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Image / Living / Culture

The Great British Bake Off returns to save us all from doom and gloom


by Holly O'Neill
23rd Sep 2020

We need a standing ovation for the staffer who came up with this Showstopper Challenge


With absolutely everything fun cancelled, The Great British Bake Off accepted we had suffered enough and came up with a way to brighten our winter with baking.

There was a fifteen-minute delay to give Boris Johnson a chance to address the UK, which led into new presenter Matt Lucas’ Johnson impersonation in a blonde wig, debating with Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood on the correct pronunciation of the word “scone.”

Like everything else on Earth, Bake Off has changed this year. In order to grant us our dose of wholesome joy and cakes, contestants have given up their lives, families and homes for seven weeks and will be living in a Bake Off Village on site. Five minutes in as bakers spoke about leaving their families, I was crying.

For a first episode, it had pretty much everything you could want. There was a tough techincal challenge where everyone’s cakes began to melt, and, joy of all Bake Off joys, there was a cake drop. When one baker knocked over another’s upside-down cakes before the judging, I felt more animated than I have since March. True to the wholesome nature of Bake Off, while the saboteur sobbed and eventually won the challenge which she couldn’t enjoy one bit, Dave, the man whose cakes had been knocked over shrugged it off. While on any other competition tv show, this would have led to us seeing Dave in front of a black background behind the scenes cursing her, the judges determined the state of his upside cakes based on his one leftover cake and everyone was happy.

For the final Showstopper challenge, bakers created celebrity busts out of cake, leading to the best thing to happen in 2020 since Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt reunited for a table read. There was a David Bowie bust with no neck, a melted Freddie Mercury and a very artistic take on Bob Marley. Bake Off’s pure and unbridled joy is more welcome now than ever.

Photography by The Great British Bake Off.

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