Former Westlife singer Brian McFadden is unleashing his inner Keith Lemon for ITV’s new Through the Keyhole-style daytime show, Who’s Doing The Dishes?, which screens weekdays from Monday, September 1 at 4pm. The series asks four members of the public to guess which celebrity’s house they’re having a meal in that day. TV Times caught up with Brian to find out more…
It takes a brave celebrity to agree to cook for strangers – much less allow them to snoop around their house!
"I know, they were fabulous sports and really game for a laugh. They have to cook a starter, main and dessert for the guests and in between each course the diners can snoop around their house, looking for clues of whose house it is. Of course we’ve hidden revealing photos!"
How nervous are the stars about cooking?
"They start off in the kitchen pretending they don’t really care, but as soon as the first dish is out they get competitive and want the guests to like it. It does not go down well when the diners start criticising. Louis Walsh kicks off the first week and they said his food was ‘disgusting’! They didn’t realise he was watching them in the kitchen. To be fair, they were right though."
Is Louis that bad a cook?
"Worse. I was shocked by how awful he is. He never does it. He cooked a fish and chips starter to throw them off his Irish scent and the chips were like rocks. You could chip a tooth on them. I nearly vomited watching him make a 'marinade' for chicken wings – he just poured ketchup, mustard and water over them. The diners refused to eat it. Just horrendous."
Did they guess it was Louis?
"They did at one point, after various clues, but then they talked themselves out of it! That often happens. One diner thought it was Heston Blumenthal – as if he’d serve up that muck!"
What happens if the diners guess right?
"A cash prize goes into a collective pot for them to share at the end of the week. But if they lose, they have to do the dishes and clean the celeb’s messy kitchen. We had two diners refuse to do it. They had guessed correctly but been over-ruled by the other two in the group, so they made them do the dishes!"
Which stars were the most fun?
"Louis Walsh, as a day hanging out with him is always fun. Strictly’s Vincent Simone was a giggle too – although he’s so naughty we can’t use half the stuff he said. Sunderland defender Wes Brown was good as I got to hang around a footballer and his swanky house all day; and I enjoyed watching Jo Wood cook, as she had fantastic stories from her Rolling Stones days.
"The best food came from Steps singer Clare Richards: she did an amazing Thai green curry. Geoff Capes was perhaps the least successful. He’s obviously a competitive man so took the whole thing a bit too seriously. The diners didn’t like his furniture or food and he did not take criticism well! You really don’t want to be having a go at the World’s Strongest Man when he’s listening to it in the kitchen!"
Post Westlife, your TV career really seems to be taking off…
"It’s not really a career, I never thought about doing telly. I did a bit when I lived in Australia, and when I came back to the UK I was asked to present some guest spots on Daybreak. I thought it’d be a nice way to show my face on UK TV again and really enjoyed it. It gets me out of my comfort zone. I’m not nervous singing on stage any more, whereas TV gets the nerves and adrenalin flowing again, which I like. I’m still doing music. I’m just having a six-month break to enjoy TV."
You’re fronting a cooking show so we’ve got to ask, Brian, what are your culinary skills like?
"Rubbish. I can do beans on toast or egg on toast. That’s it. Filming this series has actually put me off wanting to cook – too much preparation!"
Finally, who does the dishes in your house?
"The dishwasher. I’m not a Marigolds man. I tell my wife [Irish model Vogue Williams] she should wear the gloves but, as you can imagine, that doesn’t go down too well!"
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.