The Great British Bake-off Controversy

What’s this Great British bake-off all about, then? Why on earth is it appearing on the radio news? Pardon me for being oh so cynical, but is the programme made by the BBC, by any chance? And was the news broadcast by the BBC? No, surely not. Surely they wouldn’t advertise their own programmes, would they?

The first controversy should be the name of the programme. Go on, say it slowly, out loud. The Great British Bake-Off. The Great British bake-off.

A more pretentious name for a cookery programme I can’t imagine.

What does it mean? Is it a bake-off in Great Britain, or is it a wonderful British bake-off? Don’t tell me it’s deliberately ambiguous – it’s a cookery programme!

And now we have the shock of a contestant being accused of cheating, of taking her rival’s ice cream out of the fridge so it wouldn’t set! And then she disappears from the show “because of her health”. Who’s writing the script for this? It sounds like a letter from the H R department.

“Unfortunately, we have had to let you go . . . “

I am amazed that people think this says anything at all about the character or actions of the ‘bakers’, but it does say a lot about television.

Years ago, I watched the first reality tv series, called “Castaway”, about a group of people supposedly cast away on the Scottish island of Taransay. The cameras then followed their group dynamics as they tried to solve their practical problems.

It was heady stuff. It was good television, and I was hooked.

Not long after it was all over, the truth started to trickle out. About gagging clauses in contracts, and characters being deliberately set up as ‘baddies’.

I felt tricked and swindled. Betrayed. And I have believed nothing on television since then.

Isn’t it amazing, how the cameras are always there at the crucial times? What a stroke of luck, eh?

I am constantly thinking of the phrase that Owen Meanie, in the book by John Irving uses as his most vitriolic insult, “Made for television!”

So, when I heard today that it was all in the editing, that she moved the ice cream for 40 seconds so she could put her own creation in the fridge, and that it made no real difference, I rolled my eyes to heaven. Why are we ever surprised?

It seems most of the world now is “made for television.” Just don’t get square eyes!



About stevehobsonauthor

I am blind, and I hate it. It stinks. But life is still sweet. I have multiple sclerosis, and that stinks too, but life is still sweet. These are my musings.
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3 Responses to The Great British Bake-off Controversy

  1. Esme says:

    I really enjoyed your blog about the great british bake off (note the deliberate lower case!), and your remarks about reality tv. I have never taken to it I must say. I remember reading a who-done-it set in a reality TV house and that opened my eyes considerably as to what went on behind the scenes. And I am certainly not into cookery programmes either, of which there are umpteen. Despite this fact we are still becoming a nation of obese people, not eating healthily or with moderation. Do you think we should bring back rationing? Cheers Esme


  2. Jean says:

    I remember “Castaway” well and enjoyed it in a masochistic way. Kept wanting to leap in and give people a good slap. It was supposed to be a terribly remote island but it’s only a mile off the coast of Harris so I felt a bit of exaggeration went on there too.


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