BBCs Matt Tebbutt claims TV bosses are too worried about offending people

Saturday Kitchen host Matt Tebbutt reckons TV needs more outrageous stars like Keith Floyd – and that telly bosses are too worried about offending people.

The popular professional chef thinks our viewing options have become too woke and cookery shows should bring back "old school irreverence", particularly after the misery the pandemic has inflicted.

Keith, who died in 2009, was famed for his enthusiastic way with words on screen and always had a full glass of wine in his hand.

Matt says: "There's a lot of fun being sucked out of life, for various reasons.

"The Keith Floyd decadence, that's what's missing.

"It would upset a lot of people, but I used to love watching Keith swilling around a glass of wine in his hand, talking to a local and celebrating food and life.

"Let's have a bloody laugh – we're not here long.

"We're so caught up in what you can say, what you can't, who are you going to offend these days, that gets forgotten about. We need to find a happy medium. I'd love to see less competition, more old-school irreverence and celebration."

Despite an abundance of food programmes on virtually every channel, BBC One staple Saturday Kitchen remains one of the most popular – even after 19 years on air.

Chef Matt has been the main ­presenter since 2016 and let slip the secret to its enduring success is everyone being pals behind the scenes and going to the pub after filming ends, sometimes accompanied by their celebrity guests.

He says: "Each week we meet up and it's like seeing your mates, it just so happens to go out on TV.

"It's the normality, the fun we have on stage, the fun we have with the crew – we all hang out. We do the show and have started going back to the pub.

"We go to the local pub, have a few pints and back slap at how brilliant it was.

"We've had Tom Allen come down for hours on end, Tom Odell has been down, Jack Savoretti once."

Down the boozer is where Sir Lenny Henry, 62, told Matt he and his pals got their best ideas for their classic kids' show.

He reveals: "He told me about Tiswas. He said: ‘We'd finish the show, go to the pub, get absolutely smashed and we'd make one person stay sober because we'd all have brilliant ideas when drunk. We'd get that one person to write them down and those are what we used the following week'.

But Matt laughs: "We've yet to have anyone volunteer to stay sober and write it down!"

If fans approach him in the pub, Matt is happy to pose for selfies or sign autographs – and has wife Lisa keep an eye on his DMs for anything saucy slipping through.

He says: "Occasionally I get shocking messages in my DMs – my wife vets them all. There's a contingent of Brazilians that crop up now and again.

"You look at the profile picture and go: ‘Hello', then realise it's probably some 55-year-old man.

"I don't know why people get narky about having photos because that's part of the deal and I still find it exciting."

Even extra-keen admirers are fine by Matt.

He says: "There is a fella who's got my initials tattooed on his arm, which is weird, but you could look at it as the ultimate flattery.

"He'll be looking at that in a nursing home, long after my career is finished and probably won't remember who MT was."

Born in Buckinghamshire, Matt grew up in south Wales, where he's built a space for hosted dinners once Covid restrictions allow. He's even planning to recruit Saturday Kitchen's drinks experts to help out.

And his new cookbook Weekend will be released in November.

He reveals: "I'm going to get Olly Smith and Helen McGinn down and we'll do big Saturday Kitchen-style things in real life in the Brecon Beacons."

The 47-year-old is also getting back to cooking live outdoors including at August's Big Feastival, which takes place on the Cotswolds Farm owned by Blur bassist Alex James.

As well as foodie stages there will be music from BRIT Award-winner Rag'n'Bone man, funk legend Nile Rodgers and dance star Sigala.

Matt, who will be joined by Lisa and kids Jess, 19 and Henry, 17, says: "I turn up Friday, get in my tent and swan around pretending I'm a teenager.

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"Alex and I met when he started his farm and cheese making – he's a really nice guy.

"Obviously I was a massive Blur fan – but I was a bigger Oasis one, which I have told him.

"We used to bump into each other a lot, being badly behaved at the Groucho Club."

The Big Feastival runs from August 27-29. Tickets are on sale now at bigfeastival.com

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