The critics had their say, but it was the viewers who were going to decide whether The Great British Bake Off survived its controversial move to Channel 4 from the BBC, replacing Mel and Sue with Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, and standing Prue Leith in Mary Berry’s stylish shoes.
Though there was (praise be) a generally positive vibe for the 2017 series, which kicked off last night (29 August), we must report that there were TWO baking controversies we couldn’t let slide.
The gladiatorial arena that is the internet returned a thumbs up on the whole – unsurprisingly, given the basic GBBO formula has not changed. Tent, nerves, innuendo. Happy tears, sad tears, bunting. Paul Hollywood pausing for a really long time before pronouncing something edible. The world’s worst poker faces during the technical judging – the stress of it all prompting Flo to emit an actual tiny trumpet noise as Hollywood and Leith lingered over her mini rolls.
Other highlights included a fantastically phallic champagne bottle and ridiculously impressive showstoppers (people, it’s week one – hold something back). Hello banana ramen cake and a frankly way too professional sandwich cake, complete with airbrushed bread crust detail.
But there’s always a but – and in this case two.
First up: people – we must never forget The Chocolate Mini Roll Controversy of 2017.
Well, yes, there’s that. But we’re talking about the fact the recipe for the technical challenge included peppermint. Peppermint! We appreciate a large part of the challenge is that contestants cannot prepare for it. But who can prepare for such an outlandish, unnatural addition?
People were, naturally, outraged.
Even a former contestant got in on the act.
Secondly, can we discuss Hollywood’s handshakes?
In the very first show, the judge handed out two. TWO. One to Sophie for her pineapple and coconut cake and one to Steven for his toffee-apple creation. In the first round!
You use something too much and it loses all meaning (or falls off) and nobody wants that.
Handing them out like sweets. Like ‘sweaty palm, intense blue gaze, all your baking dreams come true except wait isn’t this a bit early, I’m confused I’m not sure I’m ready but BAM it’s happening’ sweets.
People got sweary about it.
Paul Hollywood is turning into a real handshake slut, and only 1 episode in— Annabel Neeson (@annabel_neeson) August 29, 2017
And oh, Sharynn went there.
But overall, response was good. We’re all OK. Guys, it’s OK. It’s cake, in a tent. It’s watermelon cake, in a tent.
Main image: Channel 4