Anyone looking at Britain from the outside this week could be forgiven for thinking that following the post Brexit vote this summer, the madness has prevailed as we’ve all got ourselves into a right old lather about the defection of The Great British Bake Off to Channel 4…
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have been the first to say they’re not following the money – how refreshing for celebrities to have a back bone and stick to their morals. The rest of the fall out is yet to be known; I agree that it feels grubby that Love Productions have turned their back on the Beeb after it was the only broadcaster to give their baby a go, and then went on to nurture and and grow it. But the thing is, my biggest concern is what will happen to the show’s little sister, The Extra Slice.
Extra Slice is without doubt one of my favourite shows on telly. Jo Brand’s dry acerbic delivery has me sniggering all the way in to the weekend. The viewers cakes, where photos are sent in of their less than successful efforts, have honestly reduced me to tears of laughter.
My sister, who lives in Australia, and has her own reputation for Clare’s Crap Cakes (see main feature photo), misses out on Extra Slice, so I now find myself photographing the screen to send her the pictures. This week’s episode had a Lionel Ritchie cake that has haunted me ever since, as well as a demonic hedgehog, complete with a set of those teeth you get in pick and mix. I’ve kept that photo my phone so it can cheer me up whenever I’m feeling a bit sad.
Bake Off has spanned the generations, it’s rare these days for a programme to be able to do that. Having lunch with a friend this week, she said she had to get going, because she was meeting her 24 year old son whose main concern was getting back in time for this week’s (Batter week!). And that’s in an era of sky+ and iplayer. But he had to watch it live.
Whereas I’ll happily watch it on demand, but come Friday nights, I feel resentful if I can’t settle down for some Extra Slice.
So, Channel 4 I implore you. Never mind worrying about Mary and Paul, just please, please make sure Jo Brand’s on board and that the crap cakes live on. Because in these crazy times, I genuinely love the unadulterated fun of that show, and the laugh out loud half hour or so I get to have once a week. Go on, show us your bakes.