Like the mountains of junk food featured on the programme, Secret Eaters doesn’t half repeat on you.
While Anna Richardson’s weekly look at people stuffing their faces on the sly is a pretty entertaining way to wile away time on a Wednesday evening, lengthy recaps before and after every ad break mean it doesn’t half get old fast.
I realise that this is symptomatic of the constraints of commercial television, and a sop to some viewers' short attention spans, but Secret Eaters, like the people it profiles, really takes the biscuit.
For the uninitiated, the programme places an overweight family under hidden camera surveillance each week, recording them eating and drinking “in secret” and later confronting them with the evidence of their overindulgence in an effort to shame them into cutting down the calories.
Balanced with some interviews and offset by the occasional scientist popping up to denounce sugary drinks or pork scratchings, the hidden-camera stuff works effectively to demonstrate the disparity between what people say they eat and what actually ends up going down their gullets.
But because the surveillance footage is the show's main gimmick, Secret Eaters' makers really do milk it for everything it's worth.
Having been tuned in from the outset last night, I ended up sitting through increasingly lengthy replays of the same snippets of covert material every ten minutes or so, to the point where I’ve now got images of roly-poly dad Craig White-Oliver eating plates of chicken wings and downing lagers in his local burned indelibly into my brain.
In fact, almost a third of the programme’s brief final part was made up of the same old scenes of gorging and guzzling we’d had flashed before us time and again throughout the duration of the show, to the point that a kind of mental indigestion threatened to kick in at any moment.
Is this a case of the programme makers stretching their resources to breaking point, or is it just a desperate strategy to lure in wayward channel-hoppers who might be whizzing past at any given quarter hour? Whatever the case, if Secret Eaters doesn't have enough original material to fill an hour, perhaps it should take its own advice and slim down a bit...
Secret Eaters isn't the only show guilty of filling time by rehashing old scenes. Have you spotted other culprits? Post a comment below and let us know...