Now that #DowntonDay2015 is knocking at our front door, what better way to begin your Sunday evening appointment television viewing this Winter than with a dose of the BAFTA award-winning British television baking competition, The Great British Bake Off, as your lead-in to the return of Downton Abbey. Officially to be re-titled The Great British Baking Show for PBS broadcast, which begins on Sunday, December 28 at 8p ET/7p CT, the series features cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood as judges along with series hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins as they search for the best amateur baker amongst the 12 contestants. Mrs. Patmore would be so proud!
- Signature Bake Challenge – a bake using a tried and tested recipe that the amateur bakers make for their family and friends testing each bakers’ personality, creative flair and baking ability
- Technical Bake Challenge – a bake where each contestant is given the same recipe using the same ingredients and recipe provided by the judges Berry and Hollywood. The recipe however is intentionally sparse and has missing instructions, as it is designed to test the knowledge and skill of the bakers. The bakers are not told beforehand what the challenge might be. The judges also judge this blind as everyone has been given the same recipe, and the judges then rank the bakers from worst to best
- Showstopper Bake Challenge – testing each bakers’ depth of skill and talent, this ‘showstopper’ bake is designed to impress the judges. What the bake looks like is also taken into consideration meaning it must be not only taste first-class, it must be both impressive and elaborate
The British comedy writing duo of Perkins and Giedroyc bring a much-needed dash of naughtiness to the kitchen, as they tease and encourage the bakers while serving as comedic foils to judges, Berry and Hollywood. Produced by Love Productions in the UK, The Great British Baking Show is a perfect lead-in to Masterpiece’s “Downton Abbey” and, to me, is a perfect fit for PBS, who has since the early days of Julia Child, provided cooking and food shows that are both entertaining and educational. The Great British Baking Show premieres Sunday, December 28 at 8:00pET / 7:00pCT on PBS. Check local listings in your area.