Keep Your Mitts Off Bake Off!

So John won The Great British Bake Off. Huzzah for him! Personally, Brendan was the boss and should have won by a country mile. Did you see his final cake? That confection had me dribbling on the floor (mentally, obviously), but because he was older and very ‘traditional’ in his method, the judges did not let him be victorious (Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry: why wouldn’t you let him be great?!)

Anyway, Bake Off has now finished but it was marvellous. I’ve watched on & off for the past couple of years but really got into this series and still can’t get over the fact that the one black woman they had on this series was someone who couldn’t cook her cakes properly. She ‘baked’ a raw cake (How on earth do you cook a raw cake??). Anyway despite this, the entire series was just gorgeous- much like the blissful bakes created by the contestants.

It’s a throwback programme- who doesn’t love cake? There’s no negativity and everyone goes through on merit. There are no gimmicks, no phone votes, no deadlock and no bullshit. Just straightforward shenanigans- if you can bake, you’re through to the next round. It’s not a personality contest, just a nice chilled out programme. Also, Mel and Sue (the presenters) are not trying to be the centre of attention unlike some others I could mention. It’s not fashionable, it’s…normal.

The semi-final got 5.6m viewers. The final got 7.2 million– on BBC2 (not counting those who watched on iPlayer). Considering the first episode of Sherlock got 7.3m on BBC1 at 9pm those are absolutely fantastic ratings for a channel like BBC2 for something that I never thought would catch the imagination of the public in such a way.

But I am making a plea to the powers-that-be at the BBC: Please don’t move it to BBC1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’re not on analogue anymore- digital rules! BBC2 is the perfect channel for it. If people want to watch Bake Off they can turn over like the rest of us. Once something successful transfers onto BBC1, things get messy. The format gets tampered with and then people start complaining on forums and blogs before turning off for good.

Look what they did to Masterchef- it used to be a quaint little thing that got big through word of mouth, then it transferred to BBC1. Now admittedly, it did well for a while as they stayed true to the format. Then one year, they decided to go all ‘sob story’ on our backsides and everything turned…showbizzy. Yes, people cry and there’s no shame in that, but I don’t want to see media-friendly contestants and their lives and this and that. I want to see you COOK. And the fury of viewers was hilarious to see: the forums exploded with rage, usually along the lines of ‘How dare they fuck with the format!?!’ I sat there and watched one episode and walked out, asking, ‘What the hell have they done?’

When channels/producers/powers-that-be tamper with things, it turns iffy. Challenges become a bit more cruel, more stupid, more ‘let’s get higher ratings by doing the most random shit possible, yah?’ nonsense.

This is not a personality contest so don’t go auditioning for wannabe TV presenters and random idiots who don’t actually want to bake and don’t give a toss about baking and are on there to make ‘good TV’ because we can see right through you. Stay true to it and make it about the people who are passionate about baking and want to do well.

And please God, no celebrity versions! Some two-bob, non-descript celebs coming on there for extra publicity (‘cos remember folks, any publicity is good publicity) despite the fact that they cannot cook. Let them go on Celebrity Masterchef- Bake Off is a programme that should not be cheapened by Z-list celebrity format.

Ok, rant over.


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