I've just put up some old clips from the television series "Floyd on France" on the new Greasy Spoon Facebook page. I loved this series when it was first shown on British television back in September 1987. Floyd had actually made three series before that ("Floyd on Fish", "Floyd on a Pub Run", and "Floyd on Food"), but it was "Floyd on France", produced by David Pritchard, that put him on the map. I think it may have been one of the first cookery programmes in which food was cooked in real restaurant kitchens, in real time. At the time it seemed fresh, original and amusing. I remember my mother tut-tutting with disapproval, but as she ain't that keen on France, alcoholics, or people who stick their fingers into the sauce, it was kind of understandable. The rest of us loved it.
I'm afraid that I'm a bit sniffy about the later Floyd programmes- they lacked the magic of "Floyd on France", and by the end ("Floyd's India" and "Floyd's Fjord Fiesta", both 2001) had degenerated into formulaic early evening programming which lacked the integrity and passion of the earlier serieses. I remember Floyd wearily admitting at the end of "Floyd's India' how much he disliked the country- can you imagine him saying that about his beloved France?
Of course, with hindsight, "Floyd on France" was very much a certain type of Englishman's take on France, the view of a Private Eye reading 80's Rabelasian seen through rose-coloured glasses: panama hats and paunches, the Garrick Club tie and the Citroen 2CV; affordable French farmhouses and never-ending supplies of the local red. Peter Mayle carried on the tradition in his "A Year in Provence" (1989).
I would love to be able to see the complete series again. I've got the official video- but it's an edited version, and vast chunks of the original series have been cut. Even so, it's a rare old thing, and I gather might cost you £30 or so, to buy one second hand. The complete series doesn't seem to be available on DVD, no doubt because of the usual copyright problems.
Keith Floyd's first cookbook "Floyd's Food" (1981) has been re-printed and is now available brand new from amazon. I've got the original (albeit dog-eared and splattered) first edition: it's now extremely rare, and as I write, not one copy seems to be available for sale online. In any event, it's a terrific little book, full of simple but heart-felt ideas, and as the re-issued version's not very expensive, would make a lovely present for someone if you felt so inclined: I can almost guarantee they won't already have it.