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It’s Great British Bake Off Time!

Eclair

For the best experience, we recommend viewing this post on our website. The definitions for words in bold and purple can be found at the bottom of this post. 

Brits take baking very seriously. We’re a nation of bakers and it’s that time of year when one of the most popular television programmes in the UK goes live- The Great British Bake Off! OK, we don’t own baking and it’s not something that has its roots in the British culture, but since 2010, the nation has become obsessed with baking and I dare you to find a Brit on the street who has no idea what “The Great British Bake Off” is.

So, what on earth is this programme and why do so many people love it?

Simply put, it’s a baking competition. Any person in the UK can enter and goes through a series of auditions and interviews before the final 12 make it to the televised shows. Even the announcement of who the final 12 contestants are is normally splashed all over mainstream news. Then all the fun begins!

Each week all contestants must complete three recipes. The first recipe is called the “signature challenge” where a theme is given and each contestant must bake one of their own recipes to represent this theme. The second recipe is called the “technical challenge”. Each contestant is given minimal instructions and must bake this recipe. The baking judges then order them from best to worst (without knowing who baked each one!) The final recipe is called the “showstopper challenge” which, as the name suggests, goes all out. Again, given a theme, the contestants must bake amazing, show-stopping cakes.

Great British Bake Off

Image: https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-08-27/how-to-apply-for-the-great-british-bake-off-2020/

There are three judges who taste all the recipes and at the end of the three challenges they award “star baker” to the best baker of the week and they choose to eliminate one baker from the competition. The show continues for a few weeks, eliminating one baker each week until you arrive at the final and one winner is announced. The winners of this show have gone on to win awards in baking, open their own bakery lines and have become public figures in the UK.

Cakes

It probably just sounds like a basic baking competition, so what is all the fuss about?

Shown at prime time on Tuesday evenings, around 9 million people tune in. The show has everything! Set in a typically British marquee on a shining green lawn, you get the humour, lightheartedness and those famous innuendos from the hosts wandering around the kitchens. You get the drama when somebody’s cake burns, freezes, melts or falls on the floor at the last moment. But most importantly, you get in the baking mood! Brits around the country try the recipes and challenges themselves each week, posting their outcomes on social media. And the recipes chosen are typically British in style

Baking

In fact, since the first Great British Bake Off show in 2010, sales of baking equipment increased threefold and some episodes were the most-watched TV episodes of the year in the entire UK. In fact, the media even created a name for the phenomenon “The Bake Off Effect”. We’ve all gone baking crazy!

How can I get involved?

The Great British Bake Off used to be aired on BBC but in 2017, the show moved to Channel 4, something that seemed like a travesty to the British people. (BBC is generally seen as having “high-quality” TV whilst Channel 4 is not). All the past episodes can be found on Netflix and if you live in the UK, on BBC iPlayer and All4. If you’re looking to follow the latest series live, it’s aired at 8pm BST on Tuesday evenings on Channel 4.

Given the popularity of the show, there is an after-show segment to catch up with the contestants called An Extra Slice and there is also a spinoff Bake Off: The Professionals for people who bake for a living. You can also find charity versions of the show held throughout the year such as for Comic Relief and Sport Relief and even a show for children too, Junior Bake Off.

Key Vocabulary

Below are 10 key words taken from this post with definitions. Please be aware that there are sometimes many definitions for one word, it will depend on context. 

Definition: To challenge somebody to do something

In our blog: I dare you to find a Brit on the street who has no idea what “The Great British Bake Off” is.

Definition: As a job

In our blog: There is also a spinoff “Bake Off: The Professionals” for people who bake for a living.

Definition: Unnecessary attention/People making something a problem for no reason

In our blog: It probably just sounds like a basic baking competition, so what is all the fuss about?

Definition: To put a lot of effort into something and to do your best

In our blog: The final recipe is called the “showstopper challenge” which, as the name suggests, goes all out.

Definition: A comment that indirectly talks about something. For example, there could be a double-meaning of the word.

In our blog: You get the humour, lightheartedness and those famous innuendos from the hosts wandering around the kitchens.

Definition: Extremely good

In our blog: Again, given a theme, the contestants must bake amazing, show-stopping cakes.

Definition: To put something in the media where it can be seen by lots of people

In our blog: Even the announcement of who the final 12 contestants are is normally splashed all over in mainstream news.

Definition: A TV show that was created only as the result of another TV show

In our blog: And there is also a spinoff “Bake Off: The Professionals” for people who bake for a living.

Definition: Something that is very bad because it doesn’t represent the values you expected

In our blog: The Great British Bake Off used to be aired on BBC but in 2017, the show moved to Channel 4, something that seemed like a travesty to the British people.

Definition: To move around with no specific direction

In our blog: You get the humour, lightheartedness and those famous innuendos from the hosts wandering around the kitchens.

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