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The Great Comic Relief Bake Off: More Soothing Than a Bath in Buttercream Icing

Posted: 29/01/2013 18:20

There's nothing more relaxing than baking... but only if it goes to plan. I once managed to make a pizza base that was so yeasty, lively and glutinous that it tried to eat the wooden spoon I mixed it with. It subsequently moved out to forge a career as a local DJ.

If you're a baking incompetent like me, it's a lot more relaxing to watch other people cook. Even more so if they're National Treasures™ like Olympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds, comic legend Bob Mortimer and, er, Duncan Bannantyne, who bought a lot of buildings and put some rowing machines in them. Give the man an OBE.

Oh, he already has one. Never mind.

Another soothing thing about this celebrity update to the already calming Bake Off format is the fact that it's for charity. Throughout the strangely zen-like scenes of stirring, celebs putting cake mix into the wrong containers (the sink/their own hair/the floor) and setting custard slices on fire, viewers were regularly encouraged to text BAKE to 70005 and donate £5 to Comic Relief. You should too.

We also got to see the results of some of this fundraising via Lorraine Pascale's Ghana videos, which saw the cook and presenter visit some of the many projects funded by Comic Relief. It was all very heart-warming and added to the overall feeling that the viewer was taking the televisual equivalent of a bath in a vat of pink buttercream icing with glitter sprinkles.

The celebrity contestants all put on a good - and very funny - show, with Ingrid Oliver's Paul Hollywood face cake singled out for particular praise. I haven't seen such a blatant attempt to suck up to a judge since Matt Cardle's weeping offer to fellate Simon Cowell in return for a guaranteed place in the 2010 X Factor final (ok, fine- that didn't actually happen, but how on Earth do you explain it?).

My only criticism of this noble, baking based competition is that it wasn't actually that competitive. The series aired over four nights, and each night a celeb was crowned Britain's Next Top Baker and given the ornamental apron of glory. But that was it. It would have been great if they'd ended with a 'champion of champions' final episode, which may or may not have seen Martha Kearney from The World At One rugby tackle newsreader Kirsty Wark in a heated row about the political implications of Battenberg cake.

Although Mel Giedroyc did a great job of presenting, I was also saddened by the lack of Sue Perkins. However, that's not unexpected given the fact that I am - to date - the only person she's had to take out a restraining order against due to my repeated insistence that the jokey banter we had once about our 'Twitter marriage' was actually legally binding.

Love you, Sue. I'd definitely eat your face-cake.

 

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