This review contains spoilers.
It seems apparent that every year the standard of The Great British Bake Off increases and the bakes appear more and more obscure to the general population. There are fewer challenges involving actual cakes (as these have been done before) and more involving pastry, bread and ‘alternative ingredients’. Does this disengage the general public who may have never heard of a “genoise sponge”? You would think so, but ratings tell us a different story with an average of 12 million viewers per show this year (in comparison to the measly two million they averaged when the show first began).
There is something captivating about the intense pressure to produce a perfect bake, no matter what it is. Each year the contestants steal our hearts; within our families or housemates we pick a favourite and root for them. This year we’ve followed Ian the three time star baker who delivers precision at its finest, Flora, the youngest contestant at 19, who is consistent but never comes out on top, Tamal, the man who week by week makes the nation swoon, and Nadiya, a friendly, mother of three, who made a very impressive three tier showstopper cheesecake with a levitating can of ‘pop’. Each contestant strives for an elusive handshake from Paul or the prestigious title of Star Baker (both of which Nadiya received in this weeks’ episode) but as the competition nears its end the pressure rises and it gets more difficult to say goodbye to our beloved bakers.
The use of union jack bunting surrounding the tent, the setting in the beautiful, historical grounds of Welford Park, Berkshire and judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood make the programme feel pleasantly and quintessentially British. However, presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc’s use of painful puns often seem unnecessary – the show is good enough without needing a cringe-factor or gimmick that other competition shows need.
The semi-final meant we said a sorry goodbye to Flora during a challenging chocolate episode, despite coming first in the technical challenge, making the best soufflé. Nadiya came out on top this week, despite a tearful interview after her loss in the technical challenge. Her saving grace was a handshake-worthy chocolate tart and a beautiful, peacock showstopper. We also saw tears from Ian after finding out he was through to the final – who knew baking could be this emotional? So, going to the final, Tamal seems in a safe place, Nadiya stands out as a potential winner and Ian seems quite shaky, but that could all change with a different theme of bakes.
As we reach the final episode, we must enjoy our last dose of deliciousness before a year of counting down the days till it returns. I mean, who doesn’t love The Great British Bake Off?