Domestic Goddess in saucy comeback
… Mark Borkowski, a PR expert, told The Scotsman that Nigella “was still the pin-up of middle Britain” and well connected in the media world. …
NIGELLA Lawson, the “Domestic Goddess”, is moving to the BBC and back behind the kitchen worktop after her brief career as an ITV daytime chat-show host proved a recipe for indifferent viewing figures.
Nigella, whose fluttering eyelids and coquettish glances to camera earned her TV cooking spots the name of “gastro porn”, will present a BBC2 show called Nigella’s Chocolate Christmas Special. It is a one-off, 60-minute special, but BBC managers are hopeful that the 45-year-old might become a regular face of food on the network.
A BBC spokesman told The Scotsman: “We will have to see how the show works, but there is no reason why we can’t do more together if it’s a success.”
The switch to the BBC follows a disappointing summer as host of the ITV daytime chat-show Nigella. The four-week show, which mixed cooking with celebrity interviews, launched to audiences of around a million, but sank to 800,000, recording one low of 600,000.
Nigella, who was reportedly paid £100,000 for the four-week run, received some bruising reviews for the show. One branded it “butt-clenchingly awful”, while another described the show as “sinking like a souffle”.
The indifferent reception for Nigella was a surprising setback in a media career that made the pouting chef an idol of the middle classes. The cook’s Channel 4 show Nigella Bites routinely attracted audiences of 1.8 million and her books have sold 3.5 million copies worldwide.
Nigella’s branded range of kitchenware is reported to be selling well both in Britain and the United States. The BBC2 show will return the chef firmly back to the world of cooking and especially to desserts, of which she is a noted devotee.
A former Sunday Times journalist, Nigella’s first book, called How to Eat, was published in 1998, followed by How to be a Domestic Goddess in 2000. That tag stuck and the success of Nigella Bites TV confirmed her national fame.
Nigella’s private life has also attracted intense media interest. Her first husband, the journalist John Diamond, who died of cancer in 2001, wrote movingly of his four-year battle against the disease. Nigella later became linked to the millionaire advertising guru and art collector Charles Saatchi, marrying him in August 2003.
Mark Borkowski, a PR expert, told The Scotsman that Nigella “was still the pin-up of middle Britain” and well connected in the media world.
He said: “The BBC has the resources to make her a success. The proof of the pudding will be the audiences she gets.”