MasterChef (UK TV series)

For international adaptations, see MasterChef.
Also known as 'MasterChef Goes Large
(2005–2007, original title)
Genre Cooking
Created by Franc Roddam
Presented by Original series:
Loyd Grossman (Series 1–10)
Gary Rhodes (Series 11)
Judges Revived series:
Gregg Wallace
John Torode
Narrated by India Fisher (2005–present)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series MasterChef:
11 (original)
10 (revived)
Celebrity MasterChef:
10 (aired to date)
No. of episodes MasterChef:
146 (original series, inc. specials)
278 (revived series, at the end of series 10)
Celebrity MasterChef:
211 (end of series 10)
Executive producer(s) Franc Roddam
Producer(s) Karen Ross
David Ambler
Location(s) Original series:
The Maidstone Studios, Kent
Revived series:
15 Bastwick Street[1]
Islington, North London (2005–2011)
Ram Brewery, Wandsworth (2011–2014)[2][3]
Running time 30–90 minutes
Production company(s) Union Pictures[4] (1990–2000)
Union/West 175 (2001)
Shine TV (2005–present)
Distributor Ziji Productions
Original network BBC One (1990–2000, 2009–)
BBC Two (2001, 2005–2008 and Celebrity MasterChef 2012)
Picture format 4:3 (1990–2001)
16:9 (2005–present)
Original release Original series:
2 July 1990 (1990-07-02) – 3 July 2001 (2001-07-03)
(11 years, 1 day)
Revived series:
21 February 2005 (2005-02-21) – present
(11 years, 299 days)
Related shows Britain's Best Bakery
External links
Production website

MasterChef is a BBC television competitive reality cooking show. It initially ran from 1990 to 2001 and was later revived in a different format known as MasterChef Goes Large from 2005 onwards. In 2008, the "Goes Large" part of the name was dropped, but the format remains identical. The revamped format was devised by Franc Roddam and John Silver with Karen Ross producing.

The series now appears in four versions: the main MasterChef series, MasterChef: The Professionals for working chefs, Celebrity MasterChef and Junior MasterChef for 9-to-12-year-olds.[5] The format has been reproduced around the world in a large number of international versions.

Original series

In the original series, three amateur cooks took part in each episode, with nine heats leading up to three semifinals and a final, in which they competed for the title of MasterChef. Their task was to cook a gourmet three-course meal in under two hours. Contestants could cook whatever they liked, although there was a price limit on ingredients. "Everyday" ingredients and equipment were provided for them, in addition to which they could bring in up to five "specialist" ingredients or utensils.

The first incarnation of the series was presented by Loyd Grossman, who was joined each week by two guest judges, one a professional chef, the other a celebrity. Grossman and the guest judges discussed the menus, wandered around talking to the contestants and finally ate and judged the food. Originally, the judges' "cogitations" took place off-camera, though later on, edited highlights of the discussions were added between the tasting and the announcement of the winner.

In 1998, Grossman decided to take a one-series sabbatical. He returned to present the 1999 series, but left the programme in 2000.


In 2001, the series underwent a makeover. It was moved from its traditional Sunday afternoon slot on BBC One to a new weeknight slot on BBC Two. The "celebrity" judge was dropped and chef Gary Rhodes took over as presenter. This new version of the series asked contestants to cook two courses in just 90 minutes. It lasted just one series and was much criticised  notably by former host Grossman.

Revived series

In 2005, executive producers Franc Roddam and John Silver, along with series producer Karen Ross radically overhauled the format, and a new series was introduced, initially under the name MasterChef Goes Large. The name reverted to MasterChef in 2008.[6]

In the new version, there are two permanent judges, John Torode and Gregg Wallace, though neither addresses the viewer directly; instead narrative information is conveyed in a voiceover by India Fisher.

