Friday, 7 June 2013

Come Dine With Me - the Application Form - revealing secrets!

I thought you might like to know what this form contains. It goes on and on. Let's see what it's like, question by question.

The first section deals with Personal Information.

Full Name. No probs. Lucy Melford. I take it that 'Miss' or 'Her Majesty' or whatever is not required.
Date of Birth and Age. They explain: We endeavour to have as diverse a range of contestants appearing on the Programme as possible, including contestants of varying ages. Right. 6 July 1952, and I'm 60. But still alive and kicking.
Marital status. What? That's a bit dodgy! Divorced then, if you really must know. But I'm not looking for love, if that's what you're getting at.
Address. Yes, I suppose you'll have to know. It's Melford Hall.
Do you own or rent where you live? What? Oh, I suppose that if I rented my landlord might need to know that a camera crew and three strangers were tramping over the place...but actually I'm an owner-occupier, don't you know. Lady of the Manor. So there. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Home Telephone. Yes, but I'm not letting that one out on my blog!
Mobile telephone. Yes, ditto!
Email. Well, that's no secret: Everybody knows it.
Twitter Username. Not on Twitter. Sorry.
Can you accept call at work? Look, I'm internationally known as a lady of leisure, and I simply don't work. Never did Mum always said I wasn't cut out for it, and I believed her, and how right she was. So this is an unnecessary question.
How did you hear about us? Ah, I detect a key question - like you get when entering competitions ('say in not more than ten words why Snotblaster cold cure is best for families'). What shall I say? I know: The renowned Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Junior tipped me off. 'Forget Master Chef on BBC2,' he said, 'Watch Channel 4's Come Dine With Me instead'. They'll surely swallow that.
Have you ever been on television before? No. But I'm sure I'll enjoy it!
What is your newspaper of choice? Bugger. I don't read any. I get the BBC news on Radio 4 or BBC1. Or consult the BBC News website. What lie shall I tell them? If I say 'I read the Guardian' that will suggest that I'm a libbo-politico arty-farty foody-winey fashionista, whereas I'm simply a free and easy, lemon-squeezy, bright and breezy, coughs and sneezy, Japanesy lady of leisure. Oh dear...what would Napoleon do here?

The second section ups the game by asking for Sensitive Personal Information. They're all yes or no questions, and if yes, one must fess up and spill the beans. Gulp.

Do you have any medical conditions, including  any disabilities or allergies, which the production team should be made aware of? They explain: We require this information in order to ensure that we meet our duty of care to you as an auditionee or a contestant, including the provision of suitable access. No. 
Have you ever been convicted of a crime, or are you the subject of ongoing criminal proceedings or investigations, or do you  have any County Court judgments against you? They explain: We reserve the right to carry out background checks on you to verify the above information  and you hereby authorise us to carry out such checks.  Disclosure of criminal convictions, proceedings and/or judgments may not automatically exclude you from participating but we shall be entitled to exercise our sole discretion.   You must notify us immediately if your circumstances change. I'm not entirely sure I like the tone of this... but the answer is no. 
Is there any other information we should be made aware of? You must not withhold material facts that may jeopardise or otherwise negatively impact the Programme. Yes, I'm a raving transsexual. Want to make anything of it, huh? Come on, put up your dukes, and we'll pull hair and slap.

Phew, if that last question wasn't a killer, there's more. Might as well get on with it. The third section asks about Employment and Qualifications. What? Is this a job application?

What is your present occupation?  (Please provide details) Retired.
What jobs have you previously had? This is lead balloon territory...oh dear...all right, one job only: tax inspector. I was the Nice Face of the old Inland Revenue. I was hard but fair (some would have said beautiful).
Have you ever trained or worked as a professional chef , cook or caterer? Nope. No cooking skills whatever, I swear it.

Next up, a section called About Yourself, which they subtitle 'Now the fun bit'. Hmmmm.

