TV Five's Kitchen: February 24 - March 2

kitchen wed/thu, 21.00–23.00

This gritty new two-part drama stars Eddie Izzard as Nick Malone, a once-brilliant and charismatic chef at top Glasgow restaurant Cosimo. Now an alcoholic heading for burnout, Nick is joined in the kitchen by young chancer Danny Swift (James Young), who has been placed there as a condition of his probation, and quickly discovers that he has an aptitude for cooking. But is the fast-paced, drug-fuelled environment of the restaurant kitchen the best place for a former jailbird looking to stay out of trouble?
As the clock ticks towards the end of Danny’s probation and his freedom is in sight, he intends to keep his head down and get on with his work. There are several obstacles to this plan, however. For one thing, Danny’s talent in the kitchen has inspired jealousy in one of his colleagues. Bad-tempered sous chef Donald McQuillip (Stuart Bowman) regularly reminds Danny of the kitchen hierarchy. “I snap my fingers and I want you running to heel,” he growls while pinning Danny against the wall.
Crooked probation officer George (Frank Gallagher) is another authority figure who exploits his position, even turning up at the fully booked restaurant demanding that Danny organise a free meal for him and his glamorous wife Grace. Knowing that George has the power to have him locked up, Danny sorts him out a table. But trouble looms when Grace visits the kitchen and makes advances towards him. Temptation is one thing but, with freedom imminent, having sex with his probation officer’s wife in the ladies’ is reckless, even by Danny’s standards.
Danny realises he could be in too deep when Grace rings him a couple of days later with an offer: if he helps her kill George, he can share in George’s ill-gotten £750,000 fortune. Danny’s first instinct is to laugh this proposal off, but will he remain so steadfast if his power-hungry probation officer continues to make unreasonable demands of him?
Meanwhile, hard man Donald continues to run the kitchen, although without the flair of Danny or brilliant but alcoholic head chef Nick, who is cradling an empty vodka bottle in his office. Nick has made no secret of the fact that he believes Donald is “a mediocrity”, so the resentful Donald is not inclined to play Florence Nightingale when he witnesses Nick having a heart attack in the store cupboard. Instead, he leaves the ailing Nick alone and resumes his kitchen duties. It is only when Danny and fellow kitchen worker Kirsty (Charlene McKenna) need something from the store cupboard that they find Nick slumped there and call an ambulance.
With Nick seriously ill in hospital, Donald now has every opportunity to exercise his authority and make Danny’s life hell. But in the meantime he needs Danny’s help to produce a menu fit for a table of food critics. Danny obliges – after all, a bad report from Donald could put Danny behind bars – but is irritated when the talentless Donald takes the full credit and gets a glowing review in the next day’s paper. But Donald is grateful to Danny – so grateful, in fact, that he grabs him and kisses him passionately. Danny recoils in horror, a move that means that, just days from the end of his probation period, freedom is seeming an unlikely prospect.
Probation officer George has even more power over Danny’s future. He makes it clear that Danny can expect a glowing report as long as he agrees to join one of George’s many ‘business ventures’ once his restaurant probation is over. Danny makes it clear that he wants no part in anything illegal, but pays the price for this refusal when he is viciously attacked on his way home. “Don’t you ever say no to me again,” says George later. “You’re mine now.”
This heavy-handedness is enough to make Danny reconsider Grace’s earlier offer. Not only will this enable him to get revenge, but the money will enable him to start afresh, hopefully with Kirsty, the co-worker he had an affair with many years earlier and still cares about. But can he go through with the murder and, if so, can he pull it off?

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