TV blog: Sugar Free Farm

Benjie Goodhart / 05 January 2017

Celebs give up naughty-but-nice treats and work the land in Sugar Free Farm. Plus, the best of the rest of the week on TV.



Sugar Free Farm, Tuesday 10th January, 9pm, ITV

Did you ever wonder how Joe Pasquale would get by without bad fats? How Alison Hammond would survive without chocolate? Or how Stavros Flatley would cope with planting potatoes having not eaten any refined carbs? Of course you did, these are some of mankind’s most fundamental conundrums. Well, thanks to ITV, these questions for the ages are now answered.

Sugar Free Farm sees seven celebs giving up all sugar, refined carbs, cheap meat, bad fats, caffeine, and all processed foods for 15 days. I confess to having missed the first series, on account of having literally no interest in watching it whatsoever. But my wife has been going on a lot about our diet a bit recently, so I thought that we could watch this together, see what a thoroughly appalling time the slebs all had, and go back to troughing Frosties and ice cream.

I was in for a shock on two fronts. Firstly, my wife seemed to find the show an inspiration, in spite of the grim withdrawal the celebrities were suffering. Secondly, I really enjoyed the programme. There is something hugely entertaining about watching people eat a breakfast of sweet potato and cinnamon granola, washed down with a kale, carrot and celery smoothie. I think I may be a sadist.

The celebrities don’t just have to give up almost everything enjoyable on the food spectrum. They also have to work the farmland for their supper. Ann Widdecombe turns out to be a quite redoubtable force of nature. Watching her herd sheep is a sight to behold. She basically ignores the dogs, and just intimidates the sheep, bending them to her will. And it only ruddy works!

Overseeing proceedings is nutritionist Hala El-Shafie, who smiles beatifically as she suggests a menu of courgette spaghetti and lentil Bolognese. She doesn’t appear around the farm much, though. My guess is she’s down at Sainsbury’s Local, mainlining Twixes. Nobody could be that happy on wholemeal pitta.

The withdrawal hits some much harder than others. But when the paramedics are called to help out one of the gang, the seriousness of this undertaking becomes evident. This is not fun. Something my wife would do well to remember as she threatens to remove all the sugar, bad fats, and joy from my life.

10 ways to cut down on sugar without even noticing

The best… and the rest

Saturday 7th January

Let It Shine, 7pm, BBC One: Oh whoopee! Another musical talent show, just what the world needs. This one is searching for five performers to star in a new musical based on the songs of Take That. Give me strength.

Britain’s Favourite TV Detectives, 7:30pm, Channel 4: Channel 4 attempts to separate your Morses from your Tennisons in the battle for top TV cop. Tosh from The Bill, anyone?

The Voice UK, 8pm, ITV: Oh good grief. Will.I.Am, Sir Tom Jones, and those big spinny chairs decamp to ITV for EVEN MORE musical talent show fun. It is possible to have way, way too much of a (not so) good thing. Enough, now.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years, 9pm, BBC Two: A year after his death, friends and collaborators of the musician come together to remember the productive and energetic last years of his life.

Taboo, 9:15pm, BBC One: What’s this? A lavish BBC drama on at peak time on a Saturday? Praise be! This historical drama, from the creator of Peaky Blinders, boasts a cast including Tom Hardy, Oona Chaplin, and Jonathan Pryce, so should be worth a look.

Sunday 8th January

Dance Dance Dance, 6:30pm, ITV: A celebrity dance contest? What a uniquely novel idea. Surely it’ll never catch on…

Endeavour, 8pm, ITV: It’s summer, 1967 in Oxford. (I think it may always be summer, 1967 in Oxford). Someone has drowned in mysterious circumstances. Ah, but I’m sure it’ll all prove to be a tragic accident, right? Right???

Monday 9th January

No new series, so perhaps a chance to re-watch some music-based talent shows, yes?

Tuesday 10th January

Our Dancing Town, 9pm, BBC Two: Choreographer Steve Elias travels to three different Yorkshire towns in this series, to persuade the locals to take to the streets to perform a history of their town through the medium of dance. Presumably he’s never been to Yorkshire, then…

Martin Clunes: Islands of Australia, 8pm, ITV: It’s an ambiguous title. Either there are some islands belonging to Australia that have been named after the actor, or he’s off there to present a series about them. Tune in to find out which.

Wednesday 11th January

Hospital, 9pm, BBC Two: A new fly-on-the-wall documentary series set in a hospital. If only someone had thought of this before. Oh… wait…

Common Sense, 10pm, BBC Two: Basically Gogglebox, but with different people, and they’re reacting to the week’s news stories. Should be an interesting take on the views of the nation.

Thursday 12th January

Spy in the Wild, 8pm, BBC One: Mechanical animals fitted with cameras allow unique close-up footage of a host of wild beasties. All well and good, until a turtle gets amorous with his mechanical companion.

Friday 13th January

Penguin A&E with Lorraine Kelly, 7pm, Channel 5: I like both Lorraine Kelly and penguins, but I’ll be honest, if I end up watching this, something has gone seriously, seriously wrong in my life.

Not Going Out, 9pm, BBC One: Lee Mack’s consistently funny sitcom returns for series eight, and an inspired conceit. It’s seven years later, and Lee and Lucy are no longer flatmates… they’re married, with three kids.

Tina and Bobby, 9pm, ITV: The story of Bobby Moore and his relationship with wife Tina is the subject of this three-part drama. I’m not quite sure why.


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