THE BLOG

Great British Bake Off 2014 Episode Blog - Week 1

08/08/2014 16:34 BST | Updated 07/10/2014 10:59 BST

It's back! People kneeling next to ovens! Thinly veiled baking innuendo! Mary Berry going mad for any cake with a hint of alcohol in! Paul Hollywood's eyes staring through you into the depths of your very soul!

Yes, The Great British Bake Off is back for a fifth series and, as well as a change of location (from Somerset to Berkshire), there's also been a change of channel, so our dozen amateurs will be whipping up a storm on BBC One this year for the next ten weeks.

With so many people on screen, it's a little difficult to separate them all to begin with, but in the signature Swiss roll challenge, construction engineer Iain soon stands out with his technique of scoring his sponge to provide an easier roll, something Mary Berry immediately looks at with scorn. With his luxuriant auburn beard, Iain looks more like the kind of person who should be riding a unicycle through Dalston rather than working on a building site, and his disappointing apricot and basil Swiss roll puts him in the crosshairs before we're even half an hour in.

Playing the role of "bloke in a stereotypically manly job who you wouldn't expect to see in a kitchen" is builder Richard, who wows the judges with his intricately decorated strawberry and pistachio concoction. Later in the episode, he advances to the judging table with a pencil still behind his ear like he's "about to give an estimate," according to Sue. Just in case you didn't get how unusual it was for a blokey manly man to do baking. We're going to be pinned to the floor until we admit just how bizarre a turn of events this is.

For the show-stopper, the contestants have to make their way through a sparse recipe for Mary Berry's cherry cake. IT worker Jordan has schoolgirl hairslides pinning back his ponytail and comes bottom of the pile - he forgets to save five cherries from the batch for decoration as per the instructions, and he chops the cherries for the cake so small, they can barely be found in the sponge. When questioned by Paul, Jordan claims they maybe "evaporated". After seeming entirely zen throughout, unassuming Nancy wins the technical challenge, with a cherry cake that looks fit to be photographed for a book.

What really separates the best from the rest, though, is the show-stopper. This week, our twelve intrepid kitchen-voyagers have to make 36 miniature identical cakes. Fashion designer Chetna proclaims that a four-tier Victoria sponge apparently fits the brief of "miniature", and Paul Hollywood gives her a look as if she's just announced she's making earwax surprise. Graphic designer Luis has decided that the lemon syrup for his bake should be served in individual pipettes atop each cake. Now Mary's giving him the "earwax surprise" look.

Speech therapist Claire struggled in the first two rounds (she cried after the first one) and is determined to enjoy the show-stopper. Her cake, from the sounds of her description, is about 99% chocolate. With an hour to go, it's all gone wrong for Claire, and her chocolate cakes look like they've been used as attack weapons. She decides to practically start from scratch and spends the remainder of the show running frantically in and out of shot.

Nancy has brought a cake guillotine with her but is upstaged by Norman, who is a keen potter as well as baker, and has devised a contraption to push twelve cakes out of their holders simultaneously. He also served his signature Swiss roll on a home-made, ceramic skateboard. You know. As you do.

It comes to the end and the judging panel sing the praises of AS Level student Martha, calm Nancy and manly (he's a BUILDER!) Richard. At the opposite end of the spectrum, it's not looking good for hipster Iain, ponytailed Jordan and crying Claire, but who's out of the Bake Off tent after just one show?

Innuendo of the week: "I've been aware of Mary Berry for quite a while now, so I'm looking forward to having her tasting my wares". Norman isn't particularly backwards in coming forwards.

Star baker: Nancy didn't put a foot wrong all episode. That cake guillotine might have seemed a step too far initially, but her miniature sponges were precision.

Going home: Claire's miserable TV debut is capped off with her being given the chop. Everything seemed to go wrong for her and she never really got the chance to prove herself.

Next week: There's a 3D biscuit challenge. Jordan promises something involving a monster and a tower. Is it going to be King Kong themed? We can only hope.