By Carmela Caserta
The Great British Bake Off takes off in more ways than one and we don’t quite know what to do. Attracting viewers in the millions on both BBC1 and America’s PBS and Netflix, the charm of Bake Off is a globally appealing one and talk of a move to Channel 4 without so much as all of its original personalities, leaves us weak enough to be beaten down with a feather.
So what’s the appeal? The drama of baking catastrophes is exaggerated over miniscule tragedies in the tent, and we love it. There’s something so light-hearted about the challenges and subsequent successes or failures the contestants face, in that they help each other when the going gets rough and congratulate one another when triumph knocks.
Those who place last in technical timed challenges laugh off their worries, with confidence they will do better in the next one; star bakers take victory with humble attitudes and know not to take the confidence that comes with it for granted.
Mel and Sue hang over shoulders of bakers handing out innuendos and puns that remind us of the show’s kind nature: failures in the challenges aren’t used to condemn or crucify contenders. And this is what makes it so magical. Shows like Masterchef and similar American series’ are cutthroat; competitive; and often irrelevant. Focus turns to drama between contestants rather than GBBO’s concern with the art of baking, recipes and the science behind perfecting said recipes.
The ability to retain an air of soft entertainment whilst actually being informative and inspiring is something the show does well. There is positivity in the fact that you need not be a professional to recreate these bakes yourself proven first-hand by the very contestants that take part being just like you and me – separated only by practice, passion and an application form.
That’s exactly how it is supposed to feel, considering creator Anna Beattie based Bake Off on the idea of village fetes and bake sales, and the fact bakers pay for all their own ingredients until they get to the final stages.
GBBO seems modest in comparison to others and whilst other shows obviously have different motives, I for one would choose it over others any day. That’s exactly how it is supposed to feel, considering creator Anna Beattie based Bake Off on the idea of village fetes and bake sales, and the fact bakers pay for all their own ingredients until they get to the final stages.
Rather than Paul, Mary, Mel and Sue, the move brings with it the annoyance of adverts, something we pay specifically to avoid on Channels like BBC1. Channel 4 is the Cosmopolitan of tv channels and it seems strange to have the innocent and timeless Bake Off airing on the same channel that once heralded Big Brother and all of its antics.
Consequently then, the format of the show will be subject to change surely? With only one of the original presenters/ judges present the dynamic will be different. The show will need to fit the dynamic of C4 and while this is a great one in its own right, it is unsuitable for a show like GBBO, if it is to keep it’s sense of originality.
Yes, it brings a younger audience, – this is something the show was attracting on BBC1 anyway with 5 million viewers under 34 – so it is possible we are underestimating future success. But let’s face it: we don’t like change, we don’t want change, especially when we categorise something as being fine the way it is. We like comfort, familiarity and since GBBO hasn’t changed since it’s beginnings, it is only natural we want to leave it as is.
The deciding factor though, was money. BBC1 offered show creators £15million to keep the beloved tent and its counterparts; this was 10million less than they actually wanted. A rival show on BBC1 featuring all the original clan except Paul Hollywood is being planned, with hoped to air this as soon as 2017. Thus said show would be broadcast before that of the C4 alternative as the BBC could tie the Bake Off format into a contract until 2018. Essentially then C4 have forked out £75million for a tent and one judge, and it’s definitely not the right one.
Like Mel and Sue I will not be ‘going with the dough’. Like Mary Berry I’ll bid a saddened ‘farewell to soggy bottoms’. But know this. I for one will be tuning in to the new BBC1 show whenever it happens to air. I for one will not be following Paul Hollywood to a pathetic remake of Bake Off which could feature Nigella Lawson as the Queen of baking’s substitute. When the dust of the icing settles and another one bites it, I’ll stand by those original members of Bake Off who refused to stop standing by us.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);