Who would you like to see win the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s television Baftas? Each of the RadioTimes.com team has their favourite. Here, Ellie Walker-Arnott explains why you should get behind Bake Off…
The nominees for this year’s Radio Times Audience Award are all stellar fan favourites. Cilla and The Missing were brilliant, stand-out telly; Strictly is shiny-floored Saturday night entertainment at its very best; and gory Game of Thrones is an international success. Sherlock and its star Benedict Cumber-something seem to be quite popular, while BBC1 soap EastEnders has been pulling in the punters for 30 years.
But the Bake Off is in a cosy and comforting league of its very own.
In five short years GBBO has become a British institution. Each August we eschew our social lives to spend our summer nights in front of the telly. And our appetite for Paul Hollywood’s golden brown buns is such that the BBC2 show successfully upped sticks and pitched its tent on the Beeb’s flagship channel last season.
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 a melted baked Alaska cause national scandal. In no other show would people elbow muffins, or 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 tea party (guests and all) out of biscuits or craft a replica of the Moulin Rouge 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, Bake Off is a golden-hearted, good-natured show. In a world of sob stories, backstabbing and increasingly ridiculous reality competitions, Bake Off has 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 dribble for an entire hour. Which upsets my boyfriend 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.
Vote for The Great British Bake Off in the Bafta Radio Times Audience Award here