TV Times - Expel Oliver now!

SERIOUSLY now, Jamie Oliver needs to stop!

His self-indulgence has reached new levels, with his latest series, Jamie’s Dream School, which is currently running on Wednesday nights, 9pm on Channel 4.

Not content with saving school kids from the horrors of turkey twizzlers, he now wants to save under-achieving kids from the schools themselves.

As he tells us at the start of the episode, he feels he was let down by the education system.

So he’s got together a bunch of recent school leavers who could fall in the same bracket – in a bid to “inspire the uninspired”.

To do this, he’s replaced teachers with well known experts, giving you Rolf Harris for art and Daley Thompson for PE.

These celebrity teachers are given free reign to teach what they like, how they like.

The first epsode saw the kids remain largely uninspired and the teachers struggle to control them.

Kind of like what it must have been like when the kids were at their real school.

It all sounds harmless enough but there are major problems with it.

Actual teachers are never mentioned, begging the question of what’s the point of it all?

In Jamie’s School Dinners, Oliver criticised existing offerings and provided an alternative. In Dream School, the only remote piece of criticism offered is education let him down.

There are moments when it seems Oliver has to stop himself short before criticising teachers, or times when chats with the celebrities are cut short before they offer sympathy with the hard work teachers do.

It just seems weird that a programme offering an alternative makes so little reference to what it is offering an alternative to. And a bit sinister.

The idea itself is good, especially when the kids admit to the camera it’s largely their fault they’re in the position they’re in.

It could have been the perfect examination of school life as the celebrities struggle like teachers must day in, day out.

But you just get the feeling Oliver is single-mindedly out to prove a point.

The main sticking point about all of this is that Oliver doesn’t even need to be on the programme.

Clearly, Channel 4 didn’t think the series would be a big draw without their main man as the face of it.

But he doesn’t do anything of note apart from pulling his faux-concerned face every five minutes or so.

He has reached the stage where the more he appears on television, the more it appears he is putting together a parody of himself.

There are so many times he comes across as a David Brent-esque buffoon with no self-awareness.

After watching one particularly tough lesson, he took himself off, slumped down on some stairs with hand on chin, deep in thought and despair.

A more useful method would be for Oliver to put himself out there as an example of someone who left school with nothing but has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

That example would be perfect to “inspire the uninspired”.

But he’s too self-involved, wrapped up in being a crusader.

He needs to stop, and go back to being the “Jack the lad” chef he made his name as.