Food porn? Pah. Why have that when you can have the real thing?
The finale of The Great British Bake Off (9.30pm, BBC2, Tuesday 4 October) didn’t just boast lingering shots of winner Jo Wheatley’s white chocolate and raspberry pistachio meringues. It also boasted lingering shots of nuts of a different kind, courtesy of a well-endowed squirrel (resident of the show’s parkland setting) that the cameraman decided to zoom in on. It quite put me off my Snickers!
But it did present some light relief in what was otherwise a somewhat anticlimactic conclusion to the eight-week contest. The Great British Bake Off has tapped into the comfort-eating zeitgeist so effectively that it’s been one of the biggest - if most unlikely - rating hits of the year.
As with all such competitions, though, most of the viewer’s enjoyment is derived not from seeing the fabulous concoctions whipped up by contestants but from seeing the fabulous cock ups (and deluded idiots behind them). When you get down to the last three competitors, who are by definition all pretty good, it can get a tad dull. And so it was with giggly Essex housewife Jo, nakedly ambitious Holly and “I’ve had my cake and eaten it” Mary-Anne - despite the best efforts of the squirrel.
First they had to make mille-feuille. You’ve heard of the big four. Well, judge Paul Hollywood was looking for the big three: “presentation, flavour and good lamination in the puff.” Mary Berry, meanwhile, was wondering how Mary-Anne would get on feathering her icing. YAWN. It was all so twee.
Things weren’t helped by presenters Sue Perkins, who was her usual perky (read irritating) self, and Mel Giedroyc, who frankly looked embarrassed to be there - and no wonder when the pair were making lame gags about the recipe for the Austrian speciality Sachertorte being deliberately sparse and in Austrian (a ha… ha).
The only real highlight was seeing Holly’s face when Jo’s final round petit fours were being eulogised over and she realised the game was up. She didn’t look happy - and will no doubt have been even more irked when she discovered Jo wasn’t the only one who had the balls to upstage her.