Julie Burchill

The perverse greed of Jamie Oliver

He claims to be on the side of poor children

  • From Spectator Life
(PA Images)

I hoped that we would soon see the back of Jamie Oliver, once a ubiquitous presence on television, as his youthful Golden Labrador-ish appeal waned and his mouth increasingly looked like something you’d find on the end of a fishing rod. But regrettably, like many of the cor blimey pretend meritocrats of his era – from David Beckham to Jonathan Ross – he has proved as determined to hold on to his place on the dung heap of fortune as any old landed toff. It seems the ceaselessly acquisitive Oliver clan want some more of whatever pie is being divided. Is the world ready for Buddy, his 12-year-old son, who has just been awarded his own BBC cooking show? 

For a man whose USP was being driven by concern for poor children, this is a grotesque state of affairs

We’ve been here before when it comes to befuddled nepo babies crashing and burning among the Le Creuset cookware; two years ago the oldest of the Beckham brats had his own, mercifully discontinued, TV show Cookin’ With Brooklyn. The eight-minute show required a crew of 62 to help make a fish-finger sandwich, to the tune of £74,000. Oliver may be hoping that because his son is still a child, he will avoid the brickbats the bemused Brooklyn received. This is a crafty new development in the protection and promotion of nepo babies; Victoria Beckham trademarked her daughter Harper Seven’s name when she was just five while Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Matilda started her BBC TV show – featuring three of her siblings – when she was only 13. 

But though it’s somewhat sickening to see a privileged pre-teen given his own television show by a painfully right-on state broadcasting corporation principally because his father is famous, there’s no way in a million years I could ever garner the same level of contempt for him as I have for his dear old dad, who technically made it on merit.

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