It's a walk off!
September 13, 2016 4:53 PM   Subscribe

The Great British Bake Off disaster: why the BBC got burned - thought with Mel and Sue leaving the show Channel 4 may have "just bought a tent."
posted by Artw (86 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
rolling out a typical bread-related pun about not “going with the dough”, which seemed to suggest that Love Productions (the independent company that invented and owns the show) was being greedy.

The whole idea was half-baked.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:59 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Although I am imagining an amazing Mitchell & Webb reunion.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:01 PM on September 13, 2016 [19 favorites]


Breadxit!
posted by clavdivs at 5:01 PM on September 13, 2016 [104 favorites]


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo……oooooooooooo….oooooo!

I loathe most television and this is the one show i look forward to. I'm always worried they they'll somehow tweak it and ruin it, but it really retains the elements that make it great. The editing is so spot on with making you fall in love with the contestants. I can't imagine the show without Mel & Sue, but hopefully that's the only problem. That i can't imagine it doesn't mean it can't work. Still, why oh why fuck with perfection.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 5:19 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


To me it's perfection because they don't do the stupid catty judgmental American version of reality shows where they pit contestants against each other. And then film overly-long shots of people staring at each other*.

I have really enjoyed something about every contestant I've seen on that show, and the camaraderie is just wonderful.

If they have a celebrity version, that's one big step down the road of ruin.

*Awkward staring scenes are best filled in with imaginary dialogue: 'can you smell my farts?'
posted by Dashy at 5:30 PM on September 13, 2016 [10 favorites]


Instead of fake cattiness there's just competence and a near unending stream of double entendres.
posted by Artw at 5:32 PM on September 13, 2016 [29 favorites]


I guess they really kneaded the dough
posted by iotic at 5:35 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Maybe the Beeb will finally give Sue that second series of Heading Out in a show of solidarity.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:39 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Twitter is hoping for Doctor Who.
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


Hey companies!

this is what happens when you don't consult with the workers that ARE your business - about major changes. Your business may become worthless.
posted by lalochezia at 6:03 PM on September 13, 2016 [27 favorites]


Artw, there is a lot of cake fattiness though.
posted by threeze at 6:06 PM on September 13, 2016 [20 favorites]


the BBC already uses little films about the histories of cakes and biscuits as internal breaks, which could be removed without much loss.

Sacrilege
posted by Going To Maine at 6:13 PM on September 13, 2016 [24 favorites]


Maybe they can bring on Chris Evans. He's got experience taking on a major TV franchise after its beloved hosts leave.
posted by briank at 6:17 PM on September 13, 2016 [17 favorites]


Mods - there's a typo in the FPP, poster clearly intended to type "though" not "thought", although "although" would be the best word there.
posted by w0mbat at 6:26 PM on September 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe they can bring on Chris Evans. He's got experience taking on a major TV franchise after its beloved hosts leave.

Only if it's the real Chris Evans this time.

come on, he'd be perfect
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:34 PM on September 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


That's ridiculous! That would be like Sesame Street moving to HBO or something.
posted by TedW at 6:34 PM on September 13, 2016 [14 favorites]


Instead of fake cattiness there's just competence and a near unending stream of double entendres.

Instead of fake cattiness there's just competence

competence

...

I refute it thus !

I love the british bake off
posted by danny the boy at 6:38 PM on September 13, 2016


I don't care what Sue Perkins does next, I'll love watching it and her running commentary.
Be the new Doctor? Great! Driving million dollar supercars for Top Gear? Perfect!
posted by nickggully at 6:41 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am so angry right now. I am, like, Paul looking vaguely disappointed at you because you fucked up the thing he TOLD YOU you were going to fuck up. I am Mary Berry promised a caipirinha cake finding out there's no actual Cachaça in it.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:52 PM on September 13, 2016 [52 favorites]


I don't get why British shows tend to have two hosts, it's redundant. And while Sue could be amusing at times, Mel seemed to just be there for no discernible reason. I never really considered either host to be an essential part of the formula. It's the bakers who are fun to watch. You could have no hosts at all and it wouldn't make much of a difference.
posted by mpbx at 6:56 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


Banter.
posted by Artw at 7:07 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


No. Having two hosts is one of the beautiful parts of the show. Banter, setting up punch lines, trading off words in catchphrases....that's all awesome. But I also love how they connect with the home bakers differently. You can always tell there are some people that Sue really likes, and some that Mel really likes. Having two hosts gives the show character.

