CELEBRITIES. They think they can change the world.

Which would be fine if they were selflessly making a difference away from the limelight.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it?

Most of them need at least one TV crew in tow. You know, to keep us in the loop.

Call it a need-to-know basis (they need us to know).

It’s why, in the recent past, we’ve had BBC1’s Famous, Rich and Homeless (five celebs spend ten days living rough with down-andouts), Famous, Rich and Jobless (four celebs spend eight days living as down-and-outs), ITV’s Seven Days on the Breadline (four celebs spend seven days living with council tenants) and C4’s Tower Block of Commons (four MPs spend eight days living with the lower classes).

Not one of them achieved a damn thing.

So how radical must this gamechanging programme idea have sounded to the commissioning monkeys at the Beeb?

Three TV chefs spend a few days living with poor families, who can scarcely afford to feed themselves, and show how to shop for and cook a nutritious meal on the tightest of purse strings.

And voila! We have the steaming big pile that is BBC1’s oh-so-worthy Great British Budget Menu.

A deeply patronising and pointless hour that did precious little to help the celebrities’ hosts, but did gain James Martin, Richard Corrigan and Angela Hartnett a few Brownie points.

This trio were parachuted in like Red Adair behind burning Kuwaiti oil wells during the First Gulf War.

It began, as is always the way, with the famous faces demonstrating they’re hopelessly out of touch.

Hartnett couldn’t believe she’d meet anyone in leafy Surrey in the grip of food poverty, while Corrigan was imagining staying with Shameless’ Frank Gallagher.

When he did meet his assigned family, the Millers, who didn’t have “a cigarette out of one side of the lip and a can of lager in the other hand” but did have only £1.66 a day to feed each of them, Corrigan asked: “Do you manage to get a bit of Parmesan on your pasta?” (They didn’t.) And from this starting position, like every previous show of its ilk, the only impact was on the celebrities, not the people they were supposed to help.

It was THEIR journey, from leaving their comfort zone to having their eyes opened.

If that sounds harsh, consider this.

All three failed to stay within their host family’s daily food budget for the ingredients they bought, thereby defeating the whole flamin’ purpose of the exercise.

The narrator was desperately trying to cover up this very obvious crack with Sellotape: “Richard knows he’s gone way over budget by buying fresh salmon.

“But his cooking tips are still useful with budget ingredients like frozen fish.”

The only time they did stick to their allotted money, £1 a portion, was for some bizarre event at the end, the “budget banquet”, held apparently to make politicians and supermarkets aware of the country’s food crisis.

Which is why, I’m guessing, the guest list included such culinary and social-policy giants as Natasha Kaplinsky, Channel 5’s Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi and Maggie Philbin.

It was the most pointless endeavour of all.

You see, it’s relatively simple for a professional cook to adhere to a budget for mass catering, but that’s of no use whatsoever to Hartnett’s single mum or James Martin’s sheltered housing state pensioner living on half a cup-a-soup for dinner.

Proceedings begged for a final fatal blow, duly delivered by the narrator: “The chefs have shown that cooking healthy food on a tiny budget is possible.

“But having the skills to do it is essential.”

Along with the TV crew, of course. We need to know.

Spudulike awards

● Andy Murray’s colossal Wimbledon triumph.

● BBC2 documentaries Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army and the 90 minutes of haunting survivors’ guilt Piper Alpha: Fire in the Night.

● Margaret Mountford’s glare and Claude Littner’s brutal demolition of The Apprentice’s Jordan Poulton: “You’re a parasite. This interview is terminated.”

● Claude Littner’s honest (I think) demolition of Matt Baker, on The One Show: “You’ve done a few bits of presenting. Let’s put it down to what it really is. You’re just reading an autocue.”

● TLC’s barmy documentary I Think I’m An Animal which can be summarised by this line: “Steve, who believes he’s a leopard, has met hundreds of people who believe they are also animals. He now lives with one, Timothy, a raccoon.”

Spuduhate awards

● Count Arthur Strong failing to deliver a single chuckle.

● Matt Baker and Alex Jones trying to interview Andy Murray over the sound of a reversing lorry.

● Alesha Dixon losing patience with the Your Face Sounds Familiar contestants and pressing the Randomiser button for them.

● Lord Sugar showing off to his mates, like he’d been told The Apprentice interviewers’ feedback session was a comedy club openmike evening.

● Lisa Snowden failing to give the honest answer of: “For the money,” to this shopping-channel question: “You’ve produced your own jewellery range for us at QVC. What made you decide to do that?”

● Gok Wan’s diabolical Gok Live: Stripping For Summer, which came with this fashion tip: “Add a pair of heels. That raises your height.”

Who knew?