ISN’T IT INTERESTING how even the sweetest things turn sour?
The nation’s most cherished programme, a tightly-packed picnic hamper of cakes, freestanding mixers in pastel colours and double entendre, has been cashed in for, well, just a picnic hamper.
This is almost as big a deal as Brexit.
I’m not surprised at the BBC’s decision to wave goodbye to its biggest, fattest, calorie-laden baby; one only had to look at the demise of Top Gear to know that the Beeb’s biggest shows were in peril (EastEnders, Strictly and Match of the Day, watch out). But rather than a heroin scandal or massive slump in viewing figures, the demise of The Great British Bake Off was a sad affair. A programme that charmed a nation with its sugary, light-hearted joviality was victim to bitter greed.
Like an overfed cuckoo, Love Productions had enough of cake and biscuits and turned its attention to money, unsatisfied with the deal it was enjoying. It seemed that its success and status as the UK’s most successful show wasn’t enough to keep the overly ambitious producers from demanding more from the BBC. And with their demands they unwittingly shot themselves in the foot as their freshly-bought Bake Off quickly went stale.
It’s nice, however, that the sugar, butter and eggs of the Bake Off – its presenters, Mel and Sue, and judge Mary Berry – have kept their integrity and not wandered off to new broadcasters Channel 4 to the tempting waft of cash. They’re right in sticking by the people that made the show what it is, and for someone in 81-year-old Berry’s position, money clearly isn’t the motivation. But now, only the flour remains, who, sadly, without his sugar, butter and eggs, is just flour. Who can blame Paul Hollywood for staying with the show, though? It’s probably great fun to do and will pay off a mortgage and a holiday to Fiji, won’t it?
Nobody foresaw Bake Off crumbling more quickly than all-butter shortbread, its current format just weeks away from being a thing of the past. I’m sure viewers can hardly watch the rest of this series without thinking about how its days are numbered. Because no matter what Channel 4 try and do with this dead horse, they will never be able to win back the hearts of thirty-something mums whose weekly highlight was amateur bakers huddled in a tent, nor will they be able to capture the sweetness and innocence that the BBC nurtured with unparalleled success. What C4 probably thought was a smart move in nabbing TV’s biggest show was probably as smart as making a coffee and walnut cake for the members of the Association of Nut Allergies’ annual convention.
And in this recipe of deadly sins, what’s next in the mixing bowl?