The Great British Love Affair

If you follow me on twitter, @frandobagel, you’ll know one thing- I love tweeting about The Great British Bake Off, and I also like baking! The last time I blogged about the wondrous TV phenomenon was roughly a year ago, as the changes in the TV Licensing system in the UK meant that I was no longer able to legally watch it. Click here to read the full blog!

My blog "The Great British Love Affair" is my honest thoughts of the new Great British Bake Off

Like fine wine and cheese!

I wouldn’t have put Noel and Sandi together. Not because I don’t think they’re watchable, I think they are both eminently enjoyable. Sandi’s stint on Radio 4’s The News Quiz was one of my favourites, and people of my generation adore Noel from his Boosh days and his appearances in The IT Crowd. It’s just, to my knowledge, they never had worked before. They come from, in my eyes, two very different comedy stances.

Which means when they work so well together on screen a bit of a surprise. Now I’m used to seeing them there; doing the introduction gambit, finding silly ways of counting down the time, and making soothing noises for the contestants it’s not so jarring.

Of course, they’re not Mel and Sue. Mel and Sue have been friends for nearly as long as I’ve been alive, the comedy double act can only come naturally in that setting. It’s almost as if you’re wondering why your new Doc Martens make your feet sore, when your old ones are like wearing clouds.

How about we give Noel and Sandi a break.

Excerpt reads "It doesn't entertain me, it saddens me to see the contestants flail."

Pure pedigree

Prue is settling in nicely, and reigning in Paul as well as I had hoped. I must admit my annoyance in this area is again the public reception of her getting the role. Pru has done a similar amount of British culinary development as Mary in many ways. One of the main reasons why she is not as recognisable is purely as she has not had a programme to herself, whereas Mary has had a selection in the past.

Not to say that Prue hasn’t been on the TV, but she has played the role of judge on a variety of shows- like the Great British Menu. She maybe more recognisable with her full name; Prue Leith- yeah as in Leiths School of Food & Wine which she founded to better chefs in the UK. So to those who say she doesn’t have the chops to step into Mary’s shoes- I dare them to find someone better than Prue.

The lineup isn’t the only thing that changed, but at least it was done well…

Excerpt reads "How about we give Noel and Sandi a break."

Sticky mess

The technicals are verging on the cruel and twisted. Take Bread Week’s fortune cookies, and Caramel Week’s stroopwafel- they’re horrid. It felt like they were setting the contents up to fail- not to challenge them. I can only guess about how frustrating it is to be in the tent trying to do it

When the show was on the Beeb there was a level of difficulty to the technical bake- but it was based off the bakers technical knowledge. Not “let’s pick something no one has heard of, and is pretty complicated even if you do know”. It was based off the principals that a baker would have learnt certain basic things like; a basic bread dough 500g flour/300mls water/7g activated yeast(yep that was no peeking), how to laminate flaky pastry or the best way to make a glaze.

It doesn’t entertain me, it saddens me to see the contestants flail. Last year you yearned and begged them to do it right, now I just feel sorry for them. My favourite, Liam and Yann, have had their fair share of “have they got the idea? I’m not sure- I don’t think I know and I’ve just had the judges explain it…”.

This just isn’t fun.

Of course when you’re nearing your 100th episode, thanks Wiki, it does get a little harder to pick a technical. You don’t want to use something you’ve done before fair enough. But balancing difficulty with the notoriety of a recipe is surely something they think of? That there is the off chance that they may have glanced at the full recipe once upon a time.

I’m just worried we’re going to have more technical bakes like Caramel Week, and the disheartened bakers that came along with it.

Is it worth a Paul handshake?


Probably not this series.

I’m sorry to say that there’s a third of the formulae that didn’t translate well when moving from the BBC to Channel 4. The technical bake is sucking out all the soul and love that the wonderful contestants, presenters and judges are trying to create. Obviously, it’s too late for anything to happen now. If Channel 4 expect the masses to continue flocking it better be taking note: technical, not maniacal.

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