You have no reason to watch Brooklyn Beckham’s new cooking show, Cookin’ with Brooklyn. First, you probably care very little about Brooklyn Beckham. Second, it airs on a platform that can be accessed only through Facebook’s instant-messaging service, which in terms of prestige makes it roughly equivalent to a GIF of a cat in a toilet. But, also, it’s deeply uncomfortable to watch. Cookin’ with Brooklyn is a documentary about a man wildly out of his depth.
Brooklyn is the oldest son of David and Victoria Beckham. And, to put it politely, he isn’t a chef. In one episode, he decides to invent a fish-and-chips bagel to impress a tattoo artist. He does this by visiting a food truck and then passively watching while the owner makes the bagel for him. Aside from the bit at the end where he dollops on, objectively, too much coleslaw, he genuinely may as well not be there. Each episode reportedly cost $100,000 to make, which does seem rather excessive for eight minutes of a guy standing next to someone making a sandwich.
And yet, in essence, Cookin’ with Brooklyn is a perfect example of the Beckhams’ current predicament. You know about their glory years. One of the world’s most in-demand footballers married a Spice Girl and in the process created a seemingly irrevocable license to make money. A GQ article from 2017 put the combined wealth of Brand Beckham at $660 million, making them $167 million richer than the Queen.
But David and Victoria made their fortunes in jobs—professional sports and pop stardom—that traditionally favor youth. The further away they get from that, the wobblier their ongoing success looks.
Cookin’ with Brooklyn is a documentary about a man wildly out of his depth.
For a while now, David has been trying to emulate a Michael Jordan–style second act, by focusing on endorsements and investments—but without any of Jordan’s panache or success. His cannabis skin-care line, Cellular Goods, has encountered teething trouble and registered a $4.5 million loss in the 12 months ending in August 2021. And just this month, according to the Daily Mail, he relinquished control of the Walmer Castle, a Notting Hill pub that he and Guy Ritchie paid $4 million for in 2018. Perhaps this explains why he’s so eager to roll his business up. This week, David signed a deal with the Authentic Brands conglomerate, thought to be worth about $269 million, for a 55 percent stake in his company.
Then there is his sporting career. Since he joined L.A. Galaxy, in 2007, David has manfully attempted to raise the profile of American soccer. Post-retirement, he has allegedly spent upward of $15 million trying to transform his Major League Soccer team, Inter Miami, into world sport’s next big thing.
On paper the logic looks sound, since David stands to recoup his money several times over, if he succeeds. But that’s a big if. A string of dismal results saw Inter Miami end its last season in 11th place (out of 14 teams). The players might turn it around, but Inter Miami will have to battle accusations of nepotism and cronyism first. After all, not only has David installed his old Manchester United teammate Phil Neville as manager, but both Neville’s and David’s children have spots on the squad.
His cannabis skin-care line, Cellular Goods, has encountered teething trouble and registered a $4.5 million loss.
Incidentally, a third Beckham son, Cruz, has just announced a new career as a pop singer. As yet, his recorded output exclusively consists of “If Everyday Was Christmas,” a novelty festive single released when he was 11 years old.
But whatever losses David has incurred pale into insignificance next to those of his wife. Victoria’s fashion business has now failed to make a profit for six consecutive years. In 2020 alone it lost $11.2 million, which in anyone’s books is disastrous. However, it’s worth pointing out that the company lost $21.2 million the previous year, which makes 2020 look like an age of unbridled success. And now, according to the Daily Mail, that the company has lost $62 million overall, the future of the brand looks deeply uncertain.
To that end, thanks to all this financial uncertainty, the Beckhams have taken to accepting money from the dodgiest of sources. Last year, David signed a $200 million deal to become an ambassador to Qatar and the face of the 2022 Fifa World Cup there, a job roughly made up of equal parts schmoozing and steadfastly ignoring the country’s litany of human-rights abuses. It is also thought that this deal may have cost David the knighthood he so urgently craves in the most recent round of honors. Given that when he was passed over for the title, in 2017, he was caught calling the honors committee a “bunch of cunts” in a leaked e-mail, he probably shouldn’t spend too much time waiting by the phone.
But the Beckhams are no longer a one-generation deal. Thanks to their four kids, the family has become a dynasty. Soon the day will come where David and Victoria can sit back and watch their children emulate the wild successes of their youth. After all, there’s plenty of money in stilted, hard-to-find, impossibly expensive cooking shows presented by people who can’t actually cook, right?
Stuart Heritage is a Kent, U.K.–based Writer at Large for AIR MAIL and the author of Bedtime Stories for Worried Liberals