AS Channel 5's The Hairy Bikers' Chocolate Challenge hits the small screen, after being secretly filmed in York, we catch up with Dave Myers about the new show. 

What was your relationship like with the contestants?

I think viewers can expect to be locked into the personalities of the contestants. We've got a great bunch, very diverse, but very creative. You couldn't have a favourite, we certainly cared for all of them.

It was very much a family vibe. I mean, Si and I are like that anyway. Certainly, in the morning, you have a cup of tea with the contributors, and of course first thing you do, while they're fitting themselves for the day, getting set up, we'd go around and say hello to everyone, and chat just as mates. That helps actually, when we have to do our bits talking to them while they're working, they know us personally, as friends, rather than an intimidating presence. It's a very warm series to work on, but there were also some tears as well. I think Ruth Hinks had a terrible job, because she was the one ultimately who'd wield the axe. And Ruth found it very hard, being the very warm, lovely person, she is too.

Why do you think it's so important that the product ends up on the shelves?

I think for an amateur chocolate maker it's the ultimate accolade; that your product is unleashed on the nation. I think the journey is really engaging and everyone in the country will be able to taste their packaged, winning bar! What a wonderful thing, to be able to take a box of your chocolate round to your friends. Who knows, it may even be the start of a new career?

What was it like being let loose behind the scenes of the factory?

It’s a bit like stepping into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There's tubs of Quality Street as high as a threestorey building, like a three-storey Quality Street sky scraper. And the wrapping machines: they can wrap 750 sweets a minute, which is faster than the eye can see! It smells like a chocolate factory too, it doesn't smell like an industry, it smells like how you'd want it to smell.

In the factory as well, they have a mock-up supermarket with everything from detergent to Cornflakes, and you can wheel your trolley to the chocolate aisle and see how a chocolate bar would sit amongst the competitors.

They literally go into the finest detail before it's marketed. And again, this is part of what our contestants had to do.

Tell us a bit about the show?

This is a wonderful series. I know I’m meant say that, but it's one of the most passionate series Si and I have ever done. It's also our first series for Channel 5, which we're very excited about.

The show is so much more than a cookery competition, because none of the contestants are professional chocolatiers. They're just keen cooks and bakers with an interest in chocolate. But it’s not just about winning the competition. The prize at the end of it is the chance to make a unique special-edition Kit Kat, which goes on national sale.

We also loved working with Ruth Hinks, who is our judge on the chocolate side. Ruth’s a world champion chocolatier, who also runs a chocolate factory: she knows everything about chocolate!

Above all it's a human story, about these seven people who are lovely. It’s a nostalgic comfortable programme. I’m really proud to be part of it, and I know Si is as well.

Another thing they use are these supertasters. Apparently 10% of the population are supertasters, meaning their taste is so advanced they can differentiate very minute differences in sweet and sour, and they'd test people to go on this panel. Si and I took the supertasters' test, which was very funny. We were in a room with red light, so you can't see colours, and had to judge these microscopic differences in taste and sweetness. It was really embarrassing because I was really, really bad at it. As Si says, I must have the pallet of a little un. He was a supertaster, and I think I’m going to have to wear this one for the next decade.

Why do you think as a nation we love chocolate so much?

I think chocolate is very democratic – there’s something for everybody. If you're watching your sugar you can still have a little bit of dark chocolate for a treat. If you're romancing somebody, a box of chocolates is still quite special, or a box of Milk Tray for your mum.

I think what this programme does that's fresh is that it brings chocolate into people's homes and lives. People love nostalgia: they love giving presents to people, they love creating. If you've got a microwave, a fridge, and a mould you might make some chocolates for your family too.

Everybody's got their own favourite chocolate too. I remember having a Milky Way as a little one, but my favourite was always the Caramac, which is a strange fudge looking chocolate. These were quite frugal bars. It’s what I love about Ruth: she's a world champion chocolatier, making the most incredible chocolate, but she's the first to say she'd have a bar of Wholenut on the motorway for a reward, or for a pick-me-up.

Did you ever worry that being surrounded by chocolate, might make you sick of it?

No, I didn't actually! One of the things about the contributor’s chocolate is how inventive it was. One of them came up with a pear and stilton chocolate! His logic was: pear goes with stilton, which it does, so he put it in chocolate, and to be honest, personally, I loved it! You couldn't get fed up of it, when there's all these new things around the corner there's always a surprise. Even with the crew, no one seemed to get fed up of it actually, they had to keep replacing the set.

Between you and Si, who would you say was the bigger chocoholic, who's got the sweeter tooth?

I'd have to say me really. I have to watch my sugar intake as well, so chocolate for me is a treat, but I think I'm more inclined to be the one. I love chocolate, when we were filming in America I'd be the one who'd have a bar of chocolate and a drink at the garage. Si's more of a sweet-eater, he's the one who has his panniers full of pick and mix.

Unfortunately, you guys aren't competing, but if you could put a new chocolate bar out on the shelves, or change an existing one, what sort of thing would you want out there?

You know, I still love a toffee crisp. If they did a salted caramel, dark chocolate, toffee Crisp for the 21st century I'd be fine with that. I think I'd want a dark chocolate bar, I love a bit of dark chocolate, but there don't seem to be too many filled dark chocolate bars... I think it'd have to come to salted caramel, which I love. I love peanuts, and I love rice, so maybe a cross between a Dark Chocolate Snickers, but with salted caramel and a toffee crisp.

So, you've got your rice, your peanuts, salt caramel, all in your dark chocolate, I think that'd be my ideal.