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GBBO: the surprising life lessons we learned from episode 3

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Helen Bownass
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GBBO: Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas

As the contestants feel the pressure of bread week, we learnt some surprising, and philosophical lessons, from the Bake Off Tent. Warning: spoilers ahead. 

It’s been a week hasn’t it! It’s only Tuesday, but it’s already been such a week: Trump. Covid. Cinema closures. Impending darkness (literal and metaphorical).

Thank goodness, then, for bread week in the Bake Off tent.  Though I initially went into utter panic at Noel Fielding’s revelation that: “No one under the age of 40 eats bread any more” (That can’t be true, can it?). I swiftly found myself soothed by the kneading and plaiting and proving.  And unexpectedly found myself extracting some philosophical lessons from this week’s contestants. Such as…

GBBO: Rowan

We should all be more Rowan

Beloved Rowan has left the competition. And while his presence will be much missed, he has reminded me that it’s so important to see the fun in things, even when it feels like there’s not one shred of fun left to be had in the world. 

He isn’t put off by not being particularly good at baking, he was in the tent for the sheer joy of it, to maintain his sky-high ambition in the face of detractors and determinedly do things his way – which will always involve a waistcoat and tie. 

Rowan also has a particularly delicious way with words. Take some of my new favourite phrases, for example: 

“They go in looking good and then things happen.”

“Mine seem soft and wrinkly, which is not attractive.”

“It’s probably curtains, but I’m going to have fun anyway.”

“All style and no substance: that’s me!”

You can just imagine what a lovely night you’d have if you got invited to a dinner party at his and his partner’s house. And you know you’d end up a bit drunk on really good wine and belting out songs from the musicals, until the neighbours complained. What I’m saying is: “We should all be more Rowan.”

GBBO: Sura
GBBO: Sura

Believe in your talents

“I hear these [nice] things from my parents and I just thought: ‘Its because you’re my parents’. But it’s nice to hear it from them.” And just like that Sura, coming to the realisation she is actually talented, became deeply relatable. Who hasn’t assumed that that someone is saying something nice because they have to? Because they’re related/connected to us and don’t want to shatter our dreams. But having her eyes opened, by an external force (Prue and Paul) made Sura realise she is more powerful than she knew; that it just needed unlocking. 

Also, of note is Sura’s emerging sass – she’s gone from crying in week one about destroying Dave’s pineapple upside-down cake, to critiquing Paul’s rainbow bagel technical challenge. “There’s a bagel shop near work so I’ve seen how they make them, but I’ve never made it myself. I wouldn’t have to…” 

We love to see a flower blooming. 

GBBO: Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas
GBBO: Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas

Show your friends you love them

There’s something so joyful in witnessing the chemistry between Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas on screen. I don’t mean sexual chemistry. I mean the beauty of seeing two men on telly feeling able and confident to express their joy in each other’s company. 

It’s so refreshing to see two men holding hands platonically. It’s a reminder of the importance of being able to be fully yourself, and also - though we’re not actually allowed to touch them - the power in expressing how much we love our pals in these strange old days. 

GBBO: Marc
GBBO: Marc

And when everything else feels too overwhelming: just breathe

Marc (with a c) is speeding into my secret Bake Off top tier - as well as picking up the Star Baker award. A human that can accidentally cover themselves in buttercream in a baking mishap, but not make any fuss about it, is the exact energy that will get us through 2020. 

 The sculptor also has a gorgeous philosophical side. In the showstopper round – where bakers were instructed to make a bread plaque representing the thing they’re most grateful for – he created a Dharma Wheel, as a symbol of a book that gave him comfort when he lost his leg in an accident years ago.

But it’s his eloquent musings on mindfulness that have shaken me to my core – and reminded me I really need to get back into my Calm App: “I take every opportunity I can to try to take a mindful breath to bring me back to the present moment,” he mused. “If you think about it: when we’re worrying, we’re worrying about things that have happened in the past or we’re worrying about the future, and ultimately they’ve got no control over us.”

Bread and philosophy: this is what I want, and need, from my Tuesday night TV. 

The Great British Bake Off is on All 4

Images: Channel 4