Ainsley Harriott

Long running cookery programme Ready Steady Cook has been axed by the BBC.

The cookery show, which began in 1994 usually features chefs and a member of the public competing against each other. They have 20 minutes to cook up something from the ingredients they have bought, which has to be within, usually, a small budget under £5. In the Classic Bag Contest contestant brought in a bag of ingredients costing up to £5. Later cooking contest sections included the Budget Bag with ingredients costing up to only £3.50, the Bistro Bag – Ingredients worth £7.50 and the Gourmet Bag which could be worth up to £10.

Fern Britton hosted the show in the 90’s, with current presenter Ainsley Harriott taking up the presenter role from 2000. Originally a half-hour daily programme the series was increased to 45-minute when Harriott took over, adding a further segment where he assisted a chef in putting together a five minute meal with ingredients suggested by a member of the audience.

Fern Britton Ready Steady Cook

“I feel privileged to have been part of the Ready Steady Cook family for 15 years.  I am immensely proud of its success and will always look back on it with the fondest of memories.” – Ainsley Harriott

In recent times the format, set and theme music has been modernised to appeal to a younger demographic. This ultimately has lead to a decline in ratings. The cosy set replaced by a dark bleak black creation, the quirky audience voting system with red or green pepper cards replaced by a digital version and more emphasis on celebrity editions rather than the public version.

The show, which is produced by Endemol will come off the air next year. The BBC are currently showing repeats of the programme and will continue to do so as no new episodes have been made, with the beeb confirming no further editions will be recorded.

The show is likely to be replaced with more modern cookery shows such as The Hairy Bikers. BBC Head Of Daytime Liam Keelan has said the show has “been taken as far as it could go”.

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