The Hairy Bikers are riding in!

9 June 2008

Hairy BikersThey are due to make a guest appearance at this year’s Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards, at Blackburn Rovers football club on Wednesday 18 June, and will be cooking a dish using local produce in front of 300 or so invited guests, as well as posing for photographs with our Award winners and the highly commended.

Their last visit to the county was back in April to open the Lancashire Food Festival in Accrington. John Anson from the Lancashire Telegraph caught up with them before their visit. We reproduce his interview to give a `flavour` of what to expect on the 18th.

Yes, TV’s unlikeliest culinary double act – Dave Myers and Simon King. For Cumbrian-born Dave (the small one with the glasses), he’s delighted to get the chance to share his passion for fresh, local food with the folk of East Lancashire.

"We’ve got some fantastic food in the North West," he said.

And he’s got some great news for fans of the TV series.

As one half of TV’s unlikeliest double act, Dave Myers is gradually getting used to being noticed.

"It took me a while," he says in his distinctive Cumbrian accent.

"The first time I realised it was when someone came up and asked me if I was ‘that bloke off the telly’."

As the Hairy Bikers, former TV make-up expert Dave and Geordie Simon King, have travelled the world talking about the things they love most – food and motorbikes.

At Accrington Town Hall they will officially open the 11th Lancashire Food Festival.

"We’ll be doing some cooking too," said Dave. "We’re due on Saturday Kitchen later in April so we’re going to try out the dishes we’ll be making on the TV. It sounds posh but it’s really simple.

"But we’ll be hanging round for most of the day. We love to wander round food festivals and look at the produce and buy things."

The pair have been friends for over 20 years. They met on the set of a TV adaptation of a Catherine Cookson novel where Dave was doing make-up and Simon was an assistant director.

"He sold me a dodgy bike while we were on set, which kept breaking down," said Dave. "I invited him up with some of the crew for a week, hoping to get my money back, and we’ve been friends ever since."

On screen the Hairy Bikers appear to be having as much fun as the viewers and their passion for food is clear.

"We both love food, as you can tell," says Dave. "What you see on the TV is what we are like, it’s not scripted or anything, we are just ourselves.

"When we were filming the first series our producer said there’s nothing more boring than watching a big bloke chop an onion’ but I think our programmes are more entertaining than that."

Certainly the viewing figures indicate that they are with their most recent programme – The Hairy Bikers Come Home – pulling in 3.4million viewers and putting the show in the top 10 most watched programmes on BBC2 last year.

"The thing is we don’t take ourselves too seriously," said Dave. "Our programmes show that food is not elitist but that food is something to be enjoyed."

Now living around Morecambe Bay, Dave is fully aware of the great produce that Lancashire has to offer and that was one of the reasons why he’s so looking forward to the food festival.

"We just need to look around and see what fantastic produce we have got on our doorstep," he said. "Look at somewhere like Bury Market – it’s just like Harrods food hall only a lot cheaper!

"With organisations like Taste Lancashire that quality is becoming known around the country. Simon’s trying to show that his native North East also has some fantastic producers but that area seems to be a few years behind us in the North West about shouting about itself."

Although both Dave and Simon had successful careers in TV – Dave worked on series such as Spooks and Simon on the Harry Potter movies, as soon as their first cookery series was confirmed they had no qualms about leaving film sets behind.

"Working on location sounds more glamourous than it actually is for the crew and I think after 20 years in our jobs we were ready for a change," said Simon.

Now with three Hairy Bikers series under their belts – and two successful books which they wrote together the future’s bright. "We’re still skint mind you," laughed Dave.

The shortlist for the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards has been announced.

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