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nosh

Posh Nosh

Posh Nosh was a 2002 BBC television programme parodying television chefs. Written by Jon Canter from an idea by Arabella Weir and directed by Chris Langham, the programme stars Weir and Richard E. Grant as chefs the Hon. Simon and Minty Marchmont, owners of a very posh restaurant called "The Quill & Tassel." There were eight ten-minute episodes, in which the chefs carry out their mission to bring "extraordinary food" to "ordinary people."

Simon and Minty prepare various dishes ranging from architect's fish and chips to bread AND butter pudding, offering snooty and frequently surreal commentary along the way. For instance, they employ words in odd ways in parody of specific culinary terminology, such as "interrogate a lemon"; and their cooked vegetables are not peeled but "embarrassed," after which they might be "annoyed" instead of boiled. They also frequently insist on ultra-specific, often prohibitively expensive, ingredients - such as Greek currants that you actually have to fly to Greece to buy.

At the same time, a thread of domestic tension (and often hostility) runs beneath the surface of every exchange between Simon and Minty, along with some not-so-subtle hints about Simon's sexual orientation. A running joke in the series is Simon's crush on his tennis instructor José Luis, played by David Tennant. Both Marchmonts are obsessed with their dog, Sam, going so far as to throw a birthday party (complete with other dog guests) for him. The birthday cake prepared for the party contains huge amounts of chocolate, which would kill dogs, a rather macabre joke.

The common use of web sites in television programmes are often spoofed as well, with items such as www.sexmexavacado.com and www.arthurleggbourkersfarmnearbanbury.co.uk appearing as subtitles on screen.

Finally, each episode concludes with teaser for the next episode and a short faux promotional piece for a jar of something "from the Posh Nosh range" at your local purveyor of all foods fine and extraordinary. Each item on offer is progressively more ridiculous. For example, here is the close from the episode about architect's fish and chips (as distinct from builder's fish and chips):

  • Minty: Join us next week on Posh Nosh, when I'll be disabling a partridge in its own jus.
  • (closing theme as the credits slide by, right to left, very quickly)
  • (pause at the end of the third line)
  • Promo: From the Posh Nosh range, Dried John Dory Thins in Basil Aioli.
  • (last line of closing theme)

The woman who does the voice over for these promotionals is Joanna Lumley.

Theme Song

The opening and closing theme for Posh Nosh is taken from the traditional Scottish ballad titled "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy". It uses the following verses from the ballad:

Opening theme:
What care I for my house and my land?
What care I for my treasure, O?
What care I for my new-wedded lord,
I’m off with the raggle taggle gipsies, O!

Closing theme:
What care I for a goose feather bed
With the sheet turned down so bravely, O?
For tonight I shall sleep in a cold open field,
[Faux promo for Posh Nosh'' range product inserted here]
Along with the raggle taggle gipsies, O!

The person who sings the theme song is the famous English countertenor Alfred Deller, who recorded the song in the mid-1950s for the independent American record company Vanguard. (The text sung by Deller differs in many details from the version found in Wikisource.) The guitar accompaniment is played by another famous English performer of old music, Desmond Dupré.

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