Like Ant and Dec. And yes, I like both of them too.

I'm really sad about them leaving...it just won't be the same.
posted by guster4lovers at 7:29 PM on September 13, 2016 [11 favorites]


This show IS the hosts and the judges. The contestants are all lovely, but it's the hosts playing off the judges, taking the wind out of Paul Hollywood's massive ego, making Mary Berry into your favorite auntie who can be bought with a teacup full of gin....Sue and Mel have done all that, and they're like the coolest kids in school who bring all the baking nerds to their table in order to fend off the football jocks, you know? No other hosts are going to work. There are many versions of this show (check it out on YouTube...there is the Australian version, the Irish version, and the South African version that I've seen) and while they're all lovely in their way, none of them even come close to the magic that the original has. It's not the non-competitiveness, it's not the cozy little scenes, it's the talent of the people gathering that all up and making the contestants and the audience in on the whole thing. That is what's important.

This show is done. It may last another season or two (I give it two), and it won't be a disaster, but it'll just be unmemorable. This is exactly what happened with other beloved shows, like Project Runway, when Magical Elves stopped producing it. Sometimes you think it's a formula, but once you tamper with even a small part of it, you realize it's the whole package that works.
posted by xingcat at 7:41 PM on September 13, 2016 [27 favorites]


I don't get why British shows tend to have two hosts, it's redundant.

Eeesh. Light Lunch, anyone?

There's a broader question of the Tories' ongoing annoyance at the BBC's light entertainment output, even though they've developed global formats in-house -- Top Gear, but also Strictly aka Dancing with the Stars -- and turned ones from indie producers into global successes. The Tories would prefer something a lot more like PBS, which would then make it easier to abolish the licence fee. (How PBS would get most of its costume dramas and murder mysteries is unclear.)

C4 is marginally better than ITV, but it's definitely headed down the Americanised road of pre-break bullshitty cliffhangers and post-break recaps in the decade since the original Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Throw in exploitative shite like Benefits Street, and nude dating and Sex Box too.

So I can't see Mary Berry making the leap across either.
posted by holgate at 7:48 PM on September 13, 2016 [5 favorites]


If they have a celebrity version, that's one big step down the road of ruin.

They have! Comic Relief and Sport Relief, charities which raise money via famous actors and athletes, have linked up with GBBO for five different four-episode miniseries. Have you ever wanted to see David Mitchell or Ed Balls bake a cake?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:48 PM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Have you ever wanted to see David Mitchell or Ed Balls bake a cake?

No. Jennifer Saunders and Ade Edmundson, yes.

Ditto everyone else above. I too think that the camaraderie among the hosts and the contestants is a crucial part of what makes the show work. I have no great hopes of the C4 version. It'll be the Top Gear reboot/the Harmon-less Community all over again.

Which is a bummer, because GBBO is about half the TV I follow.

Everyone who wants a Sue fix, I urge you to seek out Supersizers on YouTube. Giles Coren is no Mel, but on the other hand, Sue regularly gets completely blitzed while wearing elaborate period costumes, and there's food history.
posted by Diablevert at 8:28 PM on September 13, 2016 [21 favorites]


And just the other day I'd thought that it was cool that Love Productions had made that special documentary show with Nadiya.

How could you, Love Productions? How could you?

I adore Mel and Sue on GBBO and although I've seen some of the charity episodes without them, there's nothing like following an entire series with them both there.

If Mary and Paul don't stay either, the show should simply be renamed something else. Perhaps "The Fake British Bake Off" (sorry, this news is making me a little punchy).

Mel and Sue have their banter, sure, and on the whole they're supportive and I get the sense they're rooting for all of the contestants to succeed -- and that helps set the tone for the entire show. It's clear that they admire and respect Mary and Paul (and I love it when Mary and Paul and the contestants are obviously enjoying Mel and Sue being there, too -- like when Sue makes a pun involving a Mary recipe, which then makes Mary laugh).

