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Sleuth Donal gets a grilling from TV dinner guests as chef Nick helps out

Crime investigator turned reality star Donal MacIntyre has got his teeth stuck into a new challenge -- Come Dine With Me.

The Herald can reveal how the Irish TV personality will be trying to uncover his inner Gordon Ramsay by taking part in the hit Channel 4 show in a celebrity edition due to air shortly.

But his fellow celebs sniffed out some dubious goings-on in the kitchen of his London home themselves after he drafted in restaurateur Nick Munier, who opened the door to guests. "Donal and myself have been friends for years but he'll admit himself that he can't cook, so he asked me to come over and help him out. We had such a laugh together," said Nick.

He explained how Donal served up dishes including scallops with cauliflower puree and traditional Irish colcannon in a bid to win over his fellow celebrity diners.

Potatoes

The line-up for the programme, which airs on Sunday, includes former newsreader Jan Leeming, EastEnders star Dave Spinx and Eurovision singer Javine -- and they ending up roasting Donal for seeking the help of a serious professional.

But Pichet owner Nick explained: "They were all giving out because everyone thought I had been there cooking all day, but I hadn't.

"All I had done was help him mash potatoes and things like that. I was acting as maitre d' all right, handing out the champagne and that, but that was about it," he said.

"We were all having the craic and laughing all night. It's going to make for great viewing as they were all doing it for charity, so no one was taking it that seriously.

"Javine had a good few glasses of champagne and was hilarious -- she thought Jan was a porn star for some reason!"

He added: "The show's unbelievably popular -- it gets around eight million viewers so it should pull in a good number on the night."

Irish stars living across the water have featured strongly in the programme -- gardener Diarmuid Gavin took part in a Christmas special not long ago.

Wacky

He joined other stars including wacky David Gest, slimmed-down actress Hannah Waterman and presenter Sherrie Hewson on the show -- and even came joint first.

mfinn@herald.ie