A special episode of Freaky Eaters, broadcast on January 2nd, has attracted a staggering 25.6 million viewers making it the 4th most watched TV programme in UK history. This places it above the ‘time on our hands’ episode of Only Fools and Horses where 24.35 million viewers switched on to watch the classic sitcom be funny for the very last time.
Freaky Eaters is a TV series that focuses on helping an individual overcome their particularly unusual selective eating disorder. Each week doctors and nutritionists use their specialised knowledge to allow the individual to overcome their condition and, well, grow up.
Despite being cancelled in 2010 due to falling ratings, BBC bosses have always looked towards resurrecting the series as they still felt the show had potential for huge success. The problem was getting the programme to appeal to the right group of individuals as BBCs Simon Wilson explains.
“The problem lies with the fact that episodes like ‘addicted to crisps’ and ‘addicted to bacon and burgers’ are a pretty good representation of the diets of people living in the UK especially Glasgow. We decided to instead focus on particular foods that the majority of the British public would be disgusted and shocked by, thus making the show more interesting”.
The ‘addicted to a balanced diet’ episode showed how Tony Hoffman avoided popular food groups like saturated fats and limited his intake of sugars and salts. On a daily basis, he would eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a good balance of fish and meat for protein.
“That programme is mental” Kevin Ballister recalled between bites. “This guy was just putting all this weird crap in his mouth, I mean, what the hell is lettuce?” he added whilst simultaneously swallowing a block of cheese.
A fourth series will be aired in the summer but Simon Wilson has other ideas for the future.
“We think this strategy could be applied to other TV programmes of different genres. We could do Songs of Praise in some of the churches that have been converted into nightclubs. Or maybe put James Cordon in something that isn’t totally shit”.