Film & TV Food & Drink

How Great is the new ‘Great British Bake Off’?

The move of our beloved Great British Bake Off from BBC to Channel 4 had sparked outcry, social media riots and branding the once-adored-by-many Paul Hollywood into the biggest snake that ever was. We said goodbye to British sweetheart Mary Berry, goodbye to the hilarious duo Mel and Sue, and goodbye to the Beeb. We didn’t quite welcome the news with open arms, it must be said. But, with 6.5 million of us tuning into the new series on Channel 4 last week, we did give it a try. Quench contributors Erin Cluskey and Alys Jones share their thoughts.

‘The overwhelming positive of brand new GBBO is that it hasn’t changed. We still gathered round our telly to watch wonderfully sweet, supportive contestants bake fantastic food in a pastel-coloured kitchen, and even compared past series with the new – the similarities between Flo and Val have not gone amiss.

The only differences between the Beeb’s version and Channel 4’s are the ad breaks and the presenters. As far as the adverts are concerned, they merely replace the ‘history of food’ segments, which is an improvement…you now have plenty of time to run to the shop and buy some Mr Kipling to feel like you’re really taking part.

The new presenters of Sandi and Noel may take getting used to, but Mel and Sue were already a double act before they graced our screens, so who can blame Sandi and Noel for being rough around the edges in comparison? Ultimately, Channel 4 recognise what a gem they have, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ 

Erin Cluskey

‘Bake Off’s move to Channel 4 wasn’t too disastrous – but that doesn’t mean it was good. The new presenters are the most obvious difference. Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding are not a double act, as they lack Mel and Sue’s comedic chemistry. Not to mention, Toksvig was Stephen Fry’s replacement on QI, it’s hard to see her as anything other than a stand-in. Prue Leith doesn’t balance Paul’s Simon Cowell-esque villain with the ‘sweet grandma’ character that Mary was. Speaking of Paul, why everyone’s least favourite the only presenter to stay?

The advert breaks are what really spoil Bake Off. Each challenge is condensed, making the whole programme feel rushed and giving us less of a chance to get to know the bakers. It also gives the opportunity for more targeted ads as both sponsors are baking products. Bake Off feels less like a wholesome end-of-summer-tradition and more like a shallow, commercial cash grab.’

Alys Jones

Catch up on the new episode here: