Normally, Bake Off is lovely, cutesy, relaxing viewing - just a very easy thing to plonk yourself in front of and enjoy. It’s never too tense or disturbing, and the peril is of a mild variety - it’s enjoyable, basically.
But hoo boy, is Bake Off: The Professionals a different kettle of dough. Like, this is tension ramped up to another level, the stakes are so high they’ve left the planet. It’s like Cape Fear in that kitchen.
And it reached fever pitch in this week’s episode when Hideko and Theo’s world came crashing down in front of their eyes. They’d made an extremely intricate sugar sculpture - complete with heart, bird and swirling ribbon - that had taken three hours of work to complete, and then, well, this happened:
This is great. Real great, this. Seeing things that are very complicated and have taken hours to make, smashing, is one of life’s greatest pleasures - it is satisfying to the nth degree. It is the reason that, as a child, I used to spend hours creating extremely intricate LEGO models only to throw them down the stairs so that they were immediately destroyed. Cathartic to another level, it is.
And this sugar sculpture is far more impressive and involved than a LEGO spaceship - a hell of a lot more is on the line here, careers, livelihoods, all reduced to rubble in a single second. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. To watch, that is - as an innocent, separate party, because actually being involved in the smash would have been hellfire. I feel for them, I really do.
But then I just click on the play button again, and their pain transforms into my pleasure. It’s the circle of life. SMASHY SMASHY SMASH CRASH.
(Image: Channel 4)