Jamie Oliver ... appeared on last night's MasterChef.

Jamie Oliver ... appeared on last night's MasterChef.

He's waged his righteous war on crappy school lunches, on obesity in America, and on the ravages of youth unemployment. But tonight Jamie Oliver is finally turning his attention to a cause the matters – the flagging audience of MasterChef Australia.

Alice, Tregan and Jules know they have a chance at immunity, but what they don't know is that to win it they'll first have to slay lovely-chubbly Jamie Oliver. "I'm slightly frightened," the chubster tells us in a pre-show teaser. "Apparently the people that love me are now going to have to kill me."

Tonight Jamie Oliver is finally turning his attention to a cause the matters – the flagging audience of MasterChef Australia. 

Steady on, Jim-Bob. Tregan may like a bit of roller derby action, but a good maiming is usually as rough as it gets.

Speaking of Tregan, she's got some weird Hiawatha headgear going on tonight. Alice, meanwhile, appears to have breached the "no contact with the outside world" rule to read viewer feedback; how else to explain her decision to downsize the Brains-from-Thunderbirds glasses to mere Buggles-size specs?

"There are moments in your life that you remember," Matt tells them. "And for you, this is one of those moments. I'm going to say this very slowly because this is going to need to sink in. Blah blah blah."

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Sorry. It just wasn't slow enough for me, I'm afraid.

Finally, His Jamieness enters to thundering applause and squeals of delight – oh, Andrew, do pipe down – and really all that's missing is a short stretch of water for him to walk across.

Tregan says she's gobsmacked (it's legal in roller derby), and tells Jamie "you're the reason I'm here today". Tregan's mum, watching at home, thinks, "Oh yeah, he does look a bit familiar".

Moving right along, Jules says "I can't fathom you're standing there". Empiricism be damned.

Up on the balcony, Kylie reveals that she applied for a job at Jamie's Sydney restaurant, got a trial in the kitchen but had to knock it back because of some pesky show called MasterChef, which robbed her of the opportunity to work for a living and instead forced her to seek fame and fortune on the telly.

Tonight's challenge is Italian-inspired, which is close to Jamie's heart, if not his head: he confesses he hasn't planned anything, he doesn't know where he's going to end up, and "you're all going to have an opportunity to whoop my ass, which is a beautiful thing".

Does he mean it's his ass that's beautiful or the chance to whoop it? Either way, with a fetish like that a career in English politics is a monty should he ever tire of cheffing.

But wait, there's more to come (fnarr fnarr) in this special episode brought to you by the ghost of Dick Emery. From beneath the bench Jamie pulls out a wooden paddle. "A little plank," he calls it. "One metre of heaven or hell." Who knew Jamie was an old public school boy, eh?

Matt explains the challenge thus: They'll have to make antipasto. Jamie is going to go into the pantry to choose some ingredients "that speak to him at that moment".  (He must have been at the same public school as Prince Charles.) "We want to see you on the plank," says Matt. "But don't let the plank spank you."

In the pantry, Jamie is a huge help. Mammoth, really. "You want soft things, crunchy things, hot things, cold things, sweet, sour. I might do something with asparagus, then again I might not." Right then. Take everything but the quince. Oh bugger it, better chuck that in too.

Suddenly Matt Moran pops out of a cupboard to mentor the three challengers. "Who would have thought head to head against THE Jamie Oliver," he asks. Good question, dude. A Jamie Oliver, perhaps, but not THE Jamie Oliver.

The girls will get 45 minutes, M&M tells them, but Jamie Oliver – "because you ARE Jamie Oliver" – will only get 30. He should have tried telling them he was only A Jamie Oliver; that would have been worth an extra five, surely.

When Jamie gets the go-ahead to start he wanders over to his bench and pretends to have no idea what he's going to do. But while Tregan is bouncing back and forth across the kitchen like a pinball being shunted around by invisible giant flippers, THE Jamie Oliver starts chopping like a man possessed. The only thing that could possibly rival his knife skills it seems is his incredible whooped ass.

Tregan is briefly invaded by the spirit of a miked-up Australian one-day batsman, offering us a blow-by-blow insight into her thinking out in the middle. "I don't know if I'm going to get that pin or not," she says. "I've got stuff. I'm trying my best. Hopefully. Aah. I just don't know."

Jules is first up to the judges, and Matt says there's some "absolutely delicious food here". George loves the figs wrapped in prosciutto (sounds a lot like a fancy-pants devil on horseback to me) and Gary declares it some of the best cooking in the competition so far.

Plank two (Alice) is next and Matt declares it much sexier than plank one. Gary digs the calamari, but George thinks the frozen peas are a disappointment (hey, at least she took them out of the plastic bag) and she should have trimmed the knob off her fig. Oo-er.

Jamie's next and his is overflowing with goodies; it's a veritable plankucopia. Searching desperately for negatives, Gary says that after a while the vast array of delicious flavours becomes a bit samey. Is that the definition of a first world problem, or what?

Finally, Tregan's plank is up and it's her stuffed zucchini that catches the eye. Sadly, it's the raw scampi and calamari that catches in the throat. Bleuch.

As they await the verdict, Jamie says "this is torture" while smiling infectiously. No-one is winning immunity tonight.

Jules gets an 8 (Gary), 9 (George) and 8 (Matt) for a score of 25. Matt says the only thing that could have improved it would have been if the food had spilled off the plank. Which would be more a case of "anti-plating" than "antipasto", surely.

Alice is next. Straight 8s for a score of 24.

Tregan gets straight 7s. They're being kind but as Gary says all you need to do is beat that guy over there. And he's already told us how much he enjoys a good beating.

Turning to that guy over there, Gary asks "have you got anything crossed?"

"Literally everything is crossed," says Jamie. "And it's not very comfortable."

"I don't feel cocky now," he adds, and with all that crossing going on it's doubtful cocky is feeling much either.

He needn't have worried though. It's straight 9s and he's got it in the bag.

"That's a bitter-sweet ending really," he says. "I would have liked to have been spanked by these girls."

Oh Mr Oliver.

You are awful. But we like you.