A few Things You Didn’t Know about the Great British Bake Off – Such as How It’s All Faked

GBBO was first broadcast in 1946; the first winner was the Duke of Rutland’s pastry chef Maurice Dufour; and in the late 1960s Mary Berry was once replaced by Marianne Faithfull.

You know when late summer has arrived because conkers are starting to form on the horse chestnuts, your eagerness to get the kids back to school has reached fever pitch, and another season of The Great British Bake Off (BBC1, Wednesdays) has begun.

If it feels like there has never, ever been a time when GBBO wasn’t on, this is because there hasn’t. Here are some key facts about our favourite telly comfort blanket you won’t find on Wikipedia.

1. Mary Berry has barely aged at all since the show’s first edition was broadcast in 1946 immediately after Muffin the Mule. Mary was 11 at the time and was chosen for her cut-glass vowels, her English rose complexion and her sweet nature, designed to counterpoint the earthy manner of her rough-diamond co-presenter Stanley Holloway.

2. Each series only lasted two episodes in those days because the amount of edible stuff you can make on rationed sugar and powdered egg is very limited.

3. It was known, snappily, as ‘Competitive Bakers’ and Patissiers’ Half Hour’. Holloway presented in black tie while young Mary wore a taffeta ball gown and a tiara.

4. Where today the programme seeks to recruit candidates from as broad a range of classes, age groups and ethnic backgrounds as possible, competitors in the first series came from a much narrower field. The first series was won by the Duke of Rutland’s pastry chef, Maurice Dufour.

Read the rest at the Spectator.


If the BBC Stops Publishing Online Recipes It Won’t Kill Anyone

Fortunately, the faded Eighties pop star and left wing activist Billy Bragg has been offering his views on social media. It’s a disaster, apparently. Yet another devilish plot by the sinister forces of the free market.

And it’s not just Billy Bragg who thinks this way. Mx Jack Monroe agrees with him – and Mx Jack Monroe (the artist formerly known as Ms Jack Monroe), as you must surely know, is probably Britain’s leading transgender, anti-poverty food campaigner, famed for her legendary kale pesto recipe and her brief unlikely stint as the face of Sainsbury’s.

So that settles it then. If Billy and Ms Jack are against it, then it must be a good thing. Not because they’re nasty or evil, but just because they are classic examples of Nanny State Britain: the kind of well-meaning fools who sincerely believe that the only way to create a better society is for yet more handouts from the public sector elite.

To listen to campaigners’ bleatings you would think the only place anywhere on earth you can find a decent recipe is on the BBC Food website.

And they’re right, up to a point.

We’ve most of us tried BBC recipes at one point or another – delicious cake from Mary Berry, yummy curries from Jamie Oliver, decadent creamy dishes from the lovely Nigella – and they’re tried and tested and they work.

But so they ruddy well ought to work: it’s not as though we haven’t paid for it all, to the tune of millions of pounds a year, via our compulsory licence fee.

The idea that the BBC is providing some incredible free social service for which we all ought to grateful for is a nonsense.

Read the rest at Breitbart.