The show proved very popular and became one of BBC Two's more successful early-evening programmes, leading to an announcement by the BBC in 2009 that it would be moved back to BBC One.[7]


Judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace at MasterChef Live, London, 2009

In the new format, each series airs five nights a week for eight weeks, consisting of six weeks of heats and quarter-finals, with six contestants emerging to compete against one another over the final two weeks to select a winner.

In each of the first six weeks, there are four heats and a quarter-final. Six contestants enter each heat, with one quarter-finalist emerging from each of the four heats. These four quarter-finalists compete for a semi-final place, so that over the first six weeks, six semi-finalists emerge.

In 2010, the judges were given more flexibility, allowing them to promote more than one contestant to the quarter-finals, or, in one instance, none at all.


The heats follow a three-round format:


The quarter-finals follow a different structure with different challenges. Up until 2010, the format was:

In 2010, the quarter-final format was changed to:

Now, the quarter final format is:

Comeback Week

The sixth week was called "Comeback Week" and featured contestants from the previous series of MasterChef, who did not advance past the heats or quarter-finals. The format was different for this week:

MasterChef Live

MasterChef Live is an extension of the television programme. The event runs annually in November and is held over three days since 2009; it is hosted at London Olympia, co-located with the annual Wine Show.

Highlights of the event include live cookery demonstrations in the Chefs’ Theatre, celebrity chefs, former contestants, critics, and MasterChef style cook-offs.

Celebrity MasterChef

"Celebrity MasterChef" redirects here. For the Romanian series, see Celebrity MasterChef (Romanian series).

Celebrity MasterChef was devised as a celebrity version of MasterChef Goes Large. The show was screened on BBC One from 2006 to 2011; originally, a total of 24 celebrities took part in each series with three contestants per episode following the full MasterChef Goes Large test.[8]

In 2011, the programme was moved to a daily daytime slot with 30 episodes screened over 6 weeks and featuring only 16 celebrities. In 2012, the show moved to BBC Two due to low ratings and returned to an evening 18:30 slot. In 2013, it moved back to BBC One primetime, airing at 20:00. Since 2014, the show has featured 20 celebrities competing for the title.


There was also a week of Comeback contestants featuring Joe McGann, Marie Helvin, Linda Barker, Claire Richards, Rowland Rivron, Ninia Benjamin, Steven Pinder, Wendi Peters, Helen Lederer, Tony Hadley, Martin Hancock and Jeff Green.

MasterChef: The Professionals

MasterChef: The Professionals, a version for professional chefs, was introduced in 2008.

Junior MasterChef

Main article: Junior MasterChef

Junior MasterChef originally ran from 1994 to 1999 for under-16s. It was revived in 2010 with an age range of nine to twelve. A second series of the revived format ran in 2012.


MasterChef (original series)

Year Winner
1990 Joan Bunting
1991 Sue Longden
1992 Vanessa Binns
1993 Derek Johns
1994 Gerry Goldwyre
1995 Marion Macfarlane
1996 Neil Haidar
1997 Julie Friend
1999 Lloyd Burgess
2000 Marjorie Lang
2001 Rosa Baden-Powell

Note: The original MasterChef series did not air in 1998.

MasterChef Goes Large (revived series)

Year Winner
2005 Thomasina Miers
2006 Peter Bayless
2007 Steven Wallis


The show's original name returned from series 4 in 2008.

Year Winner
2008 James Nathan
2009 Mat Follas[17]
2010 Dhruv Baker
2011 Tim Anderson
2012 Shelina Permalloo
2013 Natalie Coleman
2014 Ping Coombes
2015 Simon Wood
2016 Jane Devonshire

Celebrity MasterChef

Year Winner
2006 Matt Dawson
2007 Nadia Sawalha
2008 Liz McClarnon
2009 Jayne Middlemiss
2010 Lisa Faulkner
2011 Phil Vickery
2012 Emma Kennedy
2013 Ade Edmondson
2014 Sophie Thompson
2015 Kimberly Wyatt
2016 Alexis Conran

