STEALING A TV SHOW… PIECE OF CAKE

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In the absence of any live tweets (find us at @movetotrashuk, just in case we do it next week), here are some musings from last night’s Channel 4 premier of The Great British Bake Off; a television competition about making fairy cakes that caused almost as many headlines as President Trump when it switched channels earlier this year.

With only one original member of the team (front-of-house at least), all eyes were on the channel that brought us Brookie and Big Brother… Which is good, because viewers are exactly why they bought the show and is how their business works. I should point out that aside from a handful of mid-series episodes when I was at someone else’s house, and a Comic or Sport Relief special, I’ve not watched the show from the off. So without further a do:

On your marks, get set… Read.

  • The show starts with Noel Fielding wearing a top hat inside a hot air balloon. This is definitely a different sort of bake off.
  • During the opening segment Prue Leith does not appear to be a natural actress. Then again, there’s only one Oscar winner out of Mary and Halle Berry (no relation).
  • The first baker on screen is a Scouse Grandma. We’re not in Kansas anymore.
  • A different baker says “I can’t tell you how many cakes I’ve thrown away”, which sounds like a Dispatches programme on food waste.
  • They use the same credits, to the T. Which seems a bit lazy but is probably looking after those who “don’t like change”. Anyone hoping for a techno theme song and the Big Brother narrator stepping in is going to be bitterly disappointed.
  • Noel Fielding has never sounded calmer than when he’s narrating. But also this week he dressed as Vlad The Impaler and joined Kasabian on stage at Leeds Reading festival, so he’s not completely forgotten his roots.
  • If Mary Berry‘s your grandma, Prue Leith is her zanier sister who’s the kind of posh person that gets pissed and swears loads, and spends too much on weird presents at Christmas.
  • Noel Fielding asks “how do you squeeze the moisture out of a courgette?” which could also have been a question he came up with in The Mighty Boosh or Never Mind The Buzzcocks.
  • There’s a biomedical scientist who thought she’d put the oven on but hadn’t.
  • There’s a lady who does health and safety AND amateur blacksmithery (it is a word, I checked it). Those things shouldn’t go together.
  • A man is making a bonfire cake – the programme’s on in August so was probably filmed over Summer. This is the equivalent of seeing Elf showing on itv2 in March. It’s odd.
  • Noel Fielding makes the bong sound. He should have asked that little girl who wants to replace Big Ben to do it.
  • There’s an advert break. I’m informed that this is very weird.
  • Post-break, Noel’s jokes start to flow like the moisture from a courgette. (He eats a marigold and says it tastes like a clown’s nose.)
  • Paul Hollywood gives someone a handshake. I’m informed this is important. I bet the BBC wish they’d given him a golden one.
  • A lady says “I’ve never made a mini roll in my life, why would I?” – and she has a good point. They’re about 12 for 99p in Spar.
  • The bakers are told that their mini rolls can have an exposed bottom, and Noel makes a joke about taking his trousers down that probably would have been cut from the Beeb. Also, it makes up for his bad “bowled over” joke with Sandi.
  • The mini rolls are presented and look like some sort of gradient chart from “Mini Roll” to “White Dog Poo”.
  • The first show stopper is bigger than usual, as this first showstopper of an episode has to be: They have to make an “illusion” cake, which is something that doesn’t look like a cake. (Someone already did it in the previous round by presenting a cake that looks like 1990s dog muck.)
  • For the name alone, Banana Ramen is the winner for me.
  • Noel “shouts” for them to stop baking, but his loud voice is softer than his normal voice, which is very Noel Fielding.
  • A man tries to fix the knife he’s made from melted Fox’s glacier mints with seconds to spare, while Noel makes gags behind his back. If I was the baker under that amount of pressure I’d have stabbed him with the shards.
  • There’s a montage where people are massaging icing over what look like various body shapes (including the buttocks) before a chocolate covered Champagne bottle neck, complete with cork, indicates that there was probably a happy ending.
  • “Not another advert break?! I don’t like it.”
  • The lovely Scouse Grandma’s watermelon cake has so much red food coloring in it that those watching in HD can probably see beetle wings flapping about. (An article here about how red food coloring’s made if you don’t get that one.)
  • A cake full of “ice cubes” is described as dry.
  • Prue invites herself over to a young man’s house for breakfast, before mentioning that she’s had too much banana, and how a mouthful is lovely, all during the same “illusion”.
  • Next week’s theme is announced (biscuits), and after Steven Carter-Bailey‘s tears at Paul’s handshake let’s hope there’s nothing soggy.

And there we have it. I walked past the Channel 4 offices earlier this week and saw the bunting up, but after this I’m pretty confident they can fly the flag. So what could be the next big move to rock the country? Antiques Roadshow on Channel 5? Jeremy Kyle on BBC Parliament? Loose Women on Babe Station? Definitely not that one, please.

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