In a world of political unease, financial insecurity and environmental turmoil, the words “On your marks, get set, bake” bring a satisfying measure of calm back into our otherwise hectic lives. So, what is it then, about the phenomenally successful Great British Bake Off that has us all hooked, regardless of our age or gender?
For one hour every week for 10 weeks, The Great British Bake Off allows TV audiences the length and breadth of Britain to indulge in the luxury of sixty minutes of sheer escapism” . It’s friendly, warm and positive, much like a hot buttered crumpet. There are no material riches to be won; the only reward is the satisfaction of having baked a masterpiece.
The show is refreshingly apolitical, reassuringly traditional, and swear-free (although it’s jam-packed with good old-fashioned innuendo!). It’s great British entertainment at its best.
Better still, you don’t have to be a baking aficionado to watch; in fact, the programme has wide appeal across all levels of baking enthusiasm.
Quite simply, it’s real. The contestants aren’t following a script.
Last year’s GBBO final was watched by an average live audience of 7.5 million – add to the mix a generous dollop of online buzz, and its little wonder so many different brands jump on the GBBO bandwagon to raise their profile. And why not! Channel 4 has strict rules on using its intellectual property, but if you think creatively, there are chances for many brands to capture the theme and emotion of the programme to maximise sales and boost their profile.
To the rest of the world, The Great British Bake Off must seem like an enigma – how on earth has a programme about baking become so popular?
The concept is simple. Twelve bakers compete through a series of challenges designed to test their skills and creativity across all aspects of baking. Each episode has a different theme such as ‘pastry week’ and ‘bread week’, where bakers are set three challenges – a ‘signature bake’ a ‘technical challenge’ and a ‘showstopper challenge’. At the end of each episode, one contestant is named ‘Star Baker’ by the judges, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith – and if you get a Hollywood Handshake … well, that’s just the icing on the cake. Add into the mix a touch of comedy from show presenters Sandy Toksvig and Noel Fielding, and you have a veritable recipe for success.
The whole show symbolises everything that’s positive about Britain – our traditions, our multicultural community and our love for home baking It brings people from across the country together in a glorious celebration of spun sugar and, alas sometimes, ‘soggy bottoms’.
So put your feet up, grab a scone and a cup of tea (or a Pimm’s if you prefer) because Bake Off is nearly back… and just remember, true fans don’t stop watching just because it’s Vegan Week. 😉