Who will you vote for to win the Radio Times Audience Award at the Television Baftas 2014? We have an in-house advocate for each of the six nominees. Here, Ellie Walker-Arnott explains why you should get behind the Bake Off…
The nominees for this year’s Radio Times Audience Award are all strong candidates – brilliant and worthy stand-out telly – but for me The Great British Bake Off is the obvious winner. Because with Bake Off, we are witnessing the birth of a British institution.
The tent and its eager, amateur bakers have been on our TV screens for four years now. And with Mary and Paul gearing up for their fifth stint under canvas, the audience’s appetites aren’t waning. In fact, so many of us eschewed our summer social lives to spend our Wednesday nights in front of the telly in 2013 that this year the Bake Off is moving channels to BBC1. (It also managed to get #soggybottom trending on Twitter, which is no less monumental a feat.)
So why do we love this simple show?
Well, anything – in the world of TV or otherwise – that revolves around cake has got to be a good thing. Mel and Sue’s clever quips probably have something to do with it too. As do crinkly-eyed, jazzy-jacketed Mary and her meaner sidekick, silver-haired Hollywood.
But the Bake Off has many more strings to its buttery bow. GBBO brings us drama and comedy, danger and jeopardy. In no other show would you witness someone elbowing a muffin. In no other show do people say things like “massive horns”, “lovely sausage” and “custard sabotage”. It warms your heart like a pre-heated oven.
And it’s not just about soggy bottoms. Bake Off is inspirational. I feel if I ever wanted to create a tower of button shaped biscuits or craft a Dalek out of edible goods that I totally could. And I know Mary Berry would be holding my hand as I did it (metaphorically, of course – she might be keen on getting the nation baking, but I’m not sure she offers that kind of personal service).
Ultimately, the Bake Off is a golden-hearted, good-natured show. Each of the contestants really care. There are genuine tears when they say their goodbyes – even if the departed stole their custard earlier in the week.
In a world of sob stories, backstabbing and increasingly ridiculous reality competitions, the Bake Off has confidently remained sunny and simple.
And, oh the cake. The batter, the crumbs, the delectable delights balanced on top of thick, sweet icing. The crème patissieres, the beautifully crafted petit fours. I practically dribble for an entire hour. Which upsets my housemates and really doesn’t do me any favours socially if I watch it on iPlayer on the train. But I don’t care. An hour in the warm glow of Bake Off is worth the disgusted looks.
Ellie is an entertainment, TV and film journalist writing news and (hopefully incredibly witty) comment for RadioTimes.com. She loves light-hearted dramas and glossy US series - and is more than a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey. Foodie, sun-seeker and aspiring novelist in her own time. Likes the fact that her name rhymes with telly.