Sleb Safari: Gregg Wallace's 6am phone calls get John Torode's goat

Gregg Wallace
Maeve Connolly

YOUR phone starts dancing on the bedside table, you raise your silk eye mask, silence the soothing sound of waves wafting from the ambient noise machine and reach for your mobile, muttering under your breath. It’s 6am and the man on the other end of the line is Gregg with two Gs Wallace, Masterchef judge, early bird and lover of to-do lists.

You’re John Torode, fellow Masterchef judge and friend of Gregg, so you answer the call but you’re not best pleased and Gregg can tell. The next time you meet you sense a “disturbance in the force” and have to ‘talk it out’.

If this was an episode of Masterchef, Gregg would look at John, John would look at a camera that wasn’t on him and Gregg would pull a face and hold it for a beat too long. It’s a very particular facial expression - constipation with a teaspoon of confusion - and Sleb Safari would wager the camera crew has their own bet on which one of them can get him to hold it for the longest each series. 

Sleb Safari would put a 6am phone call in the ‘nuisance’ category but John has a pinch more patience.

“Last time it happened I wasn’t very happy and I said, ‘Gregg, mate, it’s 6am.’ And he said, ‘But you’re on my list!’ That’s the thing with Gregg, he gets up very early and his whole life is diarised and run on lists,” John told The Times.

“Anyway, the next time I saw him face to face I sensed that disturbance in the force — I knew there was something wrong. I said, ‘Mate, come on, what’s up?’ He said, ‘You weren’t very nice to me on the phone the other morning.’ I said, ‘It was 6am!’ and he said, ‘But I get up at 5am and you were on my list!’

“We talked it out. We are honest with each other. In the end, you have to learn to accept each other’s foibles. Gregg is incredibly organised.”

It’s not the first time Gregg’s lists have gotten a mention in the press. When he and his third wife were on the cusp of separation they sat down with The Daily Mail as though in the sanctuary of a therapist’s office.

It transpired that Gregg liked Heidi to schedule his day with enthusiasm, nay, sadism.

He told the paper his to-do list “starts off every morning with ‘yoghurt’, then it’ll be ‘teeth’, then it’ll say ‘tablets’ because I’ve got to take my cholesterol tablets and vitamin C, then ‘check BBC News’. Those are all the things I must do before I leave the flat. Then it’ll say ‘Twitter’ because I want to tweet twice a day, then it’ll say ‘H’ for Heidi because of all the things I need to discuss with her.”

And don’t get him started on deciding what to wear.

“I don’t know how anybody gets dressed in the morning if they haven’t got a plan of how they’re going to do it. I couldn’t just stare at the wardrobe and make my mind up. I have to have a system.” 

Spontaneity and sleep-ins are anathema to Gregg but he loves a list of instructions he can follow to the letter - is it any wonder he ended up on a cookery show and with his own recipe book? There truly is a place for us all in the world.


Neighbours bows out 


NEIGHBOURS, everybody needs good neighbours… Are you warbling along because Sleb Safari sure is. The Aussie TV staple is coming to an end next week after 37 years and the returning cast shared some photos from set.

Never has anyone looked less like a mechanic than modern day Kylie Minogue, but we can suspend our disbelief one last time. 

  • Neighbours ends with a double-episode special on Channel 5 at 9pm on July 29. 


Social Media Smut    


A post shared by Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon)


Jennifer Lopez and her time machine


Jennifer Lopez says a good night's sleep takes 10 years off her face


A WOMAN who could handle Gregg Wallace’s 6am phone calls as long as she’d had her eight hours is Jennifer Lopez.

JLo says sleep is “the most underrated beauty secret out there”.

“We don’t value sleep. We value grinding and working hard - and admittedly, nobody gets caught up in that rat race more than me…” she wrote in her email newsletter On the JLo.

“There was a time in my life where I used to sleep three to five hours a night…I was in my late 20s and I thought I was invincible.”

Except then she had a panic attack.

“I asked the doctor if I was going crazy. He said, ‘No, you’re not crazy. You need sleep… get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, don’t drink caffeine, and make sure you get your workouts in if you’re going to do this much work’.” 

She added: “As I slept more and took care of myself, I realized it was about pro-living versus anti-aging.”

Pro-living is a much more life-affirming message but Sleb Safari doesn’t expect to see it on the side of an eye cream any time soon.