9 of the best Come Dine With Me episodes ever – from Jane's 'sad little life' to Angela's jaw-dropping insults
The best Come Dine With Me episodes capture the stress of hosting a dinner party unlike anything else.
The combination of David Lamb's commentary, frazzled contestants and bizarre entertainment is the perfect recipe for fireworks – both literal and metaphorical. It's no wonder that the show remains a cult classic.
Inevitably, when you've been on the air for 2000 episodes over 15 years, not every moment will be a banger. However, there's no doubt that when Come Dine With Me is on-song, it's pretty tough to beat.
The best Come Dine With Me episodes
Over the years, the show has given us some iconic reality TV moments. From sore losers to horrible recipes, there really is a little bit of everything in the Come Dine With Me back catalogue. In a way, any attempt to rank the best of the best seems a little reductive.
Nevertheless, in all of Come Dine With Me history, there are some moments that really stand out. Here are our picks for the best of the best Come Dine With Me episodes ever.
9. Angela's insults
There have been several attempts to rejig the traditional Come Dine With Me formula, with the Couples' format one of the most successful. This is in no small part down to contestants like Angela.
Alongside her husband, the highly critical contestant spent the entire episode insulting anyone and everyone around her.
What makes the episode even more astonishing is that Angela and Dave actually won. Maybe attacking the other participants can have unforeseen advantages?
8. Lee shoots for the moon
Holding the worst score for anything is bad enough. Doing it on a national TV show watched by millions is enough to make you want to cry.
Lee's hosting performance is a textbook example of how not to prepare for a dinner party. Not only did he do absolutely no prep before his guests arrived, but he also threw a creme brulee out of the window and gave everyone asparagus to take home.
No wonder he scored a staggering seven out of 40.
7. Salvo's strop
Some of the best Come Dine With Me episodes revolve around inexplicable rudeness. Italian singer Salvo Riggi's unusual approach to building repartee is a prime example.
As the only man in the quartet, Salvo had an interesting approach to charming his female guests. At one point, he likened one to an escort before throwing another's dinner into the bin after she questioned his cooking competency.
6. Rob and Petrina partner up
Everyone loves a good romance. While Come Dine With Me is more famous for its spectacular food fails and epic falling outs, it does sometimes deliver something heartwarming.
Both Patrina and eventual winner Robert Crisp seemed to have real chemistry throughout their episode and even declared their plans for a post-episode coffee date. Sadly, this love story doesn't have a happy ending, as Petrina has since confirmed on Twitter that "no date happened".
Still, it was special while it lasted.
5. Heather's tantrum
Sore losers are always hilarious, but especially so on Come Dine With Me. There have been many stand-outs in the show's long run, but Heather Horsfall is a cut above the rest.
Her stunned face and subsequent melt-down after placing dead last is perfect telly. Couple that with her denial and immortal rebuttal: "You put me fourth. No, seriously, I think you all have obviously given me a low score.”
A classic Come Dine With Me moment.
4. Marcello's moping
Earning the title of rudest ever contestant in a pretty crowded field is quite some achievement. The notorious Marcello Marino may just warrant the crown.
His highlights include telling a fellow contestant that he thought she'd never taken a bath and proclaiming someone's cooking "looked like a sick bag". Small wonder he didn't make himself popular.
3. Yvonne faceplants
Some comedy moments are immortal. From now until the end of time, Del Boy falling through an open bar will always be hilarious. So it is with Yvonne and her attempted handstand.
After proudly declaring to her guests that, "You know there’s only one thing I can do, and it’s this,” the former air hostess tried to pull off some amateur gymnastics. Instead, she stacked straight through an open doorway. Cue belly-laughs from everyone watching.
2. Celebrity Big Brother
When some shows venture into celebrity territory, what makes them great can quickly unravel. Not so with Come Dine With Me.
Though there have been many iconic celebrity appearances, Kim Woodburn is the pick of the bunch.
From her tipsy hosting to terrible flirting technique, the Celebrity Big Brother star is rightly revered in the Come Dine With Me hall of fame.
1. What a sad little life, Jane
The ep that spawned a thousand memes. Faced with a surprise loss to rival Jane, Nick Griffin look-a-like Peter Marsh spewed forth a tirade almost Shakesperian in its elegance.
Whether or not the critique was warranted, describing your nemesis as having the “grace and decorum of a reversing dump truck with no tyres” is inspired. Peter Marsh, we salute you.
There is no set formula to what will make a great Come Dine With Me episode. Sometimes, the most normal people in the world can turn into a snarling guest from hell at the drop of a hat.
It's this unpredictability that makes it brilliant. You really never know what is going to happen. Long may it continue.