How would your friends and family describe you? Oh God. Let's fib. A warm, lovable but self-effacing human being with seriously great talent combined with immeasurable humility.
How do you spend your spare time (hobbies etc)? More fibs? I weave, spin, care for little creatures, and spread love, peace and understanding. Subtext: I whizz about the countryside in Fiona and take lots of photos.
How would you rate yourself in the kitchen?  How often do you cook?  What meal have you cooked that you are most proud of? Pretty damned good in a cheerful hey-ho farmer's wife sort of way. I cook all through every day, non-stop, because I love eating. A recent meal for guests went down quite well, and included hors-d’oevres of bread, butter, pâté, and red wine; starter of Gilbertins Charlotte Corday, oisettes Picardie, a garni M. Guillotin, plus savards piquants; main of a Grand-vambon Maréchal Ney, with fines herbes, rougeaux ibériques, and legumes de la campagne; followed by a dessert of Demi-pérettes Agnes Sorel, sousades de Joséphine, coquailles au Prince, and petits nou-nous du Baron Mouchard de Nazardrin, all with a jus chinois; then to wrap up, a choice of liqueur, coffee, chocolate or some Can-Can. I can do pretentious.
What are you passionate about in life and why? Food, food, food. That plus art, creative photography, spirited driving, and of course good food. I must feed my soul in order to create and live life to the full. I eat so that I can give. And I have so much to give. I do not compromise.
What makes you laugh/ smile? I stoutly say that I have no sense of humour, but everybody else thinks this is a black lie. As I seem to laugh at almost everything, maybe they have a point. I absolutely shriek with laughter when I watch Come Dine With Me.
What's the funniest / oddest thing you've ever done or seen done? Any episode of Come Dine With Me.
From experience what are people’s first impressions of you when they meet you? Let's go for it. They embrace me as a warm, lovable but self-effacing human being with seriously great talent combined with immeasurable humility.
What are your best and worst character traits? Best: warmth, modesty, humility. Worst: mildly aggressive behind the wheel. I'd call it sensible assertiveness. Nothing to worry about.
How competitive are you? It's win or die. I win, they die. I don't know the meaning of failure.
How honest are you if you don’t like something?  Please give examples. I'm perfectly honest unless it will hurt and devastate, although they will still know because I'm a hopeless liar. For instance: 'Lucy! Happy Birthday! Isn't the food in this restaurant wonderful?' It's dog's vomit. My answer: 'I've never had a meal quite like it. It's such an unusual birthday treat.' Or: 'Lucy! What do you think of my new hair colour?' It's bright orange. I reply, 'Very distinctive, what a statement, it really expresses your personality.'
Would you say you are an opinionated person? If so please tell us about some of the opinions you hold and why. I'd say that I had a point of view on most things, although I wouldn't agree that I'm opinionated. In the past I've held that men who wear baseball caps backwards are cretins. Men who overdo the designer stubble are ludicrous no-nos too. I think the motorway speed limit urgently needs to be raised, outer-lane hoggers deserve ghastly punishment, and the tax on car fuel must be slashed.
How good are you with criticism/negative feedback? I can take rejection. I can take criticism. But I can't take indifference.
Please describe your home.  Is there anything noteworthy or unusual about it?  You can also send photos. Melford Hall is well known. Look it up. Google it.
What interesting items do you have in your house that reflects you? The mirrors.
What things can irritate you when you go to someone’s house for dinner? Low-down sofas that sag, so that you can only get to your feet by bailing out onto the floor and crawling to a chair for support. No hand towels in the bathroom. Loud boring 1980s background music. Things like that.
Describe the best / worst dinner party you've been to. Best: a posh Christmas Party that had everything - food, drink, candles, all the festive things - and went on for hours. Worst: a stingey, colourless, cold evening meal with no wine that tasted of nothing and left me feeling very hungry.
Your perfect/nightmare guest(s) are? Perfect: Anyone who is cheerful, positive, considers everyone's feelings, and is too well-mannered to make provocative or offensive remarks. Nightmare: Anyone who thinks they are the only person who matters, who believes they are a comedian but are not, who is insensitive, or puts down anyone else. Anyone who can't hold their drink.
What are your food “likes” and “dislikes”?  Are you a fussy eater? I'm pretty unfussy and omnivorous, but I'm iffy with egg dishes, cucumbers taste awful and give me indigestion, and for medicinal l reasons I absolutely mustn't eat grapefuit, although I hate the bitter taste anyway.
Are you a vegetarian? How strict are you about this? Not a vegetarian, but I love eating lots of vegetables, and never object to a veggie meal if it's tasty and attractive.
What would your ideal menu be to cook on the show?  Please give us two options. They add: Theme and additional comments are optional. You have to state briefly what the starter, main and desert would be for two different meals. Hmmm - this would need some thought! I'd want Menus 1 and 2 to sound compelling.
Would you put on entertainment on your night?  Any ideas? Yes. Amateur Punch and Judy in my back garden, in a proper tent, with glove puppets and funny voices. With everyone having a turn, and the person judged best taking home a bottle of champagne. My guests will have to improvise the voices - real P&J professors use a swazzle, but I can't have them swallowing one of those by mistake!
Do you ever do anything as the host to liven the night up during a dinner party?  (E.g. a theme or dress code.) Dress code yes: smart but very comfortable. Don't do Vicars and Tarts nights, but if you think it might be a great idea...
What do you and your guests usually talk about at your dinner parties? Painting, poetry, opera, ballet, sculpture,, seriously, anything goes so long as everyone can join in and everyone ends up laughing.
Are there any subjects that you think are best avoided? The classic three: religion, politics, and grisly health problems.
How else would you make your night different from others you have seen on Come Dine With Me? I'd consider outing myself, and seeing what the reactions are!
Why do you think you could win Come Dine With Me?  Because I'm a pleasant hostess, I can cook, and I can make it a memorable evening!

Then follows more detail on eligibilty requirements, a section for one's signature, and the detailled terms and conditions. I have to send a recent photo of myself. No trouble there!

It clearly stands and falls on whether I say what I am. I'm sure it would clinch a place on the show, but it might also be seen as an essential piece of 'material information'. For instance, if another competitor had admitted to hating trannies. Or having a particular passion for them. Channel 4 wouldn't want a crime scene on their hands. Even if not assaulted at the table, my ongoing personal security would definitely be at stake. They would get to know where I lived, and I might find myself being stalked afterwards. Or worse. No way.

The whole thing needs sleeping on!


  1. Naturally this makes you a cert!

    Beware though, TV companies tell the story they want to, not the story as it happens.

  2. They forgot to ask for your mother's maiden name or which school your granny went to!

    Shirley Anne x

  3. I read the application form when they were casting for locals, needless to say I didn't trouble ITV studios with my application. The formats well known and seems good fun, you may get 15 seconds of local fame out of it as well.

  4. I'm in it for the fun. I hadn't thought about any local fame. I suppose that neighbours would be curious if they saw the film crew, but I'd avoid spreading word around the village. There's no reason to think that I'd be a local celebrity before the broadcast, and I wouldn't expect it afterwards either. I could always arrange to be away caravanning when the episode is screened, to avoid any embarrassments. My cleaner could field any enquiries, and enjoy the limelight instead!



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