21 Aug

The Great British Bake-Off is brave in parts. It veers consciously away from at least some competition-genre staples – the candidates, for some bizarre reason, appear to have been chosen for personability, reliability and a general lack of character flaws and abrasiveness. No tears. The commentary is breezy but informative, the reaction shots and back stories brief, and the Mel & Sue hosting fun and a bit silly. The usual middle-class tropes abound; pastel shades, Union Jack bunting, Smeg fridges, dense Instagram colours. Well cosy.

This week: bread. People cook bready stuff, stuff gets judged, someone gets thrown out. The food appearing looks thoughtful and yummy. OK, it’s not the trickiest stuff: poor Cathryn thinks that trying to juggle one flatbread in the oven and one flatbread on the griddle is tricky. MC material she ain’t. The Terence Stamp-like Brendan, with his river-washed hot-rock oven techniques and his 106 grams of flour per portion fills the ‘bonkers’ quota on his own. The rest are a mix of amateur and ambition. You know the drill. Mostly pretty intense. Some haircuts. Pushovers, though. A well-known pair of other judges, shall we say, would have them for breakfast. Mmm, breakfast.

Luckily the judges here are dotty old Mary Berry and the ludicrously-named Paul Hollywood; a roly-poly Scouse fusion of Simon Callow and that well-trimmed bloke who started Paul Mitchell. I’ll give it to him, he looks like a professional baker, and he has a cheery but precise manner. It’s not nasty. The tough-test bagels bit at the end comes with a cheery, informative insert where they go to a proper old Jewish bakery. No one gets their bagels made even remotely right, apart from the Rick Moranis-alike James who supplies an I’m-over-the-moon reaction straight out of the reality book. These people clearly watch too much telly. Then the kicked out Peter gets a hug from the judges and the hosts. That wouldn’t happen on you-know-what.

Yes, I like a bit of pan-banging and cock-in-the-piping-nozzle macho bullshit as much as the next foodie-reality-genre fan, but there’s something great about the Cath Kidston alternative too.


One response to “DOUGH!

  1. Fanny

    August 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I missed the first episode but have got back into the swing of TGBB-O. It really is BRITISH isn’t it? A vicar’s wife, a student … The lovely charity boss, Victoria, is straight out of a BBC sitcom: “When the production crew called me I was out walking and nearly fell into the hedge I was so surprised – but I managed not to squash the bluebells and eventually found myself standing in the famous marquee, ready to compete in series three.”

    The contestants at home segments can be great fun also. The lad from the Shetlands, in his farmhouse wielding some rubber piping (he’s a fan of molecular gastronomy apparently) & Indie boy John randomly making a CROQUEMBOUCHE … like you do. There’s also the aforementioned Brendan, a delightful chap who’s half way through making bread from every country in the world!

    Mel & Sue are fabulous, as always & I’ve realised that Ms Berry must have a grand set of nashers – she’s always ripping into the bread with her teeth. The pace isn’t too hectic & the depiction of the long wait is great. There’s A LOT of sitting on the floor in front of the oven. You wouldn’t see that in MC.

    My big question is WILL THE SQUIRREL MAKE A RETURN??


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