fri 06/12/2019

The Great British Bake Off, Episode 7, Channel 4 review - bakers hampered by pointless celebrities | reviews, news & interviews

The Great British Bake Off, Episode 7, Channel 4 review - bakers hampered by pointless celebrities

The Great British Bake Off, Episode 7, Channel 4 review - bakers hampered by pointless celebrities

Too many guests spoil the TV broth

Bakin' it with Sandi Toksvig and Henry

What’s extraordinary about Bake Off is not just the staggering complexity of the cooking challenges, but the amount of technical shenanigans that go into turning it into a finished programme (actually, spoiler-averse Channel 4 had teasingly left the ending off my preview version of this week’s show, but you catch my drift).

Capturing the elaborate contortions of the bakers as they went about making things like Chocolate Kardemummabullar (with cardomom glaze and pearl sugar), Sicilian Cassatelle or Kek Lapis Sarawak layer cake (“imagine Battenberg with more layers”), never having seen or heard of either of them before, was tough enough for director and camera-persons. They needed an octopus’s agility and CSI-style inquisitiveness as they tried to keep up with Rosie’s rainbow-style creation with triangular patterns, or Alice’s cake-oid recreation of the firework display from her home town of Burnham-on-Crouch.

But having done all that, to then have to fit the judges and their sidekicks into the narrative was a feat of split-second, or perhaps hair-splitting, editing. It was so artfully done that you could almost not notice that Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding are almost entirely superfluous. Little flashes of them wearing silly masks or novelty wigs, or Fielding making creepy jokes about Paul Hollywood’s famous “handshake” to contestant Steph, could only have been included due to contractual obligations. From time to time Toksvig would make an announcement in an aren’t-I-amusing? voice, but why not just let Hollywood or co-judge Prue Leith do it?

The possibly accidental consequence of all this was that it made you appreciate the unforced charm, and indeed wit, of the contestants, who maintained a remarkable degree of sang-froid while carrying out their highly pressurised tasks. Rosie is endearingly self-deprecating, Alice is pragmatic and optimistic, David cheerfully embraces chaos, and Henry even dared to tell Hollywood to “shut up”. Good on ‘em.

You could almost not notice that Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding are almost entirely superfluous

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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