I used to loudly proclaim my disdain for The Great British Bake Off – “Why would anyone want to watch people bake?” I would squawk. “What is this? The stone age? Only cavemen bake cakes.”
All this malice and more was directed at friends, colleagues and people on the bus, until I actually watched one. Then, I don’t know, I guess I quite liked it. It was mainly Val that did it, but still, I understood what the fuss was about – turns out that baking could actually be quite exciting.
Of course, I didn’t form the type of obsession that would make me even give a modicum of a shit if it moved channels or changed presenters, so the news it was going to Channel 4 and being fronted by Noel Fielding didn’t affect my life in the slightest. “I’ll probably still watch another episode in the future,” I said, the person next to me on the bus getting up to move.
But I admit that I’m the anomaly here, because to most of the country, Bake Off is a massive deal. Like, a really massive deal. Life or death kind of stuff.
One thing I did like about the BBC version of the show, was the innuendo. You know, where Mary Berry would say things like “Oooh, that’s a soggy bottom,” or “Nice pair of buns you’ve got there,” or “Coooweeee that looks like a big fat penis!”
So, today’s revelation that the cool, edgy, hat-wearing version of the show will be dropping the innuendo in favour of a “modern” style of comedy irked me a bit. If you can’t have an old woman talking about her baps on prime time TV, then what’s the point at all?
However, Channel 4’s chief creative officer Jay Hunt has said she’s “quietly confident” about the whole thing:
“I have seen the first episode and the first thing you think is that this is Bake Off with an extraordinarily high calibre of contributors but with a slight Channel 4 feel to it.
“It’s got a new tone to it; it’s got a new comic riff to it and I think that feels modern and future-facing. So it’s a show that a lot of people love but with a slight Channel 4 spin which is exactly what I hoped it would be.”
I don’t know what that means, maybe it means that all the contestants will be naked, or Paul Hollywood will offer to give guest judge Shaun Ryder his shoes if he doesn’t swear, or, I don’t know, Zig and Zag will be on it.
Rumours have already circulated about how the judges and presenters haven’t been getting on so well, but Hunt is laughing in the face of the lies:
“I was down in the tent a few weeks ago, pretty much the whole day. Chemistry is hard to achieve in television, and there was natural warmth and they worked really well together.”
Sounds suspect, you know. Noel Fielding saying “Paul, your beard smells of the horizon” doesn’t necessarily equal “natural warmth” in my eyes.
Still, one thing that’s for sure is that there will be baking on it. Cakes will be eaten. And if we all cross our fingers hard enough, Val will return (she won’t).
(Image: Channel 4)