The fact that Mel and Sue have known each other since college (?) and worked together before is a big bonus -- although they tease each other, I feel that it stems from fondness and not from spite. I think it's a privilege and a joy to be able to see two actual longtime friends -- who are women! -- in their element, and as the hosts of a such a lovely, welcoming, incredibly popular show. Alas, it's incredibly rare. It's a treasure.

So I totally agree that there is nothing else like this series on television now, and I can't think of anything else older that's even close. (I could write more on this and other reasons the show has been so important to me personally, but I'm too tired now to delve into what would no doubt become a multi-page comment. Maybe some other time...)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:04 PM on September 13, 2016 [9 favorites]


the BBC already uses little films about the histories of cakes and biscuits as internal breaks, which could be removed without much loss.

Are you kidding? I LOVE THOSE THINGS. They are part of what makes the show for me. Where else can I see primitive sourdough baked on a rock or learn about the history of dampfnoodle. I didn't even know what the hell dampfnoodle was. (And, honestly, it's probably one of the few things on the show I have absolutely no desire to ever taste.) But now I will never forget the arch of dampfnoodle. Because they aren't food historians themselves, they make those segments more accessible and entertaining. My only wish is they would maybe have a thing on further reading about some of these topics because I'd love to find out more. (And if anyone here wants to point me in the direction of awesome food history books on baking, please do.)

Mel and Sue are also important because they have a lovely relationship to the contestants. They are supportive and amusing. Most reality shows don't generally have someone on screen supporting the contestants who isn't friend or family. They are just unilaterally supportive and that fosters a less adversarial feel to the show. This, while there is a competitive edge, is amazing in terms of how emotionally invested I get in all the contestants, how much I want them all to succeed.
posted by miss-lapin at 9:07 PM on September 13, 2016 [13 favorites]


little films about the histories of cakes and biscuits … could be removed without much loss

HOW VERY DARE YOU
posted by robcorr at 9:19 PM on September 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


Are you kidding? I LOVE THOSE THINGS. They are part of what makes the show for me.

That's another reason I love Mel and Sue -- not only are they silly and punny, they're smart and nerdy (e.g. I think it's cool when Mel sometimes says or defines words in different languages). Those little historical segments could be pretty tedious in the wrong hands, but they're so well done. It's like a neat travelogue/history field trip in a few minutes.

Mel and Sue seem interested in the history, too, so for me they help make the info interesting and fun. I sort of feel like the topic of each one could be a topic for a MeFi post on the blue, if they haven't all been covered yet (e.g. the penny lick, covering ice cream history and public health).
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 9:39 PM on September 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


(It looks like Would I Lie To You is back, with Mel as a guest on the first episode and Nadiya as a guest on the second. So if you’d like your bake-off stars in a totally unrelated context…)
posted by Going To Maine at 9:43 PM on September 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


It does puzzle me that C4 would apparently sign without knowing whether they had any of the regular presenters. Shouldn't that be reflected in the terms of the deal? It's like agreeing a price for a plot of land without knowing whether the house on it will or will not be demolished.
posted by Segundus at 10:24 PM on September 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


I will only be consoled if Mel and Sue move on to give us another season of The Supersizers.
posted by peripathetic at 11:15 PM on September 13, 2016 [7 favorites]


I particular am fond of the fact that apparently, if a baker is having a complete sobbing meltdown, Sue will generally stand behind them and swear/insult big companies etc. loudly so that the footage can't be used for long hold shots of crying contestants.
posted by halcyonday at 11:47 PM on September 13, 2016 [78 favorites]


If they can't get Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, my money is on the 'dream team' of Nigella Lawson and Greg Wallace. Alright, neither of them is really an expert baker, but think of the chemistry!
posted by Segundus at 1:30 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The show has been on for 7 seasons. The last few seasons were great and I wouldn't be surprised if it's hit its peak as a program, even if it stayed on the BBC.

