With the coronavirus pandemic leading to the cancellation of many of our favourite shows, including The Apprentice and Love Island, Bake-Off fans were fearing the worst. But, much to our delight, The Great British Bake Off returned this year for its 11th series, and what a perfect remedy for the Autumn blues! Twelve avid, amateur bakers took to the famous Bake-Off tent to prove to the nation that they had what it takes to be crowned The Great British Bake-Off winner of 2020, following in the footsteps of some incredible bakers before them. But, who will take the crown this year?
What better way to kick off this year’s show than with Cake week! The bakers were challenged with some proper traditional bakes including the classic Battenberg, but we were all left gobsmacked after the calamity that occurred in the technical challenge. Two contestants, Sura and Dave, collided when presenting their Pineapple Upside down cakes for judging – let’s just say they didn’t all make it out alive! Dave’s cakes ended up flat out on the floor leaving the contestants and the Great British public gobsmacked. Luckily, no one was harmed in this incident (well, other than a few cakes!) and neither Sura nor Dave got sent home. Phew! In fact, Sura actually went and won that technical challenge!
All the contestants are very talented this year and in their socially distanced bubble, you can see that they all get along very well, but the show just wouldn’t be the same without the presenters keeping everyone on their toes. This year, comedian Matt Lucas replaced Sandi Toksvig and has been a great hit amongst fans. He kicked off the series with a very humorous impression of the Prime minister, Boris Johnson, behind a podium with the advice to ‘stay alert, protect cake, save loaves’, which was exactly the kind of light humour we all needed to lift our spirits! The Great British Bake off is proving to be the perfect way to escape the stresses of 2020 and brighten up everyone’s week. I mean, how else would we know what day it was now they’ve all blended into one?!
Now, what you all want to know is who got the first ‘Hollywood handshake’ (and yes, Hollywood handshakes are still allowed thank goodness!). It was in fact Lottie’s florentines that wowed Paul so much that he couldn’t resist dishing out his first handshake as early as week 2. Lottie was left absolutely speechless and joked that she would never wash her hand again, but I don’t think that would be the best idea in the current situation!
Peter, the youngest competitor this year, has also stunned Hollywood with his incredible baking knowledge, which he acquired most of from watching the show himself when he was younger. He often makes his bakes gluten free as he is used to making gluten free bakes for his brother at home, which is much harder. He wowed the judges so much in week one that he was awarded this year’s first ever ‘Star Baker’ and he well and truly deserved it. He is definitely one to watch this year! Linda is also one of my favourites this year. She is this year’s Bake-Off mum with such a contagious smile and free spirit. She left viewers in tears when she dedicated a cake to her daughter who sadly passed away and you can tell that she just truly loves baking.
However, not all fans have been so supportive with this year’s series. Hollywood has been the subject of great controversy amongst viewers this year with his tricky technical, making rainbow bagels. His comments about how these bagels represented the NHS sparked backlash from the LGBTQ+ community, as he didn’t mention the origins of the rainbow colours reflecting their progress to become less marginalised. Activists believe that the association of the rainbow with the NHS during the pandemic is erasing all the hard work that they’ve done, and they are disappointed with Hollywood’s insensitivity.
I can’t believe we’ve already had four weeks of baking joy and I cannot wait to see what Pastry week has in store for us this Tuesday.
Header image credit: The Sun