The subjects of the show at some point can be expected to say, ‘I don’t understand why I’m the size I am, I hardly eat anything at all!’ These are usually proper fatties who you just know are having takeaways all the time and popping off down the cornershop to eat a multi-pack of sausage rolls.
The show is presented by Anna Richardson, who seems to be the kind of person who you employ if you can’t afford Davina McCall. She’s quite smug, but this is probably because at some point in her career she sued Arnold Schwarzenegger and settled out of court with him. I’m guessing this means she has a massive room full of cash somewhere. If I could sue Arnie on account of him touching one of my man boobs, I would probably do so too, especially if his aides then claimed that I flirted with him. If there is one thing I am never going to do, it is flirt with Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I would definitely win. I’ve seen Indecent Proposal (actually, I haven’t) and I’m not going to go down that route to earn my fortune. But if he wants to libel me, that is a different thing entirely. Kerching!
I used to quite like Anna Richardson because I have vague memories of her ‘trying out’ some cosmetic therapies for a TV show and one of them went horribly wrong. So I liked her because, poor her, something bad happened to her and I felt sorry for her. But I was slightly conflicted because, what sort of idiot has things injected into her face just for my entertainment? Well, the kind of idiot who is Anna Richardson. In the end, she was fine, so hooray, but honestly…
These days though my only real impression of her is almost overpowering smugness. And that never comes across well.
Anyway, how the programme works is this. A couple of fatties do food diaries for a week. At the same time, the production company assign two private dicks to follow them around and see what they are really eating. These detectives follow the couple into supermarkets, cornershops, their workplaces, basically everywhere and ask the employees what the fatties were really eating. Sometimes they go into takeaways and say, ‘Can you just give me everything that Mr Fatty Bum Bum, who was just in here, had?’ And the takeaway employees give them the same food and probably throw in a couple of extra kebabs, some chicken wings, a portion of chips and three 12 inch pizzas. Because why not, Channel 4 is paying for it? Sometimes the gumshoes root through bins to find what the wrappers reveal (nothing, usually) It is all very sordid and hopefully they get paid a lot for doing it.
Now, I’m not saying this is all a con, but if I knew that I was appearing on Secret Eaters, I probably would record everything that I was actually eating. Because I’ve seen the show, I know that they follow you. So I’m a little bit suspicious that Channel 4 give the fatties five hundred pounds to blow on takeaways and then say, ‘Don’t forget NOT TO WRITE THEM DOWN IN YOUR FOOD DIARY. Sorry, did I say NOT TO WRITE, I meant write, not NOT TO WRITE. So just make sure you don’t forget not to not write the food that you didn’t not eat and that not eating not nottety not not not write. Is that clear?’
And the fatties just nod and wander off thinking about where the nearest KFC is. Their blood sugar is probably already plummeting with all that mental activity.
In the first series, at the end of the week the fatties were told to meet Anna Richardson in a café. They usually sit down with a massive fry up and then… Oh my god! The back wall of the café swings back to reveal a secret food lair, presided over by a mad scientist lady in a white coat. She is the opposite of Anna Richardson. Anna Richardson is, encouragingly, a relatively normal sized lady. She’s done the whole ‘trying to be incredibly skinny’ thing and found it not to be to her taste. She has settled on a perfectly reasonable and healthy size. Mad scientist in a white coat lady who is a nutritionist is much thinner, much more austere. She looks at Anna and the fatties like they have crawled out from under a lump of polyunsaturated fat. She has a clipboard. The only thing going for her is that she is, probably, a real nutritionist and, probably, could punch out Gillian McKeith if it came to a battle over nutritional advice.
Anna Richardson says, ‘Look, fatty number 1, at this amusing footage we have of you sneaking into a Fried Chicken Shop on your way home to dinner, from the Pizza shop where you had lunch. Look at the state of you! Our dicks followed you in and found out what you bought! Shame on you! Mad scientist lady, give us the nutritional facts!’
Dr Nutritiono consults her clipboard.
‘That chicken wing you ate had more calories in it than would be liberated if I was to set fire to a puppy. Which I would never do. Under normal circumstances.’
‘There you are then,’ Anna says grinning at Fatty 1. ‘Can you believe it? One chicken wing has more calories in it than you claimed you ate in the whole of Wednesday and Thursday put together and slathered in mayonnaise.’
She then turns to Fatty 2 who is feeling good. Fatty 2 has never snuck into a takeaway and pretended to be ordering food for two people by asking for one lot of chips with salt and vinegar and one without. This never fools anyone who works in a chip shop by the way.
‘Fatty 2,’ she smuglifies at them. ‘Don’t think you’re off the hook! We installed secret cameras in your kitchen…’
Fatty 2’s face falls. Fatty 2 has just remembered the 1kg bar of Dairy Milk that they ate on Tuesday morning.
‘Not the Dairy Milk,’ Anna comforts her. ‘You wrote that down in your food diary. Look at this…’
And then they show footage of Fatty 2 lying on their back with a funnel in their mouth, pouring a potent cocktail of wine, Baileys, tomato ketchup, beefburgers and lettuce straight into their stomach.
‘Professor Nutritio,’ Anna says, ‘What is the damage?’
The mad scientist cackles. ‘One billion calories!!!!’
Anna nearly falls over in shock. She staggers around for a bit and then turns to her fatties.
‘So Fatty 1, are you a secret eater?’
Fatty 1 has to have a think about it, too busy thinking about all those wonderful calories.
‘Yes, Davina, I am a secret eater.’
‘Fatty 2! Are you a secret eater?’
Fatty 2 hangs their head in shame. ‘Yes…’
‘Yes, Claudia, I am a secret eater.’
‘Right!’ says Anna, ‘here’s your diet plan. See you in three months.’
This was series 1. In series 2, the fatties knew all about the café so, in order to surprise them when the nutrition lab was revealed, Channel 4 take them to a flat in London. For some reason, the fatties think this is just a stop off on the way to Channel 4 and so are all surprised when, having just started to eat one of the half roast chickens that have conveniently been left on the table, the walls swing back to reveal Dr Nutritski. I don’t know how they are going to achieve the surprise in series 3 though, as we know, fatties are quite dim and have poor short term memories so it might not be a problem. I’d suggest that they surprise them on the train to London. Send them into the buffet car and, when the train has pulled into Birmingham New Street, have the sides of the train swing open to reveal the Nutrition Lab. Or possibly make the fatties go for a swim and have the side of the swimming pool pull away and have chlorinated water flood away to reveal Dr Nutrino bubbling up towards them like the creature from the fat lagoon.
And then, because the programme has used up all its budget on massive swinging walls and on a particle accelerator for Dr Nutrio to attempt to discover the fundamental building blocks of fat, the programme cuts pretty sharpish to the 3 month weigh in. Channel 4 can’t afford to pay Anna Richardson to spend any more time in the company of the fat, so the weigh in is achieved on a set of bathroom scales in the house of the fatties, filmed on a home video camera. The fatties have inevitably lost some weight, but not enough to stop me shouting at the telly.
‘That’s pathetic, I could lose that in a week!’
Not at the moment though, I’ve had a rubbish day and my fat is staying with me for a bit to comfort me and stop me feeling bad.