Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1950s Cookery Lesson

Cookery Lesson

1 9 5 6 (UK)

Introduced by the bearded, round-faced and exuberant Philip Harben, Cookery Lesson introduced viewers to the basic principles of cooking.

Considering the UK was still under ration-book rule at the time, it is surprising that Harben’s lessons were so successful. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that he was such a hit at a time when the kitchen was still seen as very much the domain of women.

As a child, Philip Harben spent much time in the kitchen with his parents’ cook, while they were away. After leaving school, he worked as a photographer until, at the age of 31, he changed career and became a cook at the Isobar restaurant in Belsize Park, London.

After a spell in the RAF catering division, he approached the BBC and became a TV cook on the programmes Cookery (1946 – 1951) and What’s Cooking?.

Harben moved to ITV in 1964 with Headway (subtitled The Grammar of Cookery). His last programme was Thames Television’s The Tools of Cookery (1968 – 1969).

Philip Harben passed away on 27 April 1970.

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