Thursday’s premiere of the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ saw a group of amateur pastry pushers start their 10-week-long attempt to woo celebrity chefs Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. The format was largely the same as previous seasons - apart from one major change.
The well-endowed squirrel from the last season who liked the flaunt his giant nuts had been replaced by a wild pheasant.
The drastic shift seemed to be too much for some viewers, and one even wrote a letter to the editor at Metro saying the alteration “made it unwatchable”.
“I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the mess the BBC has made of the Great British Bake Off; actions which I fear have rendered it unwatchable,” David Shand wrote it an email to Metro.
“Considering it has been so successful I cannot conceive of what possessed them to mess with the winning format to this degree.
“I refer, of course, to the unfathomable decision to allow the Bake Off squirrel to be replaced by a pheasant.
“Squirrel was the gel that held the show together. His silent but oh-so-telling commentary, his ability to break the tension with just a sideways glance, a chew of a nut... they were as vital as Hollywood’s stare or Mary’s soggy bottom.”
The writer then laid into the concept of the pheasant, saying it showed signs of “BBC elitism.”
“All the pheasant does is strut around mugging for the camera and ruining the flow of the show,” Shand added. “No charm, no subtlety. The show left in tatters. The decision to bring in a snooty pheasant smacks of the BBC elitism we had been promised was a thing of the past.
“I for one won’t stand for it. I demand squirrel returns, or I shall boycott the show entirely.”
And Shand wasn’t the only one who was put out by the loss of the show’s resident rodent. Lots of people shared their disdain for the pheasant on Twitter during the show’s airing on Thursday evening.
Speaking to the Sun, a spokesperson for ‘Bake Off’ said: “We simply work with whatever nature gives us, and this year it gave us pheasants.”
Sticking up for themselves, the BBC even responded directly to Shand’s original letter in the Metro:
And PheasantGate wasn’t the only controversy marring the show’s series six premiere - fans also found themselves arguing over whether or not Jaffa Cakes are cakes or biscuits.
Although the word “cake” is in the name, many people at home disagreed with the classification, and one even branded Paul Hollywood an “animal” for dunking the orangey treat into a cup of tea.
For the record, they definitely aren’t biscuits.