Now we know what some people are thinking – why did it take so long for a meat-based game show to come to our television screens? We know, we know. Those foolish TV execs weren't thinking straight. But you know what they say, better late than never, and here it is at last: Al Murray's Compete for the Meat, in which the great Pub Landlord himself will be drawing on the great British tradition of giving big chunks of freshly dead animal to pub drinkers for no clear reason.
Now, that last part will come as a surprise to anyone who is under, say, 50. Or whose only idea of a pub is some chain establishment where all the tables have mass-produced menus offering a disturbingly disparate range of foods from around the world (yet from the same microwave). No, we're talking about proper old fashioned pubs and their meat raffles. That's right: raffles in which the prizes are different kinds of meat. And don't go thinking this some throwback for granddads to reminisce about in between moaning about hoodies and getting sozzled on ale. Meat raffles still happen in proper pubs across this proud nation of ours.
And if there's one person who knows about the importance of pub tradition, it's Al Murray. Who better, then, to bring some meaty goodness to our television screens? Of course, this version is not a raffle, chiefly because that would be a bit dull to watch. Instead, it’s a quiz. And the, ahem, ‘steaks’ are high as the Guv’nor himself asks the questions to four teams, all playing for the honour of taking home that lovely, lovely meat.
And don't go thinking the meat itself is anything fancy and Fearnley-Whittingstallish. Al Murray's not the sort of foodie ponce who trades in grouse breasts, pheasant wings or guinea fowl terrine with extra swan. Oh, no. The winner gets a frozen chicken, and the runner up gets sausages. Simple as that. Meat's one of those things that's best kept simple, and besides – there's another prize the winners get to take home with them. And that is, the knowledge they are slightly better than other random people at answering pub quiz-style questions. What more could you want, really?
Since Al Murray is hosting the soiree, it'll come as no surprise to know this isn't a conventional sort of quiz show. Even aside from the meat prizes, that is. It's just as much a comedy programme, with the Pub Landlord deploying the full force of his tongue against… well, anything and anyone. His gaff, his rules. And just because he's a publican doesn't mean he's out of touch with the modern age. None of these contestants will get one over on the Guv'nor. When learning that one of the plucky contestants is a "dog groomer", his retort is swift. "What do you do, make friends with them on Facebook?"
It's fair to say there's just as much – if not more – comedy stuff than quiz stuff. And that's just as it should be. Why get a big celeb on board if all you want them to do is ask questions, eh? Just look what happened when they got Paul Daniels in for Every Second Counts. All those shows, and not one magic trick. That's a bloody liberty, that is. And there's no danger of such Al Murray wastage going on here. You'll get your money's worth, just as you would if you visited his pub. Now, shut up and eat your meat.