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14 September 2016

How will The Great British Bake Off change when it moves from BBC to Channel 4?

Our predictions.

By Eleanor Margolis

You’d think the Queen had died. You’d think someone had broken into the Pimm’s factory and pissed in all the Pimm’s. The public’s reaction to The Great British Bake Off’s scheduled move from the BBC to Channel 4 – minus stalwartly punning national treasures Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc – has been one giant, sunburnt shriek.

In all fairness, the likelihood of GBBO remaining delightful after moving from the realm of University Challenge and Flog It! to that of Naked Attraction and Made in Chelsea is minuscule.

New hosts aside, drastic changes to the gentlest programme on British television are likely. Here are some predictions:

A new lesbian

As the Prime Minister of the British lesbian community, Sue Perkins was probably too establishment for Channel 4 to begin with. Too “japes and scones”, to put it bluntly. But C4, ever keen on doing the “gay thing”, is bound to make a play for the hearts and minds of queer women. But with an edgier lesbian. Like Jimmy Carr.

Innuendo ceasefire

Why bother with innuendo when – being Channel 4 – you can air a close-up of a contestant’s hairy anus as he writhes atop a pyramid of Eccles cakes for some reason? GBBO, heretofore loved for its coy and old-school camp references to “soggy bottoms”, is likely to move in a more literal direction. Intercut, perhaps, with shots of Mary Berry looking scandalised and actually quite heartbroken.

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Unless innuendo is delivered via needlessly seductive voiceover

Come to think of it, why even bother with presenters (lesbian or otherwise) if the entire show could be narrated by Celia Imrie sounding oddly turned on? “Things are heating up in the croissant dungeon,” says Celia. There’s a croissant dungeon now.

Really Important Journalism

The bored nihilism of the new GBBO will have to be masked – in true C4 style – by a ham-fisted attempt at having a social conscience. Let’s take a break from “naked man writhes on Eccles cakes” and interview some people who are too poor for cake. “I’ve never tried cake,” says an 11-year-old with a pixelated face. “Dad spends all our patisserie money on machetes.” Gaze upon her squalor. Gaze. Simultaneously angry and titillated? Good. Back to a contestant called Brad chasing “the girls” around the studio with a baguette (pretending it’s his dick) while Mary Berry weeps softly into a Black Forest gâteau. Paul Hollywood calls Brad’s penis baguette a “strange, chewy mess.” Although his heart isn’t in it. His mind is on more elegant times.

Altogether less baking

“All this cake,” says a C4 producer, removing his Tom Ford glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. “It’s a bit… nice isn’t it?”

A “more Elephant Man vibe” is opted for. Days and days of footage of a man with seven-stone testicles kneading pretzel dough is edited into hours and hours of footage of a man with seven-stone testicles kneading pretzel dough. We never see the finished product. Did you see the nads on that guy though? Makes you think.

A dating element

Let’s face it, no one really wants to watch a reality show unless it’s made HD clear who’s boning who. Insert some pop science about baking and pheromones. There has to be some, somewhere. Let’s have Brad of baguette dick fame getting a “butter massage”, while blindfolded, off of someone who – to his horror – turns out to be Sean Lock. So is born The Great British Date Off. Which is basically just First Dates with added flour and swearing.

RIP cake. 

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