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The way British TV personality Dave Myers, known as part of the "Hairy Bikers", revolutionized traditional views of masculinity was truly remarkable.
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The way British TV personality Dave Myers, known as part of the “Hairy Bikers”, revolutionized traditional views of masculinity was truly remarkable.


Dave Myers, famous for his role as one of the Hairy Bikers, passed away at 66 years old. This marks the conclusion of a remarkable 20-year career where he, alongside his co-host on TV, Si King, revolutionized the traditional definition of a television chef.

Even though he worked as a makeup artist for the BBC early in his career, where he is said to have applied Adam Ant’s iconic white stripe for a Top of the Pops performance, it was not until he joined forces with King for the initial season of The Hairy Bikers’ Cookbook in 2004 that he gained widespread recognition.

To understand the significance of The Hairy Bikers, we must consider how cooking shows were portrayed in the early 2000s. During this period, Gordon Ramsay popularized the intense and aggressive atmosphere of professional kitchens, often yelling at celebrities on “Hell’s Kitchen” and adopting a cocky attitude similar to Liam Gallagher’s. Being a male cook on television during this time required jumping through many macho hoops to prove one’s toughness.

Initially, The Hairy Bikers appeared to be following the same format. The show featured two large men traveling on motorbikes, reminiscent of Keith Floyd’s travel series. On the surface, it seemed similar to Top Gear in its presentation.

However, upon watching it, you were absolutely captivated by the incredible warmth that exuded from the screen whenever they appeared. Myers and King were perceptive, knowledgeable, and endlessly passionate. Not only were they always respectful to their host countries, but their ability to connect with their emotions was truly groundbreaking for its time. Looking back, it was a remarkably authentic portrayal of an ideal male friendship.

The fact that the formula endured for many seasons and remain popular among shows such as The Hairy Bikers’ Food Tour of Britain, The Hairy Bikers’ Twelve Days of Christmas, The Hairy Bikers – Chicken and Egg, Chocolate Challenge with The Hairy Bikers, The Hairy Bakers, and The Hairy Dieters, is proof of the strong friendship between the hosts.

Despite potentially coming across as condescending, the Hairy Bikers’ appeal lies in the fact that they are experienced professionals who have dedicated years to mastering their craft. However, what truly captures the attention of their audience is the sense that they are living out their wildest dreams. These two middle-aged men left their unsatisfying jobs behind to embark on a journey around the world with their closest companion, indulging in delicious cuisine along the way. Their infectious enthusiasm and genuine amazement captivate and cultivate a dedicated following.

Myers and King were known for their remarkable friendliness. When the BBC opted to produce a program titled Mums Know Best, featuring mothers sharing their treasured family recipes, it’s likely that The Hairy Bikers were the top choice as hosts. These down-to-earth personalities were able to strike a perfect balance between playful banter and maintaining a professional distance, making them the ideal candidates for the show.

The reason for their popularity could be attributed to their readiness to be vulnerable. Instead of engaging in competitive displays like Ramsay, who once slaughtered a puffin on camera just to consume its heart, Myers and King openly shared their experiences of being bullied for their weight during childhood.

Myers persevered in this manner during his battle with cancer. He publicly shared his cancer diagnosis in May 2022 and continued to provide upbeat interviews about his experience by October of that year. Despite being candid about the challenges he faced, he remained optimistic. In an interview with BBC, he acknowledged the difficult moments and the need to allow oneself to feel emotions such as sadness.

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In a world of television where false friendships are common and only exist onscreen, it was Si King who consistently escorted Myers to and from chemotherapy while also cooking meals for him and delivering them in between appointments.

What audiences will long for is the bond between The Hairy Bikers. While Dave Myers passing marks the conclusion of a strong, affectionate, and truly inspiring friendship between men, it’s difficult to overlook their contribution to the evolution of onscreen British manliness. At least one chapter would have to be dedicated to exploring the development of King and Myers.

Source: theguardian.com