The Great British Bake Off is back. The tent is pitched, the ingredients sorted, and Paul Hollywood has topped up his tan. Ready, steady baaaaake!
The new run is the twelfth season (the fifth on Channel 4) and it seems that no matter how much sugar and flour they chuck at us we’ll never get sick of it, as even after a decade on air the classic cooking competition is still regarded as one of telly’s best feel-good shows. But, we use the word competition loosely – this is more heaven’s pantry than Hell’s Kitchen, as bakers with extra time or ingredients scurry about the tent helping those with soggy bottoms and leaky crusts. But somehow, among all this very British loveliness, we do get a healthy slice of drama – the baked Alaska incident of 2014 being the most infamous, and the first episode of last season saw a fly causing chaos in the tent (and on Twitter). Last year Matt Lucas replaced Sandi Toksvig, and paired up with Noel Fielding to dish out more surreal silliness than your office Christmas jumper competition. Add in the good-cop-bad-cop combo of Paul Hollywood and a jazzy-necklaced Prue Leith, and you’ve got three eccentrics and a northerner. Rule Britannia.
The fact the show goes viral on Twitter consistently each week might be enough to persuade you to watch it, but if not, what about the fact it was Channel 4’s most viewed show in 35 years? Rebecca Nicholson in The Guardian says that’s because the series is more needed than ever. Plus, last year’s episode one show-stopper challenge was “one of the funniest [she has] seen in the history of Bake Off.” The Times’ Carol Midgely calls it “TV’s sweetest treat,” and rejoices at the addition of Lucas, saying he “brings surrealism and silliness.”
And of course the great thing about GBBO is that you don’t need to worry about dropping in halfway through the series – unlike a drama, it just doesn’t matter if you dip in and out. A bit like a biscuit in tea then.
First shown August 2010. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image.