Canapés, a Charlotte Royale and an Opera torte. It was all things French on Tuesday’s The Great British Bake Off semi-final. Devastatingly it was everyone’s favourite funny Welsh baker, Beca, whose choux pastry gave her the boot off the show. Which means Ruby, Kimberly and Frances will battle for Britain’s most esteemed amateur baking accolade in next Tuesday’s highly anticipated final.
The Bake Off has established that we are now a nation of baking fanatics. Us Brits can’t seem to get enough of it. The proof was in the pudding yesterday when it was announced that The Great British Bake Off’s winning formula will be transported from BBC Two to its counterpart channel BBC One for next year’s series, in the hope to “bring the show to an even broader audience”, as BBC One’s controller Charlotte Monroe stated.
With an average 7 million of us tuning in every Tuesday to see whose baking will rise to the occasion, this series of Bake Off has been the most popular and successful of all the previous three series. The only way is up for The Great British Bake Off, but why has a show about baking become so popular?
Bake Off proves its success in the light-hearted humour it exudes. The presenters,Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, litter the programme with cheesy one-liners. Their relaxed comedy is relatable to a wide audience, as their jokes can be understood by people of all ages. The jokes are silly and cringe-worthy but instead of them being awkward and embarrassingly so, they encourage the viewers to roll their eyes and laugh along with them. Bake Off understands itself to be a relaxed and upbeat sixty minutes of viewing; it does not over dramatise, so does not lose the authenticity of the home-baker contestants.
The contestants are understood, not through their life story, but through their progression in the competition and personified through what they bake. Ruby’s opera torte disaster from last night’s episode was cleverly edited into a sequence of a shot of her sunken cake, her chocolate stained apron and then the worried expression on her face. The viewer is encouraged to judge her on what she bakes and understand her personality through that.
Judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, provide a critical eye over proceedings. Two opposites, Mary Berry barely criticises a bake and prefers the “compliment but do better next time” approach whereas Paul Hollywood prefers to be brutally honest labelling Ruby’s blind bake this week as “obviously in last place”. Hollywood’s sometimes harsh and bordering on rude criticism seems out of place in the baking tent, where a light-hearted atmosphere prevails between the presenters and contestants. Although you could argue his sombre blue-eyed glare brings a much needed stern attitude to the programme.
With a spoonful of puns and a handful of baked goods that have inspired Britain to “get baking”, The Great British Bake Off’s popularity is only set to grow, especially with its move to BBC One next year. Just as long as the format of the programme stays the same and doesn’t differ too much, audiences are expected to come back in their millions each week. Next week’s final will surely be the most successful and highly anticipated episode yet.
My predictions for next week’s finale…
Team Ruby! She’s achieved the Star Baker accolade three times, more than Kimberly and Frances. She is also the most consistent baker, albeit a few slip ups, however, the only thing that stands in her way is her lack of confidence and pessimistic attitude, which can be a source of annoyance for some people.