I don't know why people are mad at BBC. I am totally ok with them deciding that they weren't going to fork over another £10million to keep it going (and their offer was "double the amount the BBC currently pays for the show"!). BBC took a chance with GBBO. Fingers crossed, they will find another show that is as much of a hit to entertain the public and effect public discourse as much as GBBO has.

Mel & Sue were an absolute delight and one of my favorite parts of the program. I can't wait to see what they do (either together or independently) next!
posted by like_neon at 2:00 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


See, you wouldn't even need Mel and Sue because Nigella could do the unfunny double entendres and Greg could interfere with what people were trying to do.
posted by Segundus at 2:14 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Fingers crossed, they will find another show that is as much of a hit to entertain the public and effect public discourse as much as GBBO has.

At which point a commercial station will buy that one too! The circle of life...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:26 AM on September 14, 2016


I've got a sneaking suspicion that some uninspired soul is going to ruin The Great British Sewing Bee by moving it to BBC1 and pushing it hard. It's a fairly straight knockoff with Claudia Winkleman as MelSue anyhow. Nothing good ever comes of programmes promoted from BBC2, grumblegrumble.
posted by comealongpole at 2:56 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sky plc, part-owned by MeFi favourite Rupert Murdoch, acquired a majority stake in Love Productions a couple of years ago: might that have influenced this deal, one wonders?
posted by misteraitch at 3:04 AM on September 14, 2016


I don't know why people are mad at BBC.

Are they, though? Most of the annoyance I've seen from people -- as opposed to media companies -- has been at the production company for making the decision to move.

Newspapers (especially the Murdoch press) are always telling us to be annoyed with the BBC. If the BBC makes high-brow or niche programming they're elitist and out of touch, programmes for wide appeal are unfair competition with the commercial outlets, spending big money on popular programmes is extravagance and unfair competition again, being outbid is evidence that they either don't care or are incompetent. All of these are reasons that the BBC should be defunded. Of course, it's a complete coincidence that this constant hail of criticism comes from businesses who gain financially from every time the BBC service gets degraded.

Sky plc, part-owned by MeFi favourite Rupert Murdoch, acquired a majority stake in Love Productions a couple of years ago: might that have influenced this deal, one wonders?

Hah! Doesn't seem impossible.
posted by metaBugs at 3:09 AM on September 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


People love GBBO and however rough it may be at first it is sure to survive the loss of beloved hosts, at least until being outperformed by the seemingly inevitable "8 out of 10 Cats Does Great British Bake Off".
posted by seraphine at 3:18 AM on September 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


I don't know why people are mad at BBC.

Are they, though?


To be fair, this may be the media spin that I'm interpreting, not necessarily ordinary people. It's being framed as "Why didn't the BBC try harder to keep GBBO?".
posted by like_neon at 3:39 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


For example, the Guardian article linked in the FPP:

Shock has been expressed at the BBC having so little control over the destiny of one of its brand-name programmes. - the second half of the article seems very BBC-blamey.
posted by like_neon at 3:45 AM on September 14, 2016


It's worth (re)watching series 1 to see how the format evolved, including the use of Mel and Sue. It really shows how small changes affect the enjoyability and the tone. I suspect new hosts will make a big difference to the latter.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:17 AM on September 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


Everyone who wants a Sue fix, I urge you to seek out Supersizers on YouTube. Giles Coren is no Mel, but on the other hand, Sue regularly gets completely blitzed while wearing elaborate period costumes, and there's food history.

Seems to me Supersizers was also on Netflix for a while, which is where we found it and first fell in love with Sue Perkins.

will only be consoled if Mel and Sue move on to give us another season of The Supersizers.

Oh, hells yes! Especially if the first episode consists of stuffing Giles Coren into a woodchipper and dancing around in Regency dresses while sipping shrub!
posted by briank at 5:26 AM on September 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


If they must be replaced, Kate McCartney and Kate McClennan of the The Katering Show would be the best choices
posted by mattamatic at 6:02 AM on September 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


the second half of the article seems very BBC-blamey.

