The Great British Bake Off – what it really says about ‘Britishness’

With Bake Off 2019 having just finished, how the 6.9 million viewers will fill their time on a Tuesday evening is a mystery. Whilst Bake Off might not be for everyone, it’s definitely an easy watch. As long as you like baked goods, next-level wholesomeness and slightly savage comments from Paul and Pru, then what more is there to get? 

With the political and social climate in the UK creating a wave of uncertainty and anxiety, the shows relevance may be questioned. However, surely a programme which is an advocator for perseverance, self-determination and belief, is needed now more than ever. Bake Off is so much more than a group of amateur bakers baking and being judged, it teaches us about how to deal with failure and to keep going even when the going gets tough. 

One cannot help but crack a smile when a fellow baker is showing their support for another. Whether that being encouraging words, a thumbs up, or helping each other move their show-stopper to the end of their benches (which sometimes proves to be a rather challenging premise), it warms your heart. The attitude of the bakers is one everyone should try to adopt in their everyday life as it harnesses happiness and success. With reality TV programmes usually bringing out the worst in people, Bake Off does quite the opposite: it gives people the opportunity to shine. The very fact that Bake Off’s cast is dominated by everyday ‘non-celebrities’, immediately makes the show relatable as the cast members haven’t been brainwashed by fame, but are just the regular boy or girl next door. You almost feel as though the bakers are your friends as you watch them progress from panicked preparation to presenting a masterpiece. As a viewer, you like to think shouting “you’ve got this” at the TV helped them produce that perfect bake and receive the highly longed-for Paul Hollywood handshake. An indicator that one has truly done well: such a humble act but valued so highly.  

On watching the much-anticipated Bake Off final, as ever, tears were shed at the sincerely modest and humble qualities of the bakers. The very fact that viewers are rooting for contestants that they don’t even know, is quite telling of how the programme brings out the best in all of us. With the underdog of the competition, David Atherton, becoming 2019 Bake Off Champion, it proves that being the underdog doesn’t mean one cannot succeed: a valuable lesson for life.

Above all, Bake Off puts a smile on your face – you can’t deny it. As soon as you hear the first few notes of the opening theme, never have assignment deadlines been temporarily forgotten, cups of tea made in frantic haste and either homemade or bought bakes whisked into the sitting room. The programme is quite simply a celebration of Britishness and a treat to watch. So, if you haven’t yet had the delight of indulging in an episode, set aside an hour, put your feet up and treat yourself – you’ll never look at a red and white gingham cloth the same way again.

Image Credit: Public Domain Pictures 

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