GBBO 2019: An egg-cellent start or a cause for tiers?


By Laurence Boag-Matthews, Third Year Liberal Arts

The nation's favourite foody reality TV series is back for 2019, but who will beat the cream of the crop to the ultimate prize? And what new baked good will be the latest trend in the student kitchen?

The new series of Great British Bake Off began on a high-camp note last week. Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Hollywood, and Prue Leith kick off cake week dressed as characters from The Wizard of Oz (1939), with Noel taking on the role of Dorothy, jamming in jokes about Sandi’s side-hustle, QI (2003-), and Paul’s lack of heart - personally, I hope he returns to stony form after he distributed Hollywood handshakes willy-nilly last year.

The GBBO judges all got into the spirit of fantasy for the first episode | Photo courtesy of Channel 4

The episode continued with our hosts, judges and bakers on familiar form, in fact almost tipping into self-parody, the innuendo flows so freely. Yet, somehow, by the end I was nearly reduced to tears at our first star baker Claire - sorry - Michelle’s emotional phone call home.

This series marks ten years since the show began and promises that ‘this year’s challenges have been carefully devised to conjure up some of the most spectacular home baking the competition has ever seen’, which is sure to bring back memories for those of us who have gone through our teenagehood watching GBBO religiously. Some fan-favourite themes to watch out for in the coming weeks are last year's new addition, Vegan Week, Bread Week, and Dessert Week (here's hoping there's no Custardgate Two).

It’s hard in Week One to pick out the personalities who will go on to rank amongst Bake Off legends such as Val, Ruby, Rahul, Howard - who my friend once went to meet at a Freshers' event, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. However, an early stand out is Jamie, who, clearly nervous off the back of a failure in the technical challenge, forgot to put eggs in his showstopper’s cake batter, bringing him to the nation’s attention as an early favourite.

Paul’s start of show promise that the standard will be ‘higher than ever’ is delivered in the shape of a host of beautiful layered cakes themed around the bakers’ childhood dreams. The decoration of Rosie’s ‘magical jungle’ cake, complete with moulded animals, a tree, and waterfall was somehow deemed, ‘a little bit simplistic’, by Paul, offering hope that he has toughened up after his Simon Cowell-esque softening last year.

This episode has such a high rate of immediate classic bake off moments that it left me wondering how I at one point believed the show was doomed after leaving the BBC. To continue such an exaggerated tone will be hard to maintain throughout the series, it may be that it subsides to a more manageable level over the coming weeks; but especially amidst the turmoil of the week’s politics this episode felt like a welcome return to the familiarity of GBBO: the ultimate comfort food tv.

Featured image courtesy of Channel 4

Are you obsessed with the dos and doughn'ts of Bake Off? Let us know in the comments!