Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Friday, October 18, 2013

The drama of cakes!

Who would have thought that a gentle little TV programme about baking would have become such a hot-house of gossip, speculation and vitriol?

I'm talking of course about The Great British Bake Off, the final of which is next Tuesday.

Before this series started judge Paul Hollywood had scandalised Twitter by apparently having a romance with his co-host of the US version, a Mexican named Marcela Valladolid.

Hollywood's wife added to the low simmer of angst by giving tearful interviews where she claimed it had all come out of the blue, etc etc, and then sued him for divorce citing adultery.

The series started and, phew, it was still the same. Mary Berry was still rocking colourful jackets;  Sue and Mel were still like a couple of mates from the pub, and Hollywood was still flashing his blue eyes and going on about soggy bottoms.

But the contestants were different this year. Either that or the way they filmed them was different.  I noticed a lot more competition between them;  when one was being judged favourably, another would purse her lips.

Even worse, the front runners were very arrogant about their ability quite early on in the series. Whenever Jennifer, Kimberley or Beca were given any sort of criticism they would put on a questioning "really?" look.

Jen would say nearly every time that she "made it at home several times and it was perfect" so she didn't understand why it had gone wrong.

Then there was the Ruby factor.  Ruby Tandoh is a 21 year old student who tells us she only started baking six months ago. That might explain why she is forever decrying her bakes and telling the judges what's wrong with them before they start tasting. This week she added an overlay of tears.  Psychologically, it makes it very difficult for the judges to be tough on her. Especially as Hollywood is supposedly smitten by her.

I'm not sure I've seen that. They flirt a little, but I suspect it's his reputation going before him.  Ruby acts like millions of attractive young women have acted for centuries. She's coy; she cries; she giggles. She simpers. If he falls for that, well, we all know there's no fool like an old fool.

Apparently Hollywood gave an interview to the Times yesterday and he's still proclaiming his innocence over the adultery and divorce business. He hints darkly there is more to it than people know.  Perhaps he and his wife weren't sleeping together. Frankly, do we even care?

He was pretty unchivalrous about Valladolid, suggesting she was wrong for the US version. Let's hope she doesn't retaliate.

The show moves to BBC1 next year and I hope it stays exactly the same.

Meanwhile for Tuesday's final I would love to see wacky Frances win. I love her creativity, and I liked  the way she snapped back at Beca "who wants to be boring?" when Beca said that Frances was on some planet all of her own. It is perhaps telling though that on the BBC GBBO website, the photo of Frances is smaller than the others.

Kimberley is far too smug and Ruby, well, it's too soon. She may be prodigiously talented but I fear it would do her no good at all to win at such a young age and be thrust into the spotlight of cookery books and TV appearances.

Who are you tipping to win?



Jane said...

My vote is for Kimberley, I do love Frances's creativity, but I just like Kimberley, she just seems to get on with it, know what she's doing and has produced some great bakes. I can't stand Ruby, she's so negative, what was that wonky shed all about!

Anonymous said...

As long as it isn't Ruby!!!! I think she's much more calculated than any of the others and decided early on that flirting with Paul would be the ticket to the top. What I don't understand is how when her 'shed in a garden' (two weeks ago) looked as if it was about to collapse, the cake itself was strangely tasteless according to the judges, she still won star baker!!!! You're right Gail there's no fool like an old fool - but I think Ruby has got Mary suckered too!!! Lucy

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