What links Cumberland rum nickies, Lancashire courting cakes and chesterfield sofas? On the face of it you’d have to say not a lot. Still, looks and taste can be deceptive. They do share one thing in common. A traditional leather chesterfield settee, along with Cornish pasties, Victoria sponges and Devonshire apple tarts are all British Classics. It’s just a pity that the producers of the latest series of Celebrity Masterchef didn’t cotton on sooner, and give the trusty old chesterfield sofa is deserved place on the set.
What we got instead was a variety of oddly assorted sofas and chairs. All very attractive and eclectic, we’ll grant you, but none of which had the gravitas and appeal of the distinctive traditional chesterfield settee. Why the oversight you might be asking? After all, what’s more traditional and redolent of ‘Britishness’ than this trusty old classic? Well, we simply haven’t got an answer. Perhaps the producers just didn’t think the ubiquitous chesterfield sofa would fit the stark modern set design; or perhaps it just that the BBC has a blind spot when it comes to this doyen of British furniture design.
They have got form after all. For years we’ve been treated to a revolving selection of sofas on BBC Breakfast programmes. Never once had we had the pleasure of seeing a chesterfield settee. They couldn’t use the excuse that it’s not comfortable, because it clearly is. Thousands of satisfied customers would put them right on that point straight away. So is the excuse that tradition furniture design wouldn’t sit comfortably with ultra-sleek minimalist set design? Well, maybe we might be onto something there. Perhaps they feel that traditional leather furniture would look out of place in a world of scaffolding shelving and pallet coffee tables. Well, they’d be wrong, and what’s more, they’d be missing the point. Contemporary chesterfield sofas sit perfectly in a modern environment, no matter how many bits of glass, steel and smoked glass you care to throw at them. They’re timeless and infinitely adaptable pieces of furniture.
So perhaps the programme makers should have a bit of a rethink before the next series. Masterchef is crying out for a ‘mastersofa’. What the programme needs is the ultimate classic; the epitome of British furniture design. What it needs is a chesterfield sofa, and for Rylan to lift the crown of course – job done, problem solved.