Opinion

Chemistry is like cooking (just don’t lick the spoon)

By Shepparton News

In her weekly column, Sandy Lloyd is contemplating some big questions.

What is it with chemistry?

I'm not talking about formulae and bunsen burners and the Periodic Table of elements.

Or that most mysterious of chemical reactions - love and desire. (No, this is not a column about the new Bachelor.)

I'm intrigued by that most difficult to predict and most bankable of chemical reactions - successful television show hosts.

The demise of the MasterChef trio of powerhouse judges-slash-hosts got me thinking about that indefinable quality.

Did the MasterChef showrunners know, when it all started so long ago, that the chemistry between Matt, Gary and George would carry this culinary contest through 11 hugely successful seasons?

And now that they're gone - and if the rumours are true, selling their triple act elsewhere - what happens to MasterChef?

I'm enjoying the online speculation about who the new judges might be.

I like the dream team suggestion of Poh Ling Yeow, Curtis Stone and Maggie Beer.

I'd certainly watch them, cheering for the age, gender and cultural diversity they would bring (belatedly) to the kitchen.

Plus, they all have MasterChef runs on the board, are wage scandal-free (as far as we know) and have the requisite ingredients of cooking cred and charisma.

But would they have that necessary spark together? Or would they go the way of other successful three-handers like Top Gear or Spicks and Specks?

When those hosting A-teams fell from grace (Top Gear) or called it quits while on top (Spicks and Specks) it spelled doom for both those programs.

The new hosts for both shows tried their best, but utterly failed to ignite the chemical reaction the originals had - and quickly sank from view.

Here are a few thoughts about hosts with the most:

All by myself: Some hosts should always be a solo act. David Attenborough and Graham Norton spring immediately to mind. And Oprah Winfrey could never have shared her stage.

Calling the result: All Australian election coverage on TV should have ABC analyst Antony Green working the statistics. It should be law.

No arguments here: Shaun Micallef and Adam Hills should be allowed to host anything they want, whenever they want. Hell, let them host everything. 

Double trouble: Two can be better than one, and some of the greatest hosting combinations have been double acts. Occasionally more host and sidekick than equal partners, but neither would have survived without the other. Think about Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton, and then Don Lane and Bert Newton. Chemistry oozed out of our TV sets.

Almost but not quite: The crazy spectacle of Eurovision requires a deft touch and a whole lot of taking the piss from its TV hosts. Graham Norton is the absolute king of Eurovision for the BBC (boo, hiss to geoblocking) but Julia Zemiro and Sam Pang weren't too far behind for SBS. Sorry new SBS hosts, Myf Warhurst (who I otherwise love) and Joel Creasy - A for effort but D for execution.

Survival of the fittest: No incarnation of Survivor, no matter where it is in the world, should have any other host but Jeff Probst. Ever. He is the only man in the universe who should be allowed to say "The tribe has spoken" as he snuffs out the evicted contestant's torch. Ditto for The Amazing Race and Phil Keoghan saying "You are the last team to arrive".

And the Oscar/Emmy/Tony goes to: All US award shows should be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris or Hugh Jackman (or James Corden if the other boys are too ill to stand up). It's the only way we can be guaranteed a great song and dance routine at the start. And all presenters of awards must be made to practice the names of all possible winners before they are handed the envelope (I'm looking at you, John Travolta). And the Logies? Sorry, not even Neil or Hugh can save them.

You can never go back: Putting the band back together might seem like a good idea over a beer at the pub, but unless it's for a one-off reunion show with lots of reminiscing, just don't go there. Hey Hey It's Saturday is a case in point - some of the greatest on-air chemistry ever seen in Australia. Reunion shows got a big tick, but the new season was a total disaster.

That'll do, pig: Finally, which hosts need to hang up their microphones and put away the teeth whiteners? Eddie McGuire and Kyle Sandliands - enough is enough. And Grant Denyer, it's just time to stop. Please. 

I AM WARY OF...

The crazy plovers that live at the Shepparton News.

We have a resident pair of these feisty birds, and each year they produce chicks. But they always build their nest in the most foolish place. Did you know they nest on the ground?

And these two have nested (again, and it seems way too early) right next to the driveway. There’s a big paddock at the back of the building, but that would be too sensible. And they defend their nest ferociously.

Have you ever been attacked by a nesting plover? They are as vicious as any swooping magpie. It’s just your ankle that gets pecked, not your head.

I AM WATCHING...

Old Rutger Hauer movies. This wonderful, Danish-born actor died last week aged 75. My two favourite Rutger Hauer films are the sci-fi masterpiece Blade Runner and the medieval fantasy Ladyhawke.

In the latter, scorcery condemns him to being a wolf by night and his lover (Michelle Pfeiffer) a hawke by day, so they can never be together.

Bit peculiar, but quite delightful. But of course, it’s as the replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner he will always be remembered. His dying ‘Tears in Rain’ monologue is just amazing. “Time to die.”

I AM LOVING...

The new SBS World Movies channel. How wonderful to have a constant stream of such different movies in HD, free-to-air and on demand. Best thing SBS has ever done, and a wonderful tonic to the same-old Hollywood fodder shown elsewhere.

So far I’ve sampled some bonkers Japanese manga-inspired sci-fi (Attack on Titan), the award-winning German film about Hitler’s final days (Downfall) and the legendary French actor and director Jacques Tati as his iconic and accident-prone character Monsieur Hulot (Mon Oncle).

Next I’m trying a Bollywood classic. Just brilliant.

I HAVE FINALLY...

Backed a winner. Although it’s not really a victory to shout from the rooftops, as it does reveal my deepest, darkest, guiltiest TV pleasure. I’m talking about Love Island UK. I confess; I am hooked on this outrageous show full of beautiful, but largely stupid, young Brits spending six weeks in a Spanish villa.

It’s utterly ridiculous but so addictive. I am so happy that boxer Tommy Fury (real name) and social media influencer (who knew that was a thing?) Molly-Mae Hague, who everyone thought would win, didn’t win, beaten by nice girl Amber Gill and Irish gentleman Greg O’Shea. Phew.