12 Fun Facts About Your Favorite British Baking Show
A couple weeks ago we were looking for something to watch together as a family on a Saturday afternoon. I flipped on The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake Off as it’s known in England) on on Netflix and within 5 minutes we were glued. There actually happened to be an exact doppelganger of my mother-in-law as a contestant who won the first challenge so the kids had a fun time yelling, “Grandma! Grandma! GRANDMA!” and cheering her on.
The show is a fun cooking show in England where they create their “bakes” in a tent, a fancy tent mind you, but a tent nonetheless. They have two cheeky hosts, an adorable, sweet little old judge named Mary Berry, and a really cool male judge named Paul Hollywood with icy blue eyes you can’t look away from! Just their cool names enough make you want to watch the show haha.
In general, it is a very positive, classy cooking show. They don’t scream and throw profanities at the contestants if they do something wrong. They critique harshly, but in a polite, respectful way you’d expect from any proper Englishman.
Anyway, here are some really fun, behind-the-scenes tidbits about the show I thought you might enjoy:
The staff bake a Victoria sponge cake in every oven every day before filming. They do this to ensure the ovens are in perfect working condition.
Professional chefs need not apply for the show. Entry is restricted to only amateur bakers.
All the dish washing is done by hand, but not by the contestants. Because a dishwasher would be too loud to run while filming, the show employs extra staff just to wash dishes.
Bakers buy all their own ingredients, which can get pretty pricey for them.
Bakers are told to flag down a cameraman any time they want to put something into or take something out of the oven so it can be filmed. Those moments are crucial!
Paul wasn't the showrunners' first choice to be a judge on the show, and it was Mel and Sue who recommended Mary as the other judge. What would we do if we couldn’t stare into those icy blue eyes every episode?!
It takes 10 weeks to film the show, but it's typically only filmed two days a week. While often it's shot on weekends, allowing the bakers to keep up their typical lives during the week, that's not always the case. Filming also takes up to 16 hours a day!
Bakers find out what they need to bake for the show beforehand. They have time to prep and practice and get their recipes approved by the show.
The application process is extensive. It starts with a multiple-page application form, followed by a phone interview, then followed by bringing a couple bakes to London and having an in-person interview. If you've made it this far, you then have to do a technical bake on camera and bring along a bake from home. If you make it through all that, you have to see a psychologist to be sure you can handle the stress of filming.
There's little animosity between bakers. The show actually encourages them to be friends.
Producers are on standby in case a baker gets stuck or needs a little help. The show really wants its bakers to succeed!
Someone is on standby at a nearby store in case a baker forgets an ingredient. Unlike many American cooking shows, where if you don't have all your ingredients you just have to deal with it, Great British Bake Off makes sure its bakers have everything they need to achieve their bakes.
Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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