There’s been so much good telly recently, slobbing on the couch has never been so much fun. And a bit educational, in a literary sense, too. There was Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Ford Madox Ford’s novel Parade’s End (Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch magnificent, and the rest of the cast were superb as well). I also enjoyed two ITV productions, which isn’t something I expected to write; The Bletchley Circle (I love Anna Maxwell Martin), and their adaptation of a Daphne du Maurier novel, Scapegoat (starring a most excellent Matthew Rhys – who you’ll know as Kevin from Brothers and Sisters). And the Strictly matchmaking show followed by a three-week hiatus, which happens every year, and every year I forget and get cross. Then there’s the return of The Thick of It, which is warming up to be nicely evil.
But in all this loveliness, the beacon of televisual fabulousness every week is the fragrant and delectable Great British Bake Off.
There’s so much to love about it.
- Three cracking women – the beautifully-quiffed Sue Perkins, the wry, dry Mel Giedroyc and queen of tarts, Mary Berry
- That fine silver fox and ultimate king of the dough, Paul Hollywood
- The tent. I don’t know why it works so well, but it does, evoking cosy summer holidays stuck inside with your siblings in the rain, having to make your own entertainment. I love that the contestants are not dashing off in people carriers to here, there and everywhere like they do on MasterChef, which is exhausting. On the GBBO, they work hard, but you get the impression they’ve got time to stop for a cuppa along the way
- The whole set up is a bit Girl Guide – low-tech, non-shiny and, best of all, non-testosteroney. There are men involved but they are baking sorts. Nice chaps. It’s the opposite of anything that the very shouty Gordon Ramsey says or does. Whenever I see him on telly it’s like a tom cat waving its balls in your face. Not nice. Paul Hollywood would never do that, much as a fair few people I follow on Twitter might like him to
- The contestants. I like how we see their personalities come to the fore and develop over the weeks, how their relationships with each other change, how they support, but also assess and judge each other, how they develop interesting relationships with the judges and Sue and Mel. They are competitive, but it’s about ‘the bake’, it’s not personal
- The disasters, big and small. The slashed finger, the puddings dropped onto the shoe, the uncooked doughnuts
- The bakes. So much of what is cooked is excellent, it’s a joy for greedy people like me to watch, although you need something handy to eat whilst it’s on. My son was watching with me last night and going all daydreamy about Cornish saffron buns as big as his head
- Weird facts. I like learning about the massively highly prized confectioners having their own sweet kitchens in huge houses. Also, the wartime ‘Doughnut Dollys’ in the war who brought cheerfulness and sugary greasy delights to the boys in uniform. This they did in vans which they took to France, whose engines the Dollys were trained to mend themselves. That would be my perfect woman right there
So there you have it. I don’t have a favourite to win this year, it doesn’t really matter. I just don’t want it to end.
Posted by Inkface