The Great British bake Off is back!

And we’re off! Tuesday saw the first of this year’s Great British Bake Off and, as always, it started with a bang. 

I’m slightly stumped by the Bake-Off team’s decision to open this year with the 30-year-old Billy-Ray Cyrus song (that nobody under 30 will even remember). The ‘Achy-breaky heart’ sketch with Paul, Prue, Matt and Noel miming along, was barely amusing and only then in a slightly eyebrow-raising, bizarre way. Paul Hollywood lip-synced intensely; Noel appeared a little too comfortable as a crooning country rocker; Prue on keyboards looked very Willie Nelsonesque and Matt gave us his usual Little Britain innuendo filled facial contortions. It certainly didn’t quite come close to Matt’s fabulous ‘Bojo’ spoof speech of last year. 

Once we were introduced to the new contestants, it soon became clear we have some diverse and interesting characters to get to know. Guiseppe, with his perfect eyebrows and even more perfect mini rolls is my strongest contender (so far) for this year’s winner. Followed closely by German Jurgen, who seems to have already mastered a natural ability to produce good flavours. Crystelle is one to watch and, I predict, will bring us several slightly abstract creations using wacky ingredients, after using something called jaggery (sugar from a palm tree) in her first bake. 

An outsider could well be Maggie (Prue Leith lookalike). She has the benefit of many years’ baking experience under her belt, but whether she can cope with the pressure of the outlandish expectations which will inevitably be thrust upon her over the coming weeks – only time will tell. 

This season also has 19-year-old vegan Freya, bravely attempting to create her bakes without using any dairy products (good luck with that). Even she had to admit that “yes, well it really is a bit of a faff, isn’t it?” when describing to Noel having to use aquafaba (chick-pea water) in place of egg whites. 

The bake of this week’s show must surely be awarded to Crystelle for her showstopping bouquet. It looked exquisite and professional enough to appear in the final – in my humble opinion. However, this week’s showstopper challenge is the number one reason I myself will never be applying to appear on the show – the anti-gravity cake. Why? Surely these people have been brought together to display their stupendous skills creating delightful delicacies, not to build a construction reminiscent of something created in a school D/T lesson? 

Welcome back Great British Bake Off. Maybe Autumn doesn’t look so dreary now after all! 

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