncomfortable at Jamie’s unrestrained gratitude that Thatcher’s kitchen-closing reign of terror could now, at long last, be reversed. On top of that, Jamie managed to squeeze out a commitment that a nationwide group of school kitchens will be established to become centres of excellence. Sorted!

• Jamie making education secretary Alan Johnson swallow hard – and provoking a near fit in the minister’s spinlady – after he’d been told no spending commitments could be made beyond 2008. “Does that mean our boys are going to be out of Iraq after 2008?” Jamie enquired. Johnson deserved the rebuke after pretending that it was every parent’s right to poison their child with crisps and fizzy drinks if they so chose. “There is an issue of personal liberty,” the minister mealy mouthed.

• Jamie’s initiative in Lincolnshire where school kitchens went out with Thatcher and her handbags so he’s calling on pubs to provide the kids with hot lunches. At his guinea pig pub, chef Steve – a dab-hand at the old nouvelle cuisine lark – tried to get away with lousy hygiene, poor ingredients and rubbish excuses (“I hit the woods running – but there’s a light out there.”), but Jamie wasn’t having none of it and sorted the bloke out – only for the pub manager to pull out of the scheme just as Jamie has found Steve some cheap carrots.

• Jamie’s set-piece rant: “I’ve spent two years of being PC about parents. It’s kind of time now to say, you know, if you’re giving, you know, very young kids bottles and bottles of fizzy drink you’re a f**king arsehole, you’re a tosser. If you give them bags of f**king s***ty sweets at a very young age you’re an idiot.”

What was bad about it?

• Nutty Nora the Dinner Lady seems to be tearful and subdued now she’s at the forefront of Jamie’s campaign. She used to be such a jolly soul when all she had to do in the morning was open a box of frozen pizzas.

• The mother who wouldn’t stand up to her son’s anti-pasta, anti-rice stance.

• The feeling that once Jamie stopped his hectoring and the cameras had gone, everyone would return to not giving a damn.

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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