Thursday, 17 September 2009

RIP Keith Floyd

Apologies for radio silence of late – let's just put it down to "technical issues"!

Anyway, things continue apace in the Francophile world. We're just finishing the latest issue of French Magazine, on sale 3rd October. It comes with a free 64-page copy of The Traveller in France, so offers top value. Features include La Rochelle, Pays Basque, a look around the lovely Languedoc home of Josephine Ryan (antiques expert and author) as well as some great recipes from Michael Caines and Michel Roux Jr – who can currently be seen picking the bones out of pro cooks' efforts on Masterchef: The Professionals.

It was very sad to hear of the death of Keith Floyd this week. I grew up watching this guy romp around Britain and the world, having a booze-up on camera and looking like he was having a great time. He was a West Country lad like me and attended the same school, so I always felt some kind of affinity for him, just because he was "one of us". I interviewed him in France once by phone – he was a committed Francophile and spent a lot of his time there. When I rang him, half of his village was being washed away by some kind of flood or mudslide but he was still charming and funny. The "C'est la vie" attitude sat with him very well.

A couple of years back we were looking at doing a special issue of French with a guest editor. Our first choice was Keith Floyd, of course, so we contacted his agent – but never heard back. What a laugh that would have been.

Since his death, every TV chef with a decent PR has clamoured to offer a soundbite extolling Floyd's culinary and broadcasting virtues but as far as I can tell, few of them offered him shared screen time in recent years. I suspect that's because he was far more charismatic and compelling than any of them.