THE FRIED CHICKEN SHOP – Channel 4, Mondays 9.00pm

A new series, following a one off documentary in February, started on Channel 4 on Monday. Cameras returned to the Rooster Spot takeaway on Clapham High Street. The result is an astute and refreshing human look at an often derided industry. The programme provides an insight into the lives of both staff and customers of this busy all night takeaway in South London.
The first look at the Rooster Spot revealed a mainly Asian workforce working long hours for low wages, to fund their studies or support their extended families. Some had limited knowledge of the English language but were always smiling, polite and friendly to the wide range of customers frequenting the chicken shop throughout the day and night.  Arguments in their native language became heated at times, but it was clear that there were important standards of quality to maintain in the preparation of the food.
The shop itself was incredibly clean, hopefully not just for the sake of the cameras, but floors were shiny, tables spotless and chrome stools gleaming. It was the same for the serving area and the staff’s smart white uniforms.

Over the coming weeks we are going to get to know more about the staff, their day to day lives, loves and regrets. We have already had a hint of a possible love match between one of the staff and a female customer, if he can pluck up the courage to ask her out. Likewise, Monday night’s show introduced us to some regular frequenters of the Rooster Spot, whose stories we are likely to unfold over the coming weeks. The very young unmarried couple expecting a baby, the two female school friends desperately seeking love and the ‘Clapham Trannie’ advising young girls on their dress sense, were all given significant air time.

As for the food, we didn’t see much detail. The Rooster seemed to have such an extensive menu that regulars order their favourites by number. Needless to say it was all deep fried but went beyond chicken to include burgers. Without doubt the range of sauces were as extensive as the menu and included those of moderate heat to blistering hot - as one customer remarked to his mate, ‘it’s burning my mouth but I just can’t stop eating it!’

This series is a ‘must watch’, so try not to miss next Monday’s visit to The Fried Chicken Shop on Channel 4 at 9.00pm. Repeated on Thursdays at 11.05pm.   


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