Less that and more how-sausage-is-madey, I feel. And a lot of that is down to exterior influence also.
posted by Artw at 6:11 AM on September 14, 2016


Seriously, they'd probably look first at former guest presenters: Jo Brand, Ed Byrne, Sarah Millican, Omid Djalili.

Ed Byrne's probably available.
posted by Segundus at 6:20 AM on September 14, 2016


Mary Berry’s lost it
She’s flambeed Mel and Sue
She’s put Hollywood in the blender
And thrown rock cakes at the crew

Mary Berry’s lost it
There’s madness in her eyes
She’s shoved the director in the oven
And turned the bakers into pies

Mary Berry’s lost it
The director’s snuffed it too
She’d turned him into waffles
Covered in chocolate goo

‘Mary Berry’s lost it!’
Cried the copper as he dived for the floor
‘What do you expect?’ cried Mary
‘When you sell out to Channel 4?’


-- Kersti Worsley, as quoted by Lucy Worsley
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:26 AM on September 14, 2016 [8 favorites]


...as quoted by Lucy Worsley

Where?! I'd love to hear Lucy Worsley read this out.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 6:37 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Twitter is hoping for Doctor Who.


I went from not knowing who Sue Perkins is to totally being on board with this in the space of this post.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:40 AM on September 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Where?!

Facebook. Lucy's got a great page when it's active.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:50 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am not a fan of Sue Perkins on this show but she TOTALLY SHOULD BE THE NEXT DOCTOR
posted by lownote at 6:51 AM on September 14, 2016


So now, HuffPo is reporting that Jamie Oliver is in the running to replace Paul Hollywood and/or Mary Berry amid rumors that they'll leave, too.
posted by briank at 7:34 AM on September 14, 2016


That's some pretty speculative speculation there. "Paul & Mary haven't said anything" + "Jamie once said he'd like to be on the show" = "Jamie's in the running to replace Paul & Mary!"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:17 AM on September 14, 2016


Jamie Oliver

Ugh.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on September 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


That's also why it's hilarious. A significant portion of the British population find him insufferably annoying (I think he's OK).

Anyway, back to Mel & Sue. This is pretty good.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:22 AM on September 14, 2016


I don't know why people are blaming the production company for this move. This entirely a failure of the BBC. Sure, they mentioned they were doubling the previous payout for the show, but they were paying something like £0.70/viewer before. If Channel 4 were smart, they'd keep it exactly as is, but that's now how tv execs operate.
posted by thecjm at 8:24 AM on September 14, 2016


Jamie Oliver

I have Intense Feelings about GBBO. Do not fuck with my Intense Feelings. This has gone far enough.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:24 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


This entirely a failure of the BBC.

Well there's a limit, isn't there? The BBC don't have unlimited funds and the Daily Mail set love to complain about the BBC spending too much of the license payers' money on any one thing. They just had to shut down BBC 3, and previously almost shut down BBC Radio 6, BBC4, and CBeebies due to budget cuts.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:29 AM on September 14, 2016


the second half of the article seems very BBC-blamey.

It helps here to be familiar with the John Birt era of 'producer choice' and the first internal market for commissioning and production. As Lawson says, it set up that tension between whether innovative programming is best cultivated from within or outside the BBC's institutional structure.

However, it really dates back to the creation of Channel 4 in 1982 with an explicit remit to buy in all of its programming. Comedians were among the first to set up independent production companies to find broader outlets for their work: Mel Smith & Griff Rhys-Jones started Talkback in the early 80s, then Jimmy Mulville and others set up Hat Trick. Endemol and other format-first production giants showed up later.
posted by holgate at 8:38 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Well there's a limit, isn't there?

Indeed there is. I can't fault the beeb for not being able to offer more, I can't fault Channel 4 for offering more, and I can't fault the makers for taking more. However, those factors will mean that this perfect little thing I love will necessarily change, to something that is not this perfect little thing I know, and odds are those changes will be negative ones, maybe even fatal ones. And I really do love this perfect little thing, which is why I'm sad, even though I totally understand and accept that this is how the world works.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:44 AM on September 14, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, I blame the makers. And I will blame Channel 4 for being amazingly short-sighted if they didn't have a clause in the deal which required the participation of Mel, Sue, Paul, and Mary, or at the very least allowed Channel 4 an out or renegotiation of payments based on not having them involved.

