If you thought veganism became more popular last year, you were right, but 2019 already looks like the year it becomes truly mainstream. A day since it launched, the national debate about Greggs' new vegan sausage roll is still raging, and now the BBC is getting on board the plant-based bandwagon.
Dirty Vegan, which aired on BBC Wales on Wednesday night and is available on iPlayer now, is the BBC's first ever vegan cooking show and is fronted by Matt Pritchard of MTV's Dirty Sanchez fame (turns out he's vegan and has had a veg-heavy YouTube cooking channel for over a year, who knew?). It's certainly a step up from GBBO's Vegan Week, and the broadcaster says more vegan shows are in the pipeline this year.
The series sees Pritchard, who cut animal products from his diet in 2015, show people around Wales the benefits of a plant-based diet. In the first episode, the 45-year-old former stunt performer, from Cardiff, cooks a plant-based banquet for a women's rugby team and in next week's instalment he'll bake vegan cakes for a branch of the Women's Institute (a tough crowd to please, no doubt).
"From what I have seen on social media, a lot of people like the fact that I have changed from this head-banging lunatic to this health and fitness freak," Pritchard, whose former hedonistic lifestyle made many believe he wouldn't survive into his 40s, explained to the BBC. "But the beast is still there. He just needs to be released. But I try and keep that beast away from temptation."
He said he'd "have laughed all the way to [his] grave" if someone had told him 20 years ago that he'd have a vegan cooking show some day. "But life takes you in strange directions."
He continued: "We have got to see how well this one does and if the public like it then fingers crossed we'll do more." And judging by the largely glowing (if surprised) reaction among viewers on social media, there should be many more episodes to come. A nationwide rollout of the show is also on the cards, he said.
After watching @pritchardswyd on #DirtyVegan last night and loving his work thought as a non #vegan I’d give @GreggsOfficial #vegansausageroll a go due to its social media presence ..... wow! Super tasty and the pastry was outstanding! Top work! pic.twitter.com/FtSqovlkuP— Jamie Eadie (@Jamieeadie) January 3, 2019
A BBC spokesperson said the corporation had "a couple of projects on veganism in development, looking at its environmental impact as well as those who choose veganism for health reasons." No doubt Piers Morgan will have something to say about them...