Charity specials

Year Show Winner
2008 Children in Need Junior MasterChef Alexander (Billy) Wyatt
2010 Sport Relief does MasterChef Alan Hansen
2011 Comic Relief does MasterChef Miranda Hart
2013 Comic Relief does MasterChef Jack Whitehall

Other notable contestants

UK transmission guide

Original series

Series Start date End date Episodes Hosts
1 2 July 1990 24 September 1990 13 Loyd Grossman
2 21 April 1991 14 July 1991
3 26 April 1992 19 July 1992
4 11 April 1993 4 July 1993
5 10 April 1994 3 July 1994
6 16 April 1995 9 July 1995
7 7 April 1996 30 June 1996
8 27 April 1997 3 August 1997
9 3 January 1999 28 March 1999
10 12 March 2000 4 June 2000
11 3 April 2001 3 July 2001 Gary Rhodes


Revived series

MasterChef Goes Large

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 21 February 2005 1 April 2005 29
2 23 January 2006 17 March 2006 40
3 22 January 2007 15 March 2007 40

The show's original name returned from series 4 in 2008.

Series Start date End date Episodes
4 7 January 2008 28 February 2008 32
5 5 January 2009 26 February 2009
6 18 February 2010 7 April 2010 23
16 February 2011 27 April 2011 15
(inc. audition shows)
8 17 January 2012 15 March 2012 15
9 12 March 2013 2 May 2013 23
10 26 March 2014 16 May 2014 24
11 10 March 2015 24 April 2015 24
12 23 March 2016 6 May 2016 25

Note: Series 7 of MasterChef featured 'talent show-type' audition shows (similar to The X Factor) in which hopeful chefs cooked in front of the judges to secure a place in the competition. More than 20,000 people applied to audition for the series.[18]


Celebrity MasterChef

Series Start date End date Episodes
1 11 September 2006 29 September 2006 15
2 28 May 2007 15 June 2007
3 2 July 2008 25 July 2008 12
4 10 June 2009 10 July 2009 15
5 21 July 2010 20 August 2010
12 September 2011 22 October 2011 30 (daily shows)
13 (catch-up shows)
7 13 August 2012 21 September 2012 30
8 31 July 2013 6 September 2013 18
9 10 June 2014 18 July 2014
10 18 June 2015 24 July 2015 12
11 22 June 2016 29 July 2016

Note: Series 6 of Celebrity MasterChef was aired weekdays on BBC One at 2:15 pm.[19] Catch-up shows were also aired on Fridays at 20:30 (30 minutes long) and on Saturdays at various times (60 minutes long).

See also


  1. "Google Maps". Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  2. "What Now For Putney's Tom Whitaker?". 23 May 2011. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  3. "The old Masterchef studio entrance is being demolished". Ram Brewery on Twitter. 17 September 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  4. Ellis, Walter (30 July 2000). "Has 'Masterchef' had its frites?". The Independent. London.
  5. "CBBC gets children cooking as Junior MasterChef is announced". 24 August 2009.
  6. "Two Programmes – MasterChef – Previous episodes". BBC. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  7. "Press Office – MasterChef rustles up move to BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  8. "Food – TV and radio – Celebrity MasterChef biographies". BBC. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
  9. "Celebrity MasterChef dishes up 2011 winner". BBC. 23 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  10. "Celebrity MasterChef – BBC One". Plank PR. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  11. "Celebrity MasterChef names winner". BBC. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  12. "Celebrity Masterchef switch: Show set to move back to evening slot on BBC2". Mirror. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  13. "Celebrity MasterChef returns to prime time BBC One with all-star line-up". BBC Media Centre. 24 June 2013.
  14. "Mat wins MasterChef 2009 title". 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2012-11-16.
  15. BBC (18 February 2011). "MasterChef revamp 'has turned cooking show into The X Factor'". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  16. Heritage, Stuart (13 September 2011). "MasterChef goes daytime | Television & radio |". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
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