Also, do the contestants get any kind of compensation? I know there isn't a cash prize for the winner, but, do they get residuals or reimbursement for supplies or missed work? I feel like knowing how much money the production company is making off you must sour the contestants' feelings going forward. All that emotional labor and knowing that a cut goes to Rupert Murdoch? Ugh.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:08 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Well there's a limit, isn't there? The BBC don't have unlimited funds and the Daily Mail set love to complain about the BBC spending too much of the license payers' money on any one thing. They just had to shut down BBC 3, and previously almost shut down BBC Radio 6, BBC4, and CBeebies due to budget cuts.

Meanwhile, they are losing millions in potential revenue by refusing to make these shows legally available for pay to anyone outside the UK.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:40 AM on September 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile, they are losing millions in potential revenue by refusing to make these shows legally available for pay to anyone outside the UK.

To be fair, because BBC Worldwide is a separate, commercial entity there may be Reasons for this. Granted, their mission is to maximise profits for the BBC and it seems reasonable to assume GBBO could have made a tidy sum if broadcast globally. But I think there's complicated Rules about what they can and can't broadcast via BBC Worldwide. My guess is that they can only broadcast formats that they created in-house?
posted by like_neon at 9:47 AM on September 14, 2016


Oh, my bad, I see you're talking about Radio6, BBC4 and CBeebies- nevermind! (although it does seem that CBeebies is part of BBC Worldwide. Not sure about Radio6 and BBC4 but maybe they didn't find them as commercially attractive on a global scale?)
posted by like_neon at 9:50 AM on September 14, 2016


I wonder if the entire Great British format will go to Channel 4 as well. Sewing Bee changed judges this year (probably for the better), but the thought of those shows revamped for commercial TV, without the history interview segments and with more "when we return/where we left off" overdramatic bullshit recaps, makes me want to do something distinctly un-British. Like grumble. Or jump a queue. Or stay united and not split into constituent countries with the collapse of Empire.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel Mel is getting short shrift in this thread, so I want to weigh in and say that she is every bit as funny as Sue, though in a dryer, less showy way. They are both charming and funny individually, but their chemistry as a duo makes them a goddamn delight and IMO utterly irreplaceable.

One of the US TV networks did a limited-run Great Holiday Bakeoff last year, produced by the same people who make GBBO (it even included Mary Berry as a judge), and it was next to unwatchable thanks in no small part to the lack of Sue and Mel. (The hosts they ended up going with were Nia Vardalos, who wrote and starred in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and her husband, whose personality had all the appeal of a soggy bottomed pie crust. The show was truly awful.)
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:19 PM on September 14, 2016 [9 favorites]


Looooove the GBBO. They're so nice to the people who depart the show, and even when the baked project is an abject fail, they're honest but sympathetic.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dashy: To me it's perfection because they don't do the stupid catty judgmental American version of reality shows where they pit contestants against each other. And then film overly-long shots of people staring at each other.

I have really enjoyed something about every contestant I've seen on that show, and the camaraderie is just wonderful.


Beyond the fake/forced cattiness in US cooking competitions, there's also the "let's make everyone live together for a few months to really increase the pressure" in shows like Hell's Kitchen, which are even worse.

But The Great British Bake Off is the antithesis of this, not only for the cordial, eventually familial sense of comfort the contestants, hosts and judges have by the end, but for the slow pace of everything. The competitions aren't under ridiculous time-crunches, no mad dashes to the pantry before it's locked.

The contestants share, hosts and judges provide hints and comfort to the contestants, and as my wife pointed out recently, even the tense music is relaxing! It's a happy medium between slow TV and American cooking shows: mostly relaxing, with moments of tense anticipation, all focused on making good food. American cooking shows, on the other hand, are about drama and tension, and they happen to also include food.


mpbx: I don't get why British shows tend to have two hosts, it's redundant. And while Sue could be amusing at times, Mel seemed to just be there for no discernible reason

They're a comedy/hosting duo, and I imagine they help to foster that level of comfort from the very first day.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:27 PM on September 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I particular am fond of the fact that apparently, if a baker is having a complete sobbing meltdown, Sue will generally stand behind them and swear/insult big companies etc. loudly so that the footage can't be used for long hold shots of crying contestants.

