Syd Little: Masterchef taught me that I’m a joke in kitchen

Veteran comic Syd Little, 72, on the set of Celebrity Masterchef
Veteran comic Syd Little, 72, on the set of Celebrity Masterchef

What’s the perfect preparation for appearing on Masterchef, a cookery programme watched by 10 million people?

Well, probably not culinary skills that don’t extend further than occasionally cooking fish or chips or knocking up a quick curry.

If I had to rate my cooking, I’d say it’s five out of ten at best

Syd Little

Syd Little, one half of Little and Large - the comic duo who had a primetime Saturday night TV show in the 1980s - will hit our screens on the popular BBC show Celebrity Masterchef next Thursday.

And Syd, 72, who lives in Fleetwood and admits he doesn’t chase TV work these days, is as surprised as anyone else about being invited on.

“An agent approached me before Christmas asking if he could put my name down for it,” he explained. “I said ‘Why not?’ but didn’t think anything of it because I get offered loads of things – going on dancing shows, being dropped in the jungle – and nothing ever comes of it.

“Then in February the agent called back saying I’d been selected. I started panicking then because I don’t really know anything about cooking. I only do it about once a week at home, when the wife lets me.”

He does have some culinary experience. Syd and wife, Sheree, took over the food franchise at the Strawberry Gardens pub in Fleetwood three years ago.

“But she does all the cooking, I just do the front of house stuff and talk to diners,” Syd added.

“If I had to rate my cooking I’d say it’s a five out of ten at best, so she’s spent the last few months giving me cookery lessons.”

Syd will be seen on the show – presented by Greg Wallace and John Torode – with four fellow celebrity cooks, including actress Amanda Donohoe and singer Mica Paris.

“I was really nervous on the day of filming - in fact I wanted to pull out - but Greg and Tony were very nice,” said Syd. “They told us they didn’t expect us to be top-notch chefs and that as long as we went away having learned something they’d be happy. They were right, I did learn something – not to cook. I can’t tell you exactly how I did but I’m looking forward to watching it as much as anyone else because I want to know what the judges said about my cooking behind my back.”

To publicise the programme, Syd was on BBC’s The One Show on Wednesday, where he got a nice surprise.

“Chris Evans was also on, being interviewed about taking over Top Gear, and he came over and told me he and his mum had been to see me perform at the Opera House in Blackpool in the ‘80s,” Syd said.

“He even remembered the make of car I was driving and the number-plate … which probably shows he’s the perfect man to present Top Gear.”