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Millionaire, Reacher, The Bridge … some shows are more suited to TV dinners than others

Here’s a rule of thumb: when eating in front of the telly, the bleeding pieces of meat should mostly be on your plate, not the screenWhen our children were small, the grindingly matey tones of Chris Tarrant could make me salivate. It was a classic Pavlovian response, because Tarrant ate dinner with us most evenings. Or to be more exact, we ate dinner with him. These, you see, were the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? years, when the show was reliably stripped throughout the early evening. And it turned out to be the perfect TV to eat your dinner in front of.The fact is, like so many young parents, we found the business of loving our babies utterly exhausting. Yes, a joy and an honour, but bloody hell, the little sods didn’t half take it out of us. Certainly, at the end of a long day’s vigorous 21st-century parenting, the last thing we wanted was one of those civilised catch-up dinners at the kitchen table that the relationship therapists recommend. No, we wanted to eat wordlessly in front of the telly, lubricated by a bucket each of sauvignon blanc. Both Millionaire and Tarrant were just the thing. You didn’t need to watch to know what was going on. Every time you looked up, all the important information would be there on the screen. You could focus instead on shovelling stuff into your face, while merely listening to Tarrant commiserate with some numbnuts who’d just lost £125,000 because they thought Hitler’s first name was Heil. Continue reading…