The Great British Bake Off is only the latest offering amongst a plethora of challenging, and public orientated programmes that pit contestants against each other for the coveted title of, “whatever of the year”.
OK get over it, this time next week it will be “who won it and from where” and, yes, next year’s production is probably already being organised, judges have already been contracted and the initial screening of possible hopefuls will start soon after Christmas.
There are of course the “just sit and watch” type of show for example, Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard, Baking Made Easy with Lorraine Pascale or even Kirstie Allsop in Kirstie’s Handmade Britain - and please don’t forget the Hairy Bikers, but first you have to understand them, deciphering Geordie can be a bit of a task.
I don’t really want to do any of them discredit, as they all have their place, (for me they would all be on the cutting room floor), we have to remember however, they are made for television and the television viewing public at large.
They are certainly not designed for you to jump up and immediately create a mouth-watering creation which has taken all day to make under studio conditions.
We have to remind ourselves that the contestants are there on their own accord, they’re not being paid! There are no sets, no actors, and just the bare minimum, which means they are cheap to make and that’s why there are so many of them.
However, they do highlight and give our profession a stage to work on – and getting it in the public eye, week after week, in some guise or another, can’t be a bad thing and given the right opportunities should be promoted, to give our trade a higher professional standing than it currently enjoys.
Why can’t we get some real bakers, the people that actually do it for a living, involved in these programmes? Let them do some judging, get their names highlighted, so that their business gets some kudos instead of the journalists becoming more well-known, which in turn helps them sell even more books.
For example John Slattery from Whitefield, Gary Reeve from Salisbury or Liz Davidson from Stockport are all on top of their game and bake day-after-day, and use all their skill and tenacity to still be there this time next year.
I appreciate that I come across somewhat less than enthusiastic about reality television or maybe the more modern contestant show such as The Great British Bake Off. But I cannot abide the total melodrama as strangers pitting themselves against each other, being critiqued for sensationalism by celebrities to attract viewers.