K E Y P O I N T S
- Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding return for the second series of ‘Great British Bake Off’ since its departure from the BBC.
- Among the 12 excellent new bakers getting started in the tent are a mental health worker, retired artist, techno DJ and a nuclear engineer.
- The challenges, although still tricky, are less complex this series, after Paul listened to feedback about the increasing difficulty of tasks which had made them unrealistic for the general public to try at home.
- The producers hadn’t forgot about Prue accidentally leaking last year’s winner, with Sandi and Noel opening the episode with a ‘Back To The Future’ skit where they try to stop the judge from leaking this year’s winner.
- The first technical challenge of the season had the bakers having a stab at Wagon Wheels, which turned out to be devilishly tricky to make.
- The first showstopper challenge was one of the hardest ever, and tasked the bakers with preparing a multilayered “biscuit selfie” depicting themselves and one of their favourite memories.
S N A P V E R D I C T
The second series of ‘Bake Off’ on Channel 4 has as much riding on it as the last. Keen to capitalise on the huge numbers the last season brought to the channel, this year’s ‘Bake Off’ is bringing in several (small) changes to keep the show fresh, so we’ll be treated to a Vegan Week and more user-friendly challenges that viewers can attempt at home
The first episode kicked off with a gag about preventing Prue from leaking this years ‘Bake Off’ winner, in reference to her now-infamous gaffe last year. The comedy sketch, starring hosts Noel and Sandi, was the perfect way to address the incident, that would have otherwise been a bit of an elephant in the room.
Prue, keen to leave the scandal behind, has upped her game this series and is obviously more comfortable handing out critiques. This relieved some of the pressure on Paul to carry the programme’s authoritative voice.
Biscuit Week’s first task saw the bakers attempting to make 24 crunchy treats related to where they grew up. French native Manon and Bristol resident Briony excelled in the first round, and kept up the momentum throughout the rest of the episode. However, the star of the challenge was grandmother Karen, who finished with enough time to spare to whip out a lunch box and have a snack, while everyone else dashed around trying to add the final touches.
One of the bakers who struggled to finish was Terry, who only managed to finish two of his biscuits, featuring artistically-crafted chocolate lambs. The stress was all too much for him (and us), and he needed comforting with tears in his eyes as the final bell rang.
The first Technical Challenge of the series was an inspired choice, and saw the bakers attempting to create Wagon Wheels, the staple of British school kids’ lunchboxes, which might sound simple, but turned out to be complicated - and messy - for all involved. The challenge was even harder for Manon who’d never heard of a Wagon Wheel before, and adorably called them ‘Wheely Wagons’.
On the second day, the Showstopper Challenge was one of the toughest ever seen on the show. Each baker was asked to create a “biscuit selfie” depicting themselves and one their favourite memories on a multilayered canvas that needed to stand upright when presented.
Thankfully, the powers that be have wisely chosen not to tinker too much with the format: the tent, the tension, the japes and yes, the innuendo, are still very much present and correct.
O N E T O W A T C H
Karen, she grabbed our hearts in the first episode reaching for her lunch box, but what sealed her place as our favourite is her style, which she describes as a cross between Su Pollard and Dame Edna.
T A K E H O M E M E S S A G E
Not much has changed with the latest series of ‘Bake Off’, but that was definitely the right decision as Prue, Sandi and Noel all settle in and make their roles their own. Combined with inspired challenge choices and a delightful mix mix of humour and frustration, the show is as great as ever.