Burnt Offerings

Whatever has happened to the music hall grandeur of TV cooks?  We've gone from the Good Old Days Master of Ceremonies front of house style of-

"And I give you, la-a-a-dies and gentlemen..........The Galloping Gourmet!!!!!!"

(Gasps from the audience)

"The Flummery of a Flambee from Floyd!!!!!!!"

(Ooooooooh! from the audience)

"The Piscatorially Piscean Pleasures   .......("oooooooooh" from the audience) of .....Riveting Restauranteur......("aaaaaaaah" from the audience)....Mr.....rrrrrRick.......ssssStein!!!!!!!"

(cue wild applause from the audience),    

- to the down home, gently sporting competition of,  "The Bake Off".  A popular winner, Nadiya Hussein, wearing her untarnished BBC credentials, has her own series, while after a split loyalties meltdown, (BBC pure and good, Commercial TV tawdry and worldly) the programme itself has motored over to Channel 4, only Paul Hollywood's steely twinkle remaining of the original line up. 

It has its charms though.  Noel Fielding, in a series of kaftan like dress tops, swoops about with an impressive nose like a dipping bird's, towering kookily over the mock severity of a schoolmarmish Sandy Toksvig, playing at being small, which is her shtick, along with Danishness and talking about her wife and offspring on the radio.  Prue Leith is wearing such a huge pair of blue framed glasses that they cry out for audience participation and a catchphrase like,

"Should have gone to Specsavers!" being shouted out by them every time she comes on.

The emotional tone is at a less feverish pitch than the one the BBC Bake Offs ended on, where I almost expected, amongst the handwringing, weeping and breastbeating, a cry of:

"Dead! And never called me mother!", East Lynne like, over the corpse of a fatally collapsed technical challenge.

I am personally of the view that the tent ovens are rigged, as in every Bake Off episode, whether BBC or Channel 4,  someone peers dismally at a failed puddle of batter through the glass oven door, shaking their timer in disbelief and muttering,

"It never turned out like this at home."

This week's highlight was Russian winner Julia's incredibly phallic bread snail, which reduced Paul Hollywood to a helpless heap for some time, having to be called to order by Prue to pull himself together.  I'm looking forward to the next episode.  We've had biscuit week and bread week, so we're probably due gingerbread house week, cake week, or maybe, since this seems a less flight of fancy led starter for ten series, something properly old fashioned, a good old suet pudding, say, or maybe some blancmange shapes artistically  presented in town planning designs.  Whatever it is, although Noel and Sandy haven't got into the swing of their double act enough to seem quite relaxed with it yet, and rumour has it that Paul and Prue cordially detest one another, I think it's pretty much as enjoyable as the first Bake Offs and I shall certainly tune in next week to watch the participants pottering about with their colourings and flavourings and gamely trying to make sense of a fiendishly sketchy recipe outline.

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