The Great British Bake Off 2016 – The Final

Firstly, you are all blinking amazing. Thank you for your support, your signatures, your offers of help. Everything you do makes a difference. I promise. I am currently talking to a nice man in the House of Commons Petition Department and I am hoping we can resolve some issues so that more of those paper signatures count. I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, let’s not bother with saving the world when we have the final of The Great British Bake Off to talk about. The final final too.

Oh God. It’s so hard to know what to say.

Let’s keep it simple. Firstly I think it’s absolutely fair to say that the right person won. Candice knocked it out the park in the signature and show stopper rounds and on the day everything came together for her. Including her lipstick, which was a fabulous shade this week.

Having said that, Jane and Andrew didn’t let up for a second and it was a tight race. I thought Jane might have edged it in the first round with a double handshake from Paul for her triple layer, summer fruits meringue crown. Candice only got the one handshake. Poor Andrew got none. Mind you, his crown was more of a feat of engineering than a heap of meringue deliciousness. It was a bit Forth Bridge. Spectacular but not particularly puddingy.

In the technical, which was to make the classic Victoria sponge, I thought Jane would win, and was really surprised when Andrew got it, and Candice came second. It levelled the playing field again. Also, hoorah for a technical that I would actually have been capable of baking. Indeed, me, Jenn, Nicki and Claire all texted at the same time to say: ‘We can do this!’ Although I would have been marked down, because I always go for a huge rise on my Victoria sponges. I like them to be vast and airy rather than flat and uniform. I don’t believe in uniformity in baking, which is one of the reasons I’ve never applied for Bake Off, that and the fact that I swear like a navvy.

The show stopper was less of a show stopper, as my friend Kim put it, and more of a marathon. Forty nine separate things to bake in five hours is horrific. Just horrific. I feel that they should have been equipped with energy drinks and sweat bands and silver blankets when they finished. It was gruelling to watch. I felt sorry for Andrew, who, even though he had a precision spread sheet, colour coded in five minute blocks, still managed to produce raw pastry. Jane, who was totally winging it and working on faith alone, also produced raw pastry, but this is to be expected in the circumstances. This is not a criticism by the way, this is exactly how I operate. I start following a recipe and method and then, half way through I get a bit bored and freestyle on the understanding that everything will probably work out ok in the end, and I’ve never actually poisoned anyone.

And then it was all over, and even though I got to see Candice’s pug dog, and Val and Selasi again when they were all milling around in a wet field, pretending to have a delicious picnic, it did not make me less sad. And even though I loved Candice’s shock and the strange little wiggling dance she did when they announced her name, it did not make me less sad. And I cried with happiness for Candice and I cried with sadness because it was all over and it really is all over, and nobody invaded the pitch.

Bake Off has given me six years of unalloyed pleasure. Through it I have made new friends, got my first mention on the BBC website, met one of the bakers, been made cakes by one of the bakers and bonded with people all over the world, simply through talking about cake. It has been responsible for some amazing moments in my life. I am bereft.

There will be killjoys who scoff. Let them. If someone feels the need to spoil someone else’s pleasure over something so simple, it says a great deal more about them than it does about the other person. There will be people who ‘don’t get it’. That’s their loss. There will be people who dismiss it as trivial. If you think that giving people pleasure in a world like this is trivial, I feel sorry for you. There is nothing trivial about happiness, or pleasure or joy. Yes, dammit, joy. You don’t have to understand joy. You just have to feel it, and be grateful.

I am.




20 responses to “The Great British Bake Off 2016 – The Final

  1. This is a beautiful post, thank you.

  2. Thank you! So true we all need more joy. I am poorly just now but GBBO always cheers, especially as I know your blog next day will make me smile if not lol!

  3. Ah Katy – I feel your pain. Although I was not a Bake Off fan I have been made equally happy by far more trivial things and felt bereft when they ended. You are so very right when you talk about the value of something that’s sole purpose is to give people enjoyment, we need more of this in our lives not less. Xx

  4. I can honestly say that I thought some weeks ago that Candice might win (but I did then proceed to vacillate about it as the series ebbed and flowed and was totally unsure for several episodes) and I agree with you that she was the correct choice. I admitted that through slightly gritted teeth last night, as she has never been my favourite – for entirely shallow reasons I was not proud of. But then she said “I can do it, I am good enough” and I completely dissolved. A reminder, where one should not have been needed, that we should NEVER judge on appearances (especially perhaps ones curated by TV producers). And that, no matter what the outer shell might be projecting, the person underneath is very likely a mass of nerves, insecurities and self-esteem issues.

    As for the programme itself, like you I will not be following it to C4. Unless the channel were to show it as an uninterrupted hour it could never be the same, even if my personal favourites Mel & Sue were going to be there. As matters stand, it is going to be unrecognisable and, having tuned in for a couple of weeks to the BBQ contest ITV did, I know it won’t be a format I can tolerate. The advertisers/sponsors’ needs will outweigh those of the viewers & every ad break – a fatal interruption to the rhythm anyway – will be topped & tailed by recapping from some voice-over. (I should say here that I also detest the voice-over on MasterChef, which totally over-eggs the importance of every tiny incident; it’s not just the commercial channels that can get it wrong!)

    I do hope the BBC will retain the Sewing Bee and show another pottery comp, but will miss Bake-Off. I suspect they will try to replace it somehow and will keep my fingers crossed for another good natured, lighthearted show. Frankly, the way things are going, we need the escape from time to time.

    Finally, thank you for your blogs on the subject. That’s how I got here, but I stayed to read your writings on other matters & have found, pretty much all the time, a like mind. I hope you’ll find another show to enjoy; please give us your thoughts on it when you do!

  5. i am so going to miss these delightful summaries; i have never watched the show but have looked forward to katy’s wit, enthusiasm, partisanship and excellent descriptive powers. i have felt the heat of the tent, the scorn of paul hollywood and the gin fueled comments of mary, the smell of burnt pastry, the roar of overheated ovens, all as if i were there. thanks katy, i’m sorry for your loss, but thanks for the memories.

  6. Sorry to throw a note of cynicism into the simple joy that is GBBO. Last night’s broadcast is likely to be the last for me as I don’t relish its new incarnation on C4, and apparently I’m not alone. But the new ‘owners’ of the brand say they don’t mind losing viewers as it will still be profitable for them. They don’t mind disappointing perhaps thousands of people? Why not?.

  7. We’ll all have to organise our own (commercial interest free) GBBOs

  8. we live in a bitter and cynic-inducing world. BBC has lost its ways, GBBO and DW and Torchwood as well have all gone for the money and the “global” audience, thereby killing the “great british” charm and uniqueness that made them attractive to start with.

  9. Although I didn’t watch GBBO every week, I watched it enough to know that, without Mary Berry, it will become a Hollywood extravaganza. In my opinion, there will be more bread than berries.

  10. “There is nothing trivial about happiness, or pleasure or joy. ”

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