TV preview: Scary world of celebrity MasterChef

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Ping Coombes may still be basking in the glow of winning MasterChef last month, but there’s no rest for judges Gregg Wallace and John Torode.

While Ping decides on the perfect spot for her trophy, they are back with a new series of Celebrity MasterChef, as 20 famous faces try to prove they’d be just as at home in the kitchen of a top restaurant as they are in the dining area.

The line-up is certainly eclectic. Over the course of the series, we’ll see a smattering of soaps stars competing, including former EastEnders villain Alex ‘Trevor Morgan’ Ferns and Coronation Street favourite Ken ‘Reg Holdsworth’ Morley.

There are also reality TV favourites in the form of Made in Chelsea’s Millie Mackintosh and I’m a Celebrity winner Christopher Biggins, as well as pop stars JB Gill from JLS and Kiki Dee, and actors Lesley Ash, Amanda Burton and Jason ‘son of Sean’ Connery.

But no matter how impressive their CVs may be, it will count for nothing if turns out they don’t know their asparagus from their endive.

As the series producer Karen Ross says: “Each year we approach Celebrity MasterChef with a mixture of fear and hope – will any of them actually be able to cook?

“It is often a terrifyingly rocky road to get from the early disasters to the real hard core-cooking talent. This year will not disappoint.”

The first batch of stars to take up the challenge are actress Sophie Thompson and her fellow EastEnders veteran Todd Carty, who will no doubt be hoping to prove he’s better at cooking than he is at skating following his famously wobbly appearance of Dancing on Ice.

Joining them in the kitchen are model Jodie Kidd, journalist Susannah Constantine of Trinny and Susannah fame, and astrologer Russell Grant.

Let’s hope the latter checked his horoscope, because if he’s lucky it will contain a few clues as to what’s in the Mystery Box that awaits the famous five in their first challenge.

The celebs will have to use the contents to make the filling and dipping sauce for their own spring rolls – and with Gregg and John expecting to be served in just 50 minutes, they won’t have long to figure out what everything is.

After that, they will be split into two groups and packed off to experience the heat of a professional kitchen.

Jodie and Russell head to Babbo which specialises in traditional Italian cuisine, while Susannah, Sophie and Todd are sent to Aqua Shard.

Neither proves to be an easy option though, as the celebs struggle to keep on top of the orders, and for some the pressure proves to be too much.

Still, there’s no time to reflect on where they might have gone wrong (or whether they should have just stuck to their day jobs) as they face one last task – rustling up a two-course meal of their own design – before finding out who won’t be making it to the next round.

Celebrity cooking doesn’t get tougher than this.

Celebrity Master Chef, BBC1, Tuesday 9pm

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