What-to-watch

Greggs: More Than Meats The Pie

"Will there ever be a reality show about Greggs the bakers?" asked nobody, ever. The answer, though, is yes. It's time to marvel at its existence, and ponder where things might go from here…

It's one of our biggest high street chains. It's Britain's sausagey answer to McDonald's. But chances are you've never had a single conversation or thought about Greggs in your entire life. Even when actually IN one and tucking into a chicken and mushroom slice.

Somehow, Greggs manages to enjoy total marketplace dominance without any inspiring any kind of direct conscious response on our part – a bit like Dell computers, McCain's oven chips or Claudia Winkleman. And while there is a Wikipedia page for Greggs, who has read it? No one. Apart from us, a few minutes ago. Did you know it was founded in 1939? Of course you didn't. Although you're probably already starting to develop a hankering for a chicken and mushroom slice right now.

Anyway, all of this is why Greggs: More Than Meats The Pie is a concept of enigmatic genius. If it was a person instead of a reality show, it would be Morpheus from The Matrix, providing insights we didn't know we wanted about a mystery we didn't realise existed. The mystery of how Greggs operates. Already you're feeling a hot flush of inexplicable fascination. Are you ready to take the red pill?

Put that sausage away

One thing about the show is that it does live up to its title. It seems that yes, yes indeed and verily, there IS more than "meats" the pie, and we don't mean Decepticons made of sausage rolls and flapjacks. Greggs is trying to go classy and upmarket, you see. A big ask for a chain which had Paddy McGuinness in its TV ads, but they're determined to give stores a makeover and introduce exquisite French patisserie concoctions (which we assume means more than simply re-labelling custard slices as "mille-feuille").

Other challenges which will unfold to the inevitable, quirky, Apprentice-style soundtrack include gingerbread bears tainted with too many E-numbers, and a customer who strips naked after being accused of shoplifting. Now there's the exact type of sausage you don't want to see in Greggs.

The best job title ever

Remember when reality show insta-celebs would go on to appear on other programmes much to the delight of no one? It's been far too long since those heady days. We're suffering a serious deficit of Jeremy Spakes and Maureen-from-Driving-Schools. Could Greggs Development Manager Alison be a contender? She's described as "flamboyant" in the publicity material for the show, which definitely marks her out as a potential Spake.

And then there's the man whose actual job title is Head of Sandwiches, which sounds like the kind of magical designation you'd only find in a Wonka factory.

Of course, now that we've got a show about Greggs, all of us must wonder where else can the genre go. It would seem remiss not to have "Homebase: The Real Tool Academy". Fertiliser-based mishaps, perhaps narrated by Johnny Vaughan? Yes please. Or, just sticking to food, we could have "Harvester: Beyond the Salad Bar" (narrated by Kevin Whately), the bitterly nostalgic "Wimpy: Where's the Beef?" (narrated by Ann Widdecombe), and the irreverent and fun-packed "Nando's: Foalier Than Thou" (narrated by Terry Christian). Make it happen, dark overlords of reality television.

Greggs: More Than Meets The Pie starts on Monday 29 April at 9pm on Sky1. You can set your set top box to record it now on Virgin TV Anywhere.

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27-04-2013