When last year’s announcements flooded the internet that the production company behind The Great British Bake Off, Love Productions, wouldn’t be renewing their contract with the BBC, there was shock across the country. Ok maybe there was shock across my office, good gossip with my mum and enough articles and tweets to keep me going for the rest of the week. But there was shock people, shock!
The new series previewed on Channel 4 on 29th August 2017 leaving many to ask whether the new version of the show could rise to occasion. It certainly needed to prove itself, or could crumble away (ok I’ll stop make baking puns now).
Mel and Sue, as well as judge Mary Berry, very quickly declared they would not follow onto Channel 4, however Paul Hollywood (who is currently under fire for photos of him in Nazi uniform fancy dress that have now surfaced) decided to stay on. Joined by TV judge and chef legend Prue Leith and new presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, everyone was questioning how this TV masterpiece would carry on with the familiar faces missing.
And how are the first few episodes? Put simply, they’re fine. It’s not yet as good as the BBC version, but it’s not the catastrophe that many were secretly (and not-so secretly) hoping for. The music is the same, the camera angles are the same, even the tent is the same and wasn’t burned to the ground by a drunk Mary Berry while Mel and Sue tried to hold her back.
The reason I say ‘yet’ is that the chemistry that the previous judges and presenters had, especially as it formed with the contestants, just isn’t there yet. It all feels a bit forced and the scripted parts are glaringly obvious. Noel Fielding is desperately trying to prove he’s not the compulsory Channel 4 element that has been added to show and his scripted parts makes me him sound like a boyfriend meeting the parents for the first time. However, as the series develops I am certain that the nervous chemistry will develop into it’s own niche without trying to replicate the previous series.
The other issue that was raised was the advert breaks. The new show has gotten around this by increasing the run time of the episode and removing the historical piece. It has been well placed to not disrupt the full run of the show, but it still feels odd to see adverts.
While it’s disappointing to see Love Productions abandoning the BBC for more money and a shake-up that hasn’t 100% convinced me yet, this new series should prove itself over time. Either way, my emotional attachment to people baking and sitting in front of ovens hasn’t changed, and the GBBO still provides me with that.