She talks about this a bit in this interview with Richard Herring (relevant bit around 21:45).
posted by tomcooke at 2:41 PM on September 14, 2016 [5 favorites]


The real controversy.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 7:34 PM on September 14, 2016 [6 favorites]


That's not the GBBO squirrel. This is the GBBO squirrel. (Yes.)
posted by Diablevert at 8:28 PM on September 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The competitions aren't under ridiculous time-crunches, no mad dashes to the pantry before it's locked.

My husband and I somehow got tipped to Australian MasterChef a couple of years ago, which does feature time trials and mystery boxes and pantry runs and all that and YET has an incredibly kind judging panel, kind guests, competitors crying over the others being eliminated. They all live together, but at best you get the occasional shot of them making dinner together or getting woken up at 3am for some adventure, but it's not like DramzCamp like the American shows do. At various points, I've seen each of the judges swoop in on a crying competitor and turn them away from the camera for a minute to gather themselves and get a good pep talk. And it seems like many of the contestants are going on to food/restaurant work afterwards, not just the winner.

Plus they do that "big sweeping HD scenery shots" thing that is my catnip. It's probably our favorite comfort-watch after GBBO, and there are ~60 episodes every series so that is a lot of comfort.

We've noticed that US MasterChef has gentled up its judging in the past couple of seasons, which may simply be that so many people preferred Junior for the nicer judging, but may also be some cross-pollination from the other franchisees and shows like GBBO.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:04 AM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]




Given the source is the Sun I don't know how much credence you could give to this rumour over on AVClub It’s Terrible, Awful Rumor Time: Paul and Mary might also be leaving The Great British Bake Off. Definitely game-over if these two left too.
posted by phigmov at 10:27 PM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


Apologies if someone has posted this already, but here's an article from Eater:

Here's something you might not know about Mel and Sue: they nearly quit once before. Last year, while promoting her memoir, Sue revealed that she and Mel walked off the set during Bake Off's first season because the producers were trying to coax human-interest drama—and the inevitable tears—out of contestants. "We felt uncomfortable with it, and we said 'We don't think you've got the right presenters,'" Sue told the Telegraph. "I'm proud that we did that, because what we were saying was 'Let's try and do this a different way'—and no one ever cried again. Maybe they cry because their soufflé collapsed, but nobody's crying because someone's going 'Does this mean a lot about your grandmother?'" Bringing up dead relatives at stressful times is a time-honored technique for introducing tension into a television show, but it's no way to treat your family.

Here's another thing you might not know: When contestants do cry—out of frustration or disappointment, generally—Mel and Sue stand near them and use un-airable language so the embarrassing footage is tainted, and won't make it into the final edit. "If we see them crying or something," Sue told the Guardian, "Mel and I will go over there and put our coats over them, or swear a lot because we know then that the film won't be able to be used."

posted by juv3nal at 1:53 AM on September 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


BBC breaking news: Mary Berry quits Great British Bake Off, saying she will stay with the BBC out of "loyalty".
posted by Wordshore at 2:10 AM on September 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Breaking news: Channel 4 in "world's most expensive marquee purchase" fiasco
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:48 AM on September 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Turns out the marquee is rented...
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:26 AM on September 22, 2016


Wait so we've just bought Paul Hollywood in a field
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:34 AM on September 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


This just in: BBC announces completely new, original series with no connection whatsoever to any preexisting show, "Albion Cake Challenge"
posted by juv3nal at 3:50 AM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Why do I feel like my parents have called a family meeting, and have started off by saying "No matter what happens, we love you very, very much..."
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:43 AM on September 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


I am very distressed, for values of distressed appropriate to a TV show.
posted by bq at 1:00 PM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Imagine a TV show in which Paul Hollywood is trapped in a tent in a field and has to bake his way out. It could be good.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:13 PM on September 23, 2016 [5 favorites]


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