Bake Off’s iconic canvas was filled with celebrities last night, when Kimberley Walsh, Chris Kamara, Victoria Coren and Ed Balls baked their sweat socks off for Sport Relief. Results were mixed, but Walsh impressed. Paul Hollywood even suggested the Star Baker fill out an application form for the next series. And I think that sounds like a great idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think former Girls Aloud singers should really be rubbing shoulders with a tent full of non-famouses. Bake Off is special because it’s not starry, because its competitors are ordinary, relatable chaps and because it’s still a relatively low-key affair despite being one of the BBC’s most successful formats.
But Britain’s appetite for baking-based telly isn’t waning. As we approach series seven, GBBO is arguably more popular than it ever has been and on Wednesday night, the Sport Relief episode pulled in over 6 million. They already make a Junior Bake Off, and the BBC have unveiled plans for a ‘professional’ version of the Bake Off hosted by Tom Kerridge. Why not complete the set with a celebrity series? If it works for MasterChef, why not Bake Off too?
The Great Sport Relief Bake Off is a slice of sweet, sunny joy in the middle of winter. It’s silly, funny and hugely entertaining – and it would be even more so over a number of episodes. We could get to know these famous faces more. And it’s no secret we all love a journey.
It sounds awfully mean spirited but there is something uniquely engaging about watching people struggle in the tent. Bingate and the odd custard sabotage aside, the amateur bakers are usually incredibly accomplished from the word go, but when celebrities compete with zero baking experience, the possibilities are endless.
Plus, with all its incarnations, MasterChef is practically on TV all year round. A world with more Mary Berry, baking puns and cake-fueled carb-fests can only be a good thing…
The Great Sport Relief Bake Off continues on Wednesdays at 8:00pm on BBC1. The Great British Bake Off will return later this year.