Something for the Weekend co-host Simon Rimmer says the axed series has not reached its natural end.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s time for it to go,” he told RadioTimes.com. “I’ve done other long-running shows and when they’ve finally come to an end I’ve thought, ‘It’s probably about time, we’ve had our day’, but with Something for the Weekend, I feel like we’re just getting into our stride.”
The announcement that BBC2’s Sunday morning “hangover TV” programme was to be a victim of money-saving cuts came at the beginning of January. Days later, reports began to circulate that ITV was considering rescuing the show. And Rimmer suggested he’d like to be involved if that happened.
“There are still rumours [that ITV might take the show]. It would be a shame if my on-screen relationship with [co-presenters] Tim [Lovejoy] and Lou [Redknapp] was lost,” he said. “I’d like that to continue but it’s out of our hands, unfortunately.”
Certainly, any prospective broadcaster knows there is a ready-made audience for the show – its cancellation was met with an immediate outcry from fans.
A Facebook group was launched, gathering almost 27,000 supporters, nearly 9,000 people registered their disdain in a RadioTimes.com poll, and more than 2,600 people phoned the BBC to complain, with hundreds more bombarding director-general Mark Thompson’s email inbox.
Rimmer, who presents cooking sections on the show, says the response was overwhelming and demonstrated how Something for the Weekend had become part of so many viewers’ Sunday-morning routine.
“The level of emotion has been incredible,” said Rimmer. “It’s been really, really humbling. We’ve just crept under everyone’s skin over the last five years.
“We knew we had very good viewing figures, and we win our slot every week [based on audience share], but now we’ve become part of the establishment,” he added.
“We have a tremendously broad demographic – my daughter is 14 and a lot of her mates watch it and, equally, people around my parents’ age watch.
“Yes, we’re a fluffy show – we don’t change the world, we’re hangover telly – but when you get up on a Sunday morning, feeling a bit ropey, it’s lightweight, it’s entertaining… we tick a load of boxes.”
Rimmer said he was “gutted” about the cancellation of the show, which he called “the best job I’ve ever had” and blamed the need for “draconian” budgetary cuts.
“It’s draconian. From 9 o’clock to 6 o’clock, BBC2 has no budget for its own shows,” he said of the BBC’s proposed cost-cutting measures.
“It’s a purely financial decision,” he admitted, “so I suppose it’s better that we’re going because there’s no money [for the show] rather than it being axed because everyone thinks it’s crap!”
Among a number of other projects on and off TV screens, Rimmer is currently supporting The One Brand, a charity initiative that sells a range of everyday essential products such as eggs, water, porridge and hand wash in UK supermarkets, contributing 100 per cent of profits to struggling rural communities in Africa.
“The One Good Egg profits go into chicken coops; proceeds from the bread set up village bakeries; the hand wash helps with hygiene projects,” said Rimmer. “They’re all campaigns with a direct link to the product people buy.”
The chef said he currently uses The One Good Egg brand in his restaurants and is hoping to do the same with the charity’s branded water.
“They’re good quality products and the benefits for these people are tremendous. In an age where we’ve all become more aware of the effects of spending our money, I think it’s a tremendous project.”
Simon Rimmer is a supporter of The One Brand and has created a selection of recipes inspired by its products One Good Egg and One Clever Loaf. Get more information on the range’s like-for-like offer at onedifference.org.
Something for the Weekend is on Sundays at 10am on BBC2 until 18 March