If you haven’t yet discovered the pure, wholesome, countryside joy of the Great British Baking Show, please go to Netflix RIGHT NOW and add it to your queue. It is quite possibly the most good-natured reality TV show known to man, with some weird English foods thrown in for good measure.
For the past 4 seasons we’ve escaped to a tent in the British countryside to see who among 12 home cook has what it takes to become Britain’s best amateur baker. The cooks test their skills with 3 challenges per episode, and make everything from cakes to pastries, biscuits to breads, tarts, pies, and whatever the hell Baked Alaska is (I still don’t know after 4 seasons).
But from what we can tell from the new trailer for season 5, the sweet show we know and love has changed course into some strange food coma-induced nightmare.
The trailer takes Paul McCartney’s song We All Stand Together and merges it with personified food, in a video that will make you rethink ordering dessert.
According to Eater, the Great British Bake Off (as it’s known in the UK) has announced several shake ups for season 5. The first change is a channel switch up, in which the show is moving “from the genteel BBC One network to the splashier Channel 4.” This could explain why the unsettling trailer makes the show look like it’s taking a hard left turn, from grandma’s cottage to Roman Polanski’s weekend estate. We Yanks get our fix of the GBBO on PBS and Netflix, so it’s unclear what exactly the channel switch means for the overall atmosphere of the show. But I can only imagine it must be something akin to moving a show like Fixer Upper from HGTV to Bravo.
As if the trailer alone wasn’t enough to put us off, the show’s co-hosts, comedians Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, were sadly given the boot. Mel and Sue were true gems of the show. When they weren’t throwing around amazingly spot-on cooking puns, they were adding their own signature good humor to the daily challenges. In addition to their playful banter with both contestants and judges, Mel and Sue were tasked with the unfortunate chore of announcing the home cook leaving the show each episode. You could tell these two actually cared about the contestants and were genuinely sorry to see them go, a rarity in reality television.
Additionally, the show is also losing the affable co-judge and cookbook writer Mary Berry, which is another punch in the gut.
Are these reasons not to watch the new season on PBS? Of course not. In fact, a beacon of light could be that one of GBBO’s replacement hosts is comedian Noel Fielding. For those not familiar with his work on British cult classics The Mighty Boosh and The IT Crowd, please watch the “Old Greg” sketch. We’re intrigued as to what he’s bringing to the kitchen table (hopefully it’s Bailey’s).
It seems the only thing familiar to current fans will be returning judge Paul Hollywood, who I’ve come to think of as the slightly less surly Simon Cowell of the baking world.
With all these shake-ups will the show at least keep it’s famous “On your mark, get set, bake!” call to action? We’ll just have to wait and see.