October 26, 2016, by Emma
The Great British Bake Off: The Kindest Show on TV
In these uncertain times of Brexit and Isis, of the migrant crisis and Donald Trump, it’s easy to get downhearted with the state of the world. But on Wednesday evenings in September and October, this great nation has a shining beacon of hope: The Great British Bake Off. Let’s run through the things that make Bake Off so great:
Mel and Sue
Instead of fuelling drama and exemplifying the mini-meltdowns of contestents like most reality shows, Mel and Sue look after their bakers. In an interview with The Telegraph, Sue described how they walked off the set of the first series of Bake Off due to the way it treated it’s contestents, attempting to make human interest drama out of sob stories and had even driven some contestents to tears. Mel and Sue’s potential departure prompted directors to think about things in a different way, and now the atmosphere in the tent is a lot happier.
“Maybe they cry because their soufflé collapsed, but nobody’s crying because someone’s going ‘Does this mean a lot about your grandmother?’
And when those inevitable tears do occur, Mel and Sue have another method in order to avoid the exploitation of their bakers. Speaking to the Guardian in 2013, Sue described their kind and clever tactic: “Mel and I will go over there and put our coats over them or swear a lot because we know then that the film won’t be able to be used” Genius! And super nice too!
In a time of ever increasing racial tensions, it’s wonderful to see such a diverse mixture of bakers. I know some people find what can sometimes appear to be racial quotas on TV to be a little fake, but I think they’re a great thing! It’s important, in times when hostility towards people of colour appears to be increasing, to show that being British is more than simply about being white. And besides without them, it’s unlikely that we would have the beautiful friendship that has emerged between the this season’s superbly chilled out Ghanian baker Selasi and quaintly wonderful pensioner Val. And that’s a sight to behold.
The Bakers Themselves
The most wonderful thing about Bake Off is how all of the bakers help each other out. Not an episode goes by where somebody helps out another baker finish in time, or when supposed rivals are congratulating each other on winning Star Baker. And those relationships continue out of the tent! GBBO rivals are constantly popping up in each other’s Instagram photos and Twitter feeds.
So whether you’re rooting for Andrew, Candice or Jane to win tonight’s final, remember what Bake Off has taught us. More than creating the perfect glaze, or how to make puff pastry, Bake Off represents the best of Britain by teaching us to be kind.
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