The Great British Bake Off has well and truly stolen students’ hearts up and down the country. If you’re not swooning over Paul Hollywood, then you’re gazing excitedly at the tremendous food porn on offer, or howling at the witty comments that the contestants are just so good at making.
It’s a show unlike any other. Talking to The Guardian, Paul Hollywood describes how it all works, “So we’ve got this fat Scouser and we’ve got this posh lady from down south and we’ve got a couple of comedians that haven’t been on the TV for a while and we stick them in a tent with 12 bakers.”
It shouldn’t work. Especially among students. We want excitement, sassy contestants, something to laugh about. But while the show is, at its core, just a baking show, it’s everything we want. And more.
In 2014, GBBO’s ratings were beaten only by the England v Uruguay World Cup Match. It’s watched by everyone, from your gran to your housemate. Prince William, Robert Pattinson, and Tom Daley are all said to be fans too.
Why is it so popular?
The show, ultimately, displays the best in everyone. It celebrates real talent from all ages and walks of life and allows the personalities of the contestants shine through. There are no ‘hilariously crap’ people like you find on Xfactor and Britain’s Got Talent.
Best of all, there’s actually no prize at the end. No record contract, no prize money. Just the success of being the best baker. It’s just so real.
“We took a decision early on that the bakers, they don’t leave their job for four weeks to come and shoot this series. They stay in their real life and their jobs,” McKerrow told Business Insider. “We shoot it every weekend because we figured then we’d just be getting people who want to be on television, and we’re not interested in people who want to be on television. We’re interested in people who want to bake. So again, it’s about making it much more real.”
What’s more, is that you really do become attached to the bakers. Last year’s winner Nadiya became internet famous with her sassy comments and hilarious facial expressions. We loved her even more when she won and she told cameras “look at me, a Muslim in a headscarf, and wonder if I could bake”.
She then went on to say one of the most incredible things we’ve seen on TV. “I am never going to put boundaries on me ever again. I’m never going to say ‘I can’t do it’. I’m never going to say maybe. I’m never going to say ‘I don’t think I can’. I can. And I will.”
There are some brilliant innuendos
Mel and Sue are full of them, Paul Hollywood occasionally sneaks one in, and the bakers surprisingly crack them out (even when under pressure!). They’re generally terrible, like the stuff you get at a village pantomime but you see your gran howling at them, your housemate thinking they’re the funniest thing she’s heard all week, and you can’t help but crack a small smile at them.
Maybe it’s just our great British humour that finds it funny, even when they’re generally soo immature!
Escape life for an hour
You find yourself watching a thoroughly entertaining show, where the only worry is whether the Genoise sponge is moist enough. There’s no way you’ll be thinking about the stresses of university or the latest terrorism threat.
Buy yourself some chocolate digestives, make a cup of tea and put your feet up on Wednesday’s at 8pm. It’s the next best thing after going to the pub and waiting for it all to blow over.
Some of life’s most important debates arise
There’s just too many to mention. How moist should a Victoria Sponge be? How much alcohol would you put in your cakes? But most importantly, ‘How to eat a jaffa cake’ tops all the questions that have ever risen on GBBO, after Paul Hollywood dipped his in tea – dissertation title anyone?
ALSO THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU DO TO A JAFFACAKE PAUL DO NOT DUNK THE JAFFACAKE #GBBO
— absolute trash™ (@_urfaveflop) August 24, 2016
So yes, the Great British Bake Off is undeniably the best TV programme to grace our student eyes. It makes us British and it makes us proud.
By Holly Smith