Toby from Reading, you’re my hero. Anyone who can serve cake made with salt instead of sugar to Paul Hollywood with a straight(ish) face needs knighting. Hollywood’s reaction was priceless. Imagine a slapped silverback with regurgitated cake (and a disconcertingly small goatee) stuck to its chin. Thank God Mary Berry didn’t try it. She might not have survived.
My chances of surviving a full hour of your average TV talent contest are similarly low. But The Great British Bake Off (BBC2, Tuesday, 8pm), is different. True, Hollywood is just about as contemptible as Simon Cowell and the soundtrack of near constant masticating and licking of lips can be a little offputting, but this show has Mary Berry, Mel and Sue and cake.
But the real star was Toby. If you took Bernard Black (Dylan Moran’s character in Black Books) and subtracted the cynicism, added a dose of ineptitude, dusted him with flour and grated his thumb, you’d have Toby. As his rivals rustled up such masterpieces as Thyme Wildwood Cake and Grapefruit Sponge Sandwich, Tom blundered around in a maelstrom of dropped eggs and gouged fingers, apparently searching for a ‘thingy’.
It was compulsive viewing. But, alas, the salty Angel Cake sealed his fate. He was the first of the baker’s dozen in this new series to get the boot. “I’m going to give up baking and become some sort of anti-baking monk,” he said in his farewell interview, bewildered and dishevelled. What an idea! I say the BBC should give him his own series.