TV Highlights

What's on Wednesday 5th August

The Great British Bake Off

BBC One - 8pm

Who's in it?

Spatulas, rolling pins and piping bags at the ready, because the Bake Off is back, with Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry all set to inspect the relative sogginess of various bottoms.

In a nutshell

Stressed? Fed up? Sick of it all? Then settle down in front of The Great British Bake Off, which isn't so much a TV show as a portal into another world. A happier, sunnier, cakier world, of doilies and vintage tea cups, of tents and bunting and witty trivia expertly delivered by Mel and Sue. Everything's OK in Great British Bake Off land. Except when someone's pastry isn't quite right, and Paul Hollywood does that thing with his eyes (he doesn't actually do anything with his eyes beyond looking, but that's intimidating enough).

You know the drill by now: healthy competition between lovely people who all get on really well, inevitably including a few jolly mumsy types, a trendy hipster lad (this year we have a musician in a hat), an impeccably radiant and ridiculously young person who seems to hail from a universe of muffins and pastel-hued bicycles (step forward 19-year-old art history lover Flora) and an unlikely burly bloke who is there to remind us that real men bake too (this year we have prison governor Paul, who could pass for Mr Hollywood’s brother). First up it’s cakes, and the showstopper’s a real retro treat.

What's the verdict?

In a few short years, the Bake Off has become as essential to our national character as crumpets, chicken tikka masala and Dame Judi Dench. In other words, to not watch it is an act of treachery against Queen and country. Cor, it makes you proud to be British, it does.

Record The Great British Bake Off now on Virgin TV Anywhere

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07-07-2011