‘Sad little life Jane’, five years on: Come Dine with Me star gives behind-the-scenes account of infamous rant

A screenshot of Come Dine With Me’s infamous 2016 rant (Channel 4)
A screenshot of Come Dine With Me’s infamous 2016 rant (Channel 4)

One of the stars of Come Dine With Me has recalled what it was like to be present during the reality series’ infamous “sad little life, Jane” rant.

The 2016 episode, which aired five years ago this week, made headlines at the time when contestant Peter Marsh berated one of the other contestants after coming fourth.

In the clip, Marsh is seen telling his co-star: “Dear Lord, what a sad little life, Jane. You ruined my night, completely, so you could have the money, but I hope now you spend it on getting some lessons in grace and decorum because you have all the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on.”

The footage became an internet meme, appearing on T-shirts and unofficial merchandise, and was even the inspiration for an indie parody song shared on Twitter.

Adam Mastroianni, now a Harvard PhD student and improv comedian, was one of the three other contestants to appear on the episode. Speaking to The Independent, he described his time on Come Dine With Me, and explained what it was like to witness Marsh’s rant first-hand.

“It was surreal,” he said. “In fact, I couldn’t look directly at it – that’s why I was staring off into the distance during his whole rant.

“You can see me look up at one point to make eye contact with the producer, as if to plead with him, ‘Can’t you shut the camera off?’ Of course they wouldn't, because the producers were probably getting exactly what they wanted.

"His words to me at the end of his rant, which didn’t make the cut, were: ‘Adam… you’re very funny, your food wasn’t great, it’s been a pleasure.’”

Mastroianni sympathised with his former co-star, however, explaining: “You’re under incredible pressure when those cameras are on, and nobody deserves to be made a permanent pariah.”

After the episode was broadcast, Marsh told The Mirror: “What’s shown is not all that happens and people will believe what they’re shown.”

Mastroianni suggested: “It might be a good thing for him – and for the country, honestly – if they could do a reunion episode where Peter and Jane make up.”

“His desserts were great, by the way. It’s just the main course was too salty, in both senses of the word.”

He added: "I actually owe Peter because being a supporting character in this meme has been great fun. Probably a few times a month I get a message from a friend that someone has made a new version of the meme; most recently someone on Twitter made this great indie song out of it. I was once at a wedding in the middle of nowhere in Ohio when someone pulled me aside and said “Are you from…that episode of Come Dine with Me?”

The Independent has contacted Peter Marsh and Channel 4 for comment.

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