Next up from the TCA in Los Angeles comes word that The Great British Baking Show will return to PBS this Summer beginning in June. The series, which has run in the U.K. on BBC1 as The Great British Bake-Off, follows amateur bakers from diverse backgrounds who tackle culinary trials that increase in difficulty as the competition unfolds. In each episode, challenges come in three categories: a Signature Bake, to test the contestants’ creative flair and baking ability; a Technical Bake, in which challengers receive basic recipes with ingredient lists and minimal instruction; and the Showstopper Bake, designed to display depth of skill and talent.
As with earlier series, the newest (and final) BBC series of GBBO, will feature bakers judged by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, two icons of British baking. Berry, alone, brings nearly 60 years of cooking experience to the table while Hollywood is one of the U.K.’s leading artisan bread makers. The comedy duo of Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc will also be back as the series hosts who keep the contestants and judges grounded, providing the right balance of humor, support and naughtiness.
While this, technically, will be the fourth series on PBS, the June broadcast on PBS will be the seventh and final series broadcast on BBC1 back in 2016. Paul Hollywood will move on with the series from Love Productions to Channel 4 next year with Mary, Sue and Mel staying put at the BBC for a new as-yet-to-be-named baking venture.
Credited for reinvigorating interest in baking throughout the UK, The Great British Bake Off quickly became the most-watched program on BBC Two before moving ‘upstairs’ to BBC One for their most recent series. Each episode sees each amateur baker compete by having their skills tested on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts. Each competitor is presented with three challenges before one unlucky baker packs up their cake plate and gets voted out of the kitchen until the 3-baker contestant series finale decides the winner. For those new to the official ‘Baking Show’ rules and regs, the three challenges we mentioned briefly earlier are:
- 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
As with past series, the winner will ultimately be crowned the UK’s Best Amateur Baker. Mrs. Patmore and Daisy would be so proud! The Great British Baking Show is a perfect fit for PBS, who since the early days of Julia Child, has provided cooking and food shows that are both entertaining and educational. See you in June….