Watching 'Floyd on France' many years ago, as a rerun in India, was a revelation. That someone could make food so interesting and amusing was new to me and he was a partly responsible for my greater involvement in the subject. All that tongue in cheek France bashing was in good humour and without bite.
Compare that enlightening experience of food on the box to 'Floyd's India', shot in 2001 for Channel 5 in the UK, but being shown in India for the first time. It is now running on the Discovery Travel and Living channel (before Kylie Kwong comes up with her 'French buttah' and 'say solt'), and it has been a catastrophic failure.
The nice thing about Keith Floyd in earlier BBC series was his joie de vivre, his obvious love of the food he presented and the relish with which he drank copious amounts of wine while cooking. His disregard for the politically correct and the documentary form was all part of the show and it WAS a show, but with significant things to say about a cuisine and ways of approaching it.
Floyd on India, is dismal. He looks miserable, hot and bothered. He cooks in the open air, to do away with the need for lights and keep production costs low, on ugly setups without the slightest regard for display. And the food! Oh my God, the food he cooks is ghastly.
Anyone who knows a little bit about Indian food will find the way in which he flings in the 'Tyumeric' horrifying. With an abandon which is uncalled for. He obviously knows nothing about the ingredient, its properties or taste. He never cooks the onions, he adds sour ingredients before the spices are cooked and he makes a hundred and one unforgiveable faux pas. The food and the series make an altogether unappetising mash.
He never bothers to taste his concoctions and that is telling. Not even a little lick of the finger. And he is always in such a hurry. Can't blame him really. Who wouldn't want to get out of that burning sun.
He so obviously hates the whole venture from start to finish. He even looks as if he detests Indian food. I don't know if the recipes in the book which accompanies the series are any good. But a word of caution to all those who hope to pick up something about Indian cuisine by watching this series...forget it. Nobody I know uses spices in the way he does. Nor can you possibly savour any of the food the way he cooks it. "Ugh" is my honest opinion.