And so, it is that time of year again where the nights have begun to draw in and the prospect of going out after an intense two weeks of freshers fun is completely repulsive. So what better way to detox by gathering round the television and enjoying the final stages of this year’s Great British Bake Off! This year’s series has of course been highly debated after the controversial decision to move to Channel 4, ousting Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and bringing in a fresh faced presenting team after a previous seven series. The risk has certainly seemed to pay off, with the seamless transition attracting twelve million viewers in its first episode, very nearly beating the 13.8 million viewers that ‘A Woman of Substance’ drew in 1985, and becoming the most watched programme in the channel’s history.
As we approach the quarter final tonight, we as viewers really get to know the last remaining amateur bakers and this year’s series has provided us with a diverse range of characters, entertaining us through their successes and frequent mishaps. Steven stands out as the baker to beat, after becoming star baker once again after a few weeks of lost form. However, forever cool and collected Sophie’s quietly unassuming style places her as a secret underdog, nipping timorously at Steven’s heels. As the youngest contestant, Liam continues to impress viewers with the level of skill he’s acquired in only 20 years, considering the average student our age probably couldn’t spell sfogliatelle, yet alone know where to start in making them. It is hard to not to feel sympathetic for Stacey and Kate, who both struggled in Italian week, with Kate even ramping up the drama by managing to slice open her finger on the fan of her oven. Note: Liam sadly left the tent last week on Wednesday.
As for the presenting team, Noel and Sandi add a quirky, quick wit but there is a sense they do not quite feel at home yet in the tent, after the level of success the pair before them had experienced. For what Noel and Sandi lack in the dynamic relationship that Mel and Sue shared, their comedy comes through in their sharp one-liners and the comedic height difference between them. As for the substitution of Prue Leith for Mary Berry, she seems initially a more stern critic than her predecessor and yet, I sense that, much like the bakers’ canoli, she has a soft, runny, gooey centre. It is additionally enjoyable to see that she has chosen to carry on the tradition of brightly coloured clothing choices, following Mary’s selection of infamous block coloured blazers. And so, as the competition draws to a close, we shall all be watching intently to see who secures the title of 2017’s GBBO winner, eyes glued to our screens as intensely as Noel’s kooky stare or Paul’s at once blood-curdling yet alluring bright blue oceanic gaze.
Image Credit: Channel 4