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TV preview: Santa's little bikers; PICK OF THE WEEK HAIRY BIKERS CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, Saturday, BBC2, 6.10pm.

Byline: BY STEVE HENDRY

You know it's Christmas when jolly fat men with big beards ride into town bearing gifts.

Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Simon King might not be Santa Claus but their hearts are certainly in the right place and they kick off the festive season with their Christmas Special.

With the credit crunch biting the genial duo are looking to get the best out of traditional home baking, travelling the length and breadth of the UK cooking up some traditional Christmas goodies.

The menu includes mince pies in a mouthwatering orange crust, homemade bagels with smoked salmon, giant cheese straws with warming chestnut and apple soup and a yummy chocolate Yule log.

Simon said: "Christmas is a big thing for both me and Dave. Fundamentally, we're big kids.

"We've spent years celebrating other countries' food cultures so this special was a great opportunity to celebrate the culture of Christmas in the UK. It's a time of comfort and joy and there is this aplenty in our Christmas special. We're going to some interesting places and meeting some amazing people.

"In Haverigg Prison, in Cumbria, we learn how to smoke salmon in their smoke house and we teach them how to make bagels."

In keeping with the festive spirit, they are also throwing a party for some of the people on the front line of public services including nurses, soldiers and firemen who have to work over Christmas.

Dave said: "We want to take our viewers on a rollicking good feast of Christmas travels, biking and baking."

The show, as ever, is a labour of love for Dave and Si who have lost none of their appetite with the success of their show and companion books.

The pair met when both were working behind the scenes in TV. Simon was a locations manager and Dave - who lived in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, for 15 years - an unlikely make-up artist.

They are still amazed that their turn in front of the cameras has worked out but things could have been very different.

Dave said: "Like most mates we would come up with business ideas which would come to nothing.

We actually thought about opening a lobster farm in Buckie once.

"We got the idea for doing a programme about food because it's what we do - we were always nicking off with our bikes, we love to eat and we had both cooked for years.

"We took the idea to six producers and laid it out for them. We knew we were on to something - although we didn't know what - when nobody said it was a c*** idea.

"We eventually got pounds 1400 from the BBC to shoot a pilot. Our first show got 2.7 million viewers with no press. It just did well on its own merits and we haven't looked back since."

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Dave, left, and Simon are cooking up a festive feast
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 7, 2008
Words:485
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