Loyd Grossman has become something of a hero to me over the years. His dry sense of humour made programmes such as this (and Masterchef) all the more watchable. However, if you also add his delicious pasta sauces into the, ahem, mix then you've got a recipe (no more puns, I promise) for success.
Simply mouth-watering, and the sauce isn't bad either.
Of course, Loyd Grossman is also the man who dared to stand up to Christina Aguilera's sex antics during a stay at an Irish hotel. Whilst many of us would either put a pillow over our head to drown out her screams and moans, or go and knock on Christina's door and ask "any room for a small one?", Loyd had the courage to not only complain, but also to glare sternly in the young singer's direction.
That's why Loyd was the perfect man for the job on Through The Keyhole. Each tour of a celebrity's home would begin in the same way. Loyd would stride confidently up the driveway and let himself in. He would casually take off his jacket and hang it on the hat-stand (apparently you simply must have a hat-stand if you're a celebrity). He would then walk around the home, picking up the conveniently placed clues to the owner's identity (usually a garish painting of their hometown or a tacky ornament that they would obviously never own in real-life). And then he would end with those famous words: "Who would live in a house like this? David...it's over to you." That phrase would become a staple of every up-and-coming impressionist's act. Indeed, I do a great Grossman myself - "Ooooooh, Christina....would you kindly desist?"
The fun and games would begin in the studio. The viewers at home would be shown the identity of the home owner (almost always Freddie Starr). Each member of the panel would then have to decipher the clues. If they were on the right track ("I noticed that the owner has a lot of books - could they be an author?"), they would be greeted by clapping and cheering by the audience. If they were wrong ("I noticed that they have a kitchen - could they be a chef?"), they would be met with a deathly silence and tumbleweed blowing across the screen. Plus, Sir David would invariably laugh at them, making them feel even worse.
Eventually, either by skill or (more likely) Sir David telling them the answer, the mystery personality would be revealed. They would then appear in the studio for an interview about their home. This usually involved questions such as, "you have such an outgoing personality, does that explain the picture of a naked woman hanging in your hallway?" Eventually, the guest would be handed the Through The Keyhole Key - a huge foot-long gold key. How the audience laughed when the guest (again, usually Freddie Starr) held the key above their head and joked "this will never fit in my lock!"
It's an afternoon show now, with the lovely Lisa Snowdon instead of Loyd Grosman, but it's still a winning format that manages to convey a warm, comforting atmosphere. A bit like Loyd's pasta sauce, I suppose.