Please note: There aren’t any spoilers here—the new season of The Great British Bake-Off hasn’t yet aired. If you are GBBO spoiler-averse, in future, please avert your eyes.
I was as disappointed as anyone else when The Great British Bake-Off jumped the Good Ship BBC for (still ultimately publicly owned) Channel 4. I just knew it was all over, this thing I loved—deep fatalism is so good about providing for instant, total, and complete resignation.
Acute tristesse was actually pretty brief—after all, TV is merely TV, a primordial blob from which capriciously emerges both the nearly sublime and the abjectly awful. A most undependable medium. Besides, Channel 4 already seemed a friendly place to me, home as it is of Jamie Oliver, who I like a lot. And the salient fact is Love Productions created and makes GBBO, no matter who’s doing the broadcasting. We can visit with the lovely Mary Berry during her own BBC shows.
So. The first reviews are in—I’ve linked a few below—but I already had a little good anticipation after seeing the GBBO Season 8 trailer, with a Paul McCartney song and animated baked goods. The spot garnered a surprising amount of offended-sensibilities opprobrium in the foodsphere, but I found it charming all ‘round, probably from being raised on the freakazoid stop-action claymation of Art Clokey’s Gumby, and Terry Gilliam’s Victorian clip-art mini-monstrosities for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I even have (measured) good feeling about the new cohorts for Paul Hollywood: years ago I picked up an excellent Prue Leith book at a used bookstore, I do not ignore that Sandi Toksvig has been vetted by the likes o’ Stephen Fry, and Noel Fielding was my favorite part of The IT Crowd. The best revelation has been the return of Extra Slice, the Jo Brand-hosted aftershow with cake-loving comedians, where the leaving baker is debriefed and audience bakes are displayed.
Some reviews… the tl;dr takeaway is it isn’t ruined. My aforementioned fatalism will be the judge of that, however. Here’s The Guardian, Radio Times, and the Telegraph for those interested in pre-game due diligence.