Does Bake Off still rise to the occasion?

So, the long awaited and much debated return of Bake off launched with no major fallout. Considering the collective gasp of horror that eschewed following the news of its move to Channel 4, everything was pretty tickety-boo in the tent for show one. Paul Hollywood was even nicer than normal. Prue Leith was a solid side-kick, albeit missing Mary’s mischevious ‘twinkle’ in the eye. Sandi and Noel looked like they were not quite sure just how ‘Mel and Sue’ they were supposed to be, and played it with the trepidation of the new kids at school, with Noel winning the humour stakes with a few one-liners about bare bottoms. However, given their comic credentials I have no doubt they will BOTH be positively brilliant by the end of the run.

The baking itself was as show-stopping as the final challenge name suggests… (once the oven had been switched on -doh!) The bakers produced some jaw-dropping illusion cakes, and earned not one, but TWO handshakes from Paul (how is he going to top that one – chest bumps?) Special mention also goes to the casting which was great, and I think I’m already a little bit in love with Julia, Flo and Stephen. Whether anyone will fill Nadiya’s Bake Off boots remains to be seen. Candice was a worthy winner last time around, but Hussain’s natural charm makes her a firm TV favourite, with a host of cookery shows in her own right already.

The ad breaks proved a sticking point for many, although the Twitter crowd seemed to be using the extra time wisely (baking a cake, making tea, loo breaks). All good suggestions as to how to pass the unwanted interruptions, from which Channel 4 was profiting massively at a reported £150K+ per 30 second slot.

That aside, the show was as reassuringly familiar as pulling on your favourite pair of slippers. I’m glad the powers that be at Channel 4 didn’t feel the need to mess too much with the format Love Productions have carefully crafted. I for one, will be settling down with a cuppa in honour of ‘biscuit week’ – awaiting the disasters and double entendres - Oh crumbs!

 


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