THE Great British Bake Off is back, with new host Alison Hammond initiated into its sordid world of cakes and implied sex. These are the things she didn’t know:
We all camp in the tent
You’re not allowed to leave the tent once filming starts. You can stroll around the grounds but you’re sleeping under canvas, feeding off leftover confectionary for 12 weeks. It’s dark, cold and you’re disturbed at midnight by Prue getting another macaron. Fielding sleeps with a line drawn around his body in icing sugar and never disturbs it.
They make up to 30 cakes a day
Think the cakes on screen are the only ones they make? So did I, once. The team slaves away baking up to 30 cakes, roulades, cronuts, zabagliones, flans, tarts, all the fucking rest and that goes on for days. The heat is unbearable. Then they decide it wasn’t good enough and use CGI cakes instead.
Paul Hollywood is played by Daniel Day Lewis
When he said he was retiring after his third Oscar, he meant he was throwing himself into a new role so completely he would never emerge from it. The role of Paul Hollywood, the silver-haired Scouse shaker of hands who nobody would ever suspect was talented. He’s gone so deep he even votes Tory.
This year there’s a drugs week
Cannabis-laced brownies with a light mescaline glaze have always been a feature of Bake Off afterparties – it was Mary’s recipe – so we’ve brought in drugs week. Whether hash oil brandy snaps, LSD frangipane or opium puffs, we’ll be making it, sampling it, and staggering around off our tits.
The ghosts of Mel and Sue haunt the tent
‘They could not be allowed to leave,’ as Paul explains, ‘they knew too much.’ So I don’t know who’s out there but they’re in here, the unquiet dead dwelling in the proving drawers. They swap the sugar for salt, knock teaspoons off tables and weep ectoplasm into the jus. Fielding they’re fine with, he walks their dead lands.
Prue Leith is from the future
That’s why she dresses like that. Apparently altering timelines is a subtle business and she was sent back to do this to avoid a dystopian future. ‘Or they just wanted rid of me,’ she added, unsure.
It is a ritual to summon Lugh, god of the harvest
The old ways were not being observed, the old gods unhonoured. So under the guise of an evening light-entertainment format Love Productions created a ritual that would ensure good harvests year on year. Lugh – Celtic geezer – loves it. And when we do Celebrity Bake-Off that ushers in spring.