Tom Kerridge to help struggling pubs for BBC Two

Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge is to front an uplifting new series for BBC Two helping to save Britain’s pubs - one local at a time.

Published: 19 August 2019
When a community loses its pub, it loses its soul. Pubs are a vital part of our history and culture, and communities with a decent pub at their heart are stronger for it because people from all walks of life mix and socialise there. While many local services and shops are closing down, there are clear opportunities for reinventing what a pub can be. I want to work with locals to give them what they most want and need and create a place where they all feel welcome. That’s the foundation for building a pub that will survive. I need to prove that 21st century pubs can serve their communities and thrive.
— Tom Kerridge

Across four episodes, Tom will immerse himself in the fortunes of a pub under threat of closure. Working alongside the pub’s staff and the local community, Tom will lend his extensive experience of the industry and his passion for pubs in the fight to save their treasured local.

But this will be a tall order. Because last year nearly 1,000 pubs in Britain closed down. And between 2001 and 2018 an estimated 13,000 called ‘last orders’ for good.

The reason for this dramatic decline in numbers can be blamed on the basis that we are not going out as much as we used to and we are drinking less. Cash-strapped drinkers are buying booze from supermarkets to drink at home rather than frequenting their locals, and publicans are struggling with the burden of taxes, rents, rates, wages and the cost of food and drink. And perhaps most telling of all, inflated property prices can make selling pubs off for housing more profitable than running them as businesses.

But Tom believes that the British pub is an important part of our national culture and a valuable asset to many local communities, which is why he is on a mission to connect with pubs across the country to restore and protect them. Working with communities and passionate individuals who are determined to save their locals from closure, Tom will need to come up with fresh ideas in order to balance the books and provide new motivation to discouraged landlords.

Tom says: “When a community loses its pub, it loses its soul. Pubs are a vital part of our history and culture, and communities with a decent pub at their heart are stronger for it because people from all walks of life mix and socialise there. While many local services and shops are closing down, there are clear opportunities for reinventing what a pub can be. I want to work with locals to give them what they most want and need and create a place where they all feel welcome. That’s the foundation for building a pub that will survive. I need to prove that 21st century pubs can serve their communities and thrive.”

Tom has built a successful business by reinventing what a pub can be in the 21st century. He’s elevated pub food to Michelin-star standards at two premises, launched a festival around pub grub and converted one local into a part time butchers. He knows how to combine the best traditions of the local pub with forward-thinking business ideas.

BBC Two viewers will be familiar with Tom from various cooking shows for the channel. This new series is a departure for the celebrated chef and publican and will showcase his proven business flair for the first time.

Controller of BBC Two, Patrick Holland, says: “Tom has set himself a big challenge in his fight to save Britain’s pubs, but with his extensive knowledge of the industry and his fresh ideas, Tom has the foundations to inspire and restore each local back to its previous success. With Britain’s pubs on the decline, it has never been more important to shine a light on one of our most treasured British traditions.”

Tom’s Pub Rescue (w/t) (4x60') is a Bone Soup production. The Executive Producer is Richard Bowron. It was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller, BBC Two and David Brindley, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Michael Jochnowitz. The series will air in 2020.

Tom Kerridge is chef patron of the two Michelin-starred pub The Hand & Flowers, the one Michelin-starred pub The Coach and his pub-cum-butcher’s shop, The Butcher’s Tap, all in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. He is also chef patron of Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in the five-star Corinthia London.

Kerridge has presented many series for BBC Two, including Tom Kerridge’s Proper Pub Food, Lose Weight For Good, Top of the Shop and Tom Kerridge’s Fresh Start. His latest cookery series, Lose Weight And Get Fit, is due for transmission on BBC Two in 2020.

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