Monday 16 July 2018

The first reviews are in: Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off rises to occasion

Critics said that the much-loved former BBC1 show had barely changed.

Great British Bake Off ( Love Productions/Channel 4/Mark/Press Association Images)
Great British Bake Off ( Love Productions/Channel 4/Mark/Press Association Images)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

It could have been a very expensive mistake but Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off has received a wealth of warm reviews, based on advanced screenings.

Critics have given a thumbs up to the first episode of the revamped show, bought for a reported £75 million by Channel 4.

The Daily Mail’s Sarah Rainey wrote that episode one was “like being wrapped in a warm, comforting blanket”.

The Great British Bake Off stars

It was “most remarkable for one thing. Despite having all that cash thrown at it, it hasn’t changed a bit,” she wrote.

“The tent is the same, the bunting is the same, the challenges are the same, even the pastel-hued mixing bowls are the same.”

Of new presenting duo Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, and judge Prue Leith, Rainey said: “If you squint a little, they could be the same old familiar faces, making the same innuendo-laden jokes about ‘soggy bottoms’ and ‘firm buns'”.

The Huffington Post’s Matt Bagwell wrote of Fielding and Toksvig: “They’re not Mel and Sue, but they are as brilliantly subversive, irreverent, naughty, warm and bloody hilarious as their predecessors, but with their own unique twist.”

Richard Bacon (right) with judges and presenters for The Great British Bake Off (left to right) Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood at Channel 4 studios in central London. (Francesca Gosling/PA)

Michael Hogan in The Telegraph gave the first episode five stars and said that Bake Off retained the same “flavoursome confection”.

“In happy conclusion, dough devotees can rest easy. Mary, Mel and Sue might be gone but the show’s recipe remains as winning as ever. Good bake,” he wrote.

And Mark Lawson in The Guardian said that programme-makers were “having their cake and eating it”.

While there appeared to be a “firm turning down of the knob that controls smutty puns”… “based on episode one, only someone desperate to dislike the re-plated show could argue that one of TV’s greatest successes has soured, spoiled or binned its recipe.”

:: The Great British Bake Off begins at 8pm on Tuesday August 29 on Channel 4.

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