Why Bake Off Won’t be Missed
The Great British Bake has run for 11 seasons, with this year being the eleventh and if I had my way, last. It is a British institution that for me, has lost its way.
Now, this is not to say that this whole article will be about channel four and how it ruined Bake Off, as that would be a lie. My argument is that the Bake Off needs a rest. We are tired of the format and need a break for a few years, at least I do. The latest crop of contestants barely keeping me awake with each viewing.
Is it the Contestants?
This was my initial thought as this year the contestants seemed about as interesting as a visit to the dentist. There were bright spots in Lottie and Rowan, alongside the Irish man, but all too quickly they vanished from the screen, to be overtaken by characters so dull, the show continually struggled to hold my attention.
The heart of the show is the contestants and with a batch so flat, it did little to confirm the faith that the British public has placed in this programme.
I imagine that for this year’s crop of contestants, there was a great deal of drop out. The pandemic will have put people off, not enabled them to be a part of as they were shielding and the need to stay with the show for weeks would have prevented people from signing up.
With all of this in mind, it is not beyond the realms of possibility that producers were forced to delve into the lower tiers of applicants.
Is it the Presenters?
With the departure of Sandi, we were provided with Matt Lucas. Someone who I have found rather inconsistent over my lifetime. I disliked him for his role with Little Britain but applauded him for his season on Doctor Who.
I wanted to give him a chance and give him a chance I did.
It was a mistake as every week was a struggle.
He barely held my attention and had maybe one decent joke all season. It felt like he was Dad and the Bake Off is his child’s wedding. It was continually awkward and made me yearn for Sue and Mel.
Is it the Challenges?
That was an issue that was raised by fans last season. The challenges seemed more complicated than the Enigma Code.
Being an amateur baking show it seemed unfair to have challenges of this nature added, and watching last season, I couldn’t agree more. The charm of Bake Off always has been and always will be the articulation of the feeling of going for tea round your Nan’s, seeing all the classic bakes on show.
Since the show’s inception, it has evolved from this. Even though they rolled back the clock from last year, you still have ridiculous challenges such as those within the Japanese week. As much as I try, I cannot remember my Nan creating Japanese bakes.
Is it an Old Format?
After eleven seasons, a level of repetition is created. You know roughly what each segment will look like. You know the there will always be a technical, a showstopper and a signature bake. These are the backbone of bake-off but is it time that we saw something a little different?
I am not sure what they could do in this sense, but I have a feeling that anything would be better than nothing. The show is becoming a little stale. This is something that was fine in previous years, as you had the presenters and contestants to compensate for this.
With this year’s changes, we lost the presenters, as Noel and Matt are tiresome, and we lost the charm of the contestants. The loss of one could be compensated with the other, but with the loss of both, the show's flaws have been ripped open for all to see.
There is no Single Reason Why
It is the cumulative effect of years on screen, stale presenters, predictable formats, and contestants with less life than a set of cardboard cutouts.
It is a show that despite my misgivings, I still love. I saw it for the first time when it was released on Netflix and I was hooked. The presenters drew you in and you found yourself swept away by the stories of each contestant.
The move to channel 4 could have collapsed the house of cards, but it worked. It proved that it was not the station that mattered, it was the beating heart of what was inside that counted.
This year’s Bake Off was different due to the global pandemic and therefore changes needed to be made. For me, these reduced the effectiveness of a stale format. It ripped these doors open and showcased to the world what was wrong with the show.
It will be back next year and will be watched by me and my fiancée, but it is more through loyalty than the desire to watch at this moment in time.
A Final Thought
I will not miss the Bake Off. It is a concept that should be taken off screens for a few years, much like Doctor Who back in the day. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and this would be my hope with the Bake Off.
I do still love the show, I just think that this year showcased the problems with the format. The introduction of Matt and the arrival of androgenous contestants tested my patience. I was no longer drawn in as I once was. I was turned off and only watching through loyalty.
It has continued to inspire me to bake but really, deep down I never needed the show for this. I like the Bake Off, I just think that I would like it a whole lot more if it disappeared for a few years, give me chance to miss it.