The Great British Baking Show
TV Series (August 2010 – present)
Judges: Mary Berry (2010–16), Paul Hollywood (2010–)
Directors: Andy Devonshire (2010–12, 2014–), Scott Tankard (2012–13)
Number of Seasons: Seven (7)
Hashtag: #gbbo #bakeoff
Follow the trials and tribulations of passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be named the U.K.’s best. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker, serve as judges.
Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts, crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
IMDB Rating: 8.6 out of 10 stars!
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: Audience average at 100%
As a reality show it’s really quite polite, in that it’s nothing like the vast reality shows we have here in the States. BBC has had The Great British Bake Off now for seven seasons, and I don’t see it slowing down just yet. In fact, it’s had two spin offs! One as a Junior Bake Off (which is really quite cute), and others along the lines of pottery, sewing and an extra slice.
Now the contestants don’t simply just bake, they do have a few different hurdles they will face the longer they play the game. First there’s the Signature Challenge; where the bakers show off their tried-and-tested recipes they might make for their friends and family. There’s also the Technical Challenge; This challenge requires enough technical knowledge and experience to produce a certain finished product when given only limited – or even minimal – instructions. The bakers are all given the same recipe and are not told beforehand what the challenge will be. The finished products are judged blind and ranked from worst to best. This is difficult especially when they aren’t told what degree to bake at or even for how long, so it’s a scary bit of blind baking. Lastly there’s the Showstopper Challenge where the bakers to show off their skills and talent. The judges look a bake that both look professional but also has outstanding taste.
I enjoy baking shows, and while I like to bake I’m not nearly at the level these home bakers are. Watching them is can often be fascinating, and judges are polite but respectful and direct, they mean what they say. Contestants have respect for each other as well and it’s a nice change of pace.