First up, we need to discuss Prue’s necklace. Not the first time. This week, it seems, Prue was doing her bit to eradicate the environmental menace of plastic straws, by stealing them all from the catering truck and making a necklace out of them.
Next, Noel’s hair. Now I know that a lot of you have lost your minds about this. All he’s done is replace his long, slightly girly hair, with shorter, slightly girly hair. He’s joining Prue on her planet-saving mission, but reducing his shampoo requirements. He’s got some way to go to match my shampoo requirements though, as I’ve not had to buy any for 24 years now, apart from Lidl’s new Bush Shampoo. Talking of Bush, Noel has black hair, and brown sideburns. My missus has deduced that as his hair seems to be getting lighter as we go lower, then he must have ginger pubes. I didn’t want to think too much about it, so I’ll let you lot imagine that for a moment or two while you admire The Fielding, looking as if he wants to headbutt Paul Hollywood.
It should be noted here that I thought about applying for this series, and got half-way through the application form before they started asking for photos of my bakes. I had none, so this would have involved baking shit-loads of cakes, breads and biscuits in a very short space of time, and then take pictures of them. Also, I’m pretty sure that anything I bake wouldn’t sit well with the Slimming World plan I’m on, and I didn’t want to have to explain the 6lb gain every bloody week. So I couldn’t be arsed to finish the application in the end.
Now, here are my first impressions on the 12 people who could be arsed.
We have Briony from Bristol, who, the voice-over told us, was a stay-at-home mum to a human and a dog, so that’s pretty impressive, if only because it’s genetically impossible.
Dan was introduced to us next, and seems that he’ll be this year’s forgettable contestant, unless he does something unique and memorable. His first bake, which were like Jammy Dodgers, turned out to be more Jammy Dodgy, and Paul was unimpressed.
Manon, born and raised in France, now living in London, decided to make Cornish biscuits. She instantly became one of Paul’s favourites, because she has tits.
Ruby, apparently, “likes to pack a punch in the ring,” and at no point did I snigger. Promise.
Rahul is a Nuclear Scientist. That’s about it really. He likes to talk a lot, which is unfortunate, as his voice could cure insomnia.
Imelda, a former teacher from Northern Ireland, now spends her days on the banks of a lake, attempting to skim stones with her son.
Luke is a Civil Servant for the Department of Education, which sounds like so much fun, it’s a wonder he even wants to do anything else. But he does. He’s a DJ in Sheffield.
Antony loves a bit of Bollywood, and even managed to rope in Sandi for a few moves. He had a bobble-headed gonk mascot on his bench, which the camera kept panning to, so it’s probably more charismatic than Antony.
Jon likes sailing. Great shirt.
Karen is a Grandmother from Yorkshire who looks and sounds like she’ll take no crap from anybody.
Terry is a retired Air Steward, who now does arty things and rides a horse. The horse only moves when a camera isn’t pointed at it.
Kim-Joy is unique. A kind of David Gest/Porcelain Doll Anime hybrid, she got the idea for the flavour of her first bake from her favourite hair conditioner.
Karen finished hers well within the time limit, and as the remaining stragglers rushed to help each other out and offer encouragement, she sat watching them and eating crisps. Legend. I like Karen.
The first challenge was a simple one, where they all had to make regional biscuits. Most of them went for some sort of shortbread, and the stand-out was Manon with her “Cornish” biscuits. I’m questioning this, because I’m half Cornish (the top half) and the best Cornish biscuits are Fairings, not bloody shortbread!
Anyway, not sure if this is common knowledge, but Manon has been on a cooking show before, something called The Box with professional Yorkshire Twat James Martin (no, I’ve never heard of it either.) That might be why she appears more relaxed than the others. Or Paul Hollywood has spiked her drink in the hope that he can do something with her Le Box himself when they’ve finished filming.
Right, onward and upwards(?) to the second challenge! Bakers had to recreate the Wagon Wheel, the classic lunchbox favourite and cause of childhood obesity since 1978.
Terry, one of the oldest contestants, remarked on how Wagon Wheels have shrunk since his youth. Sandi pointed out that it may well be because he had smaller hands when he was a child, so everything looked bigger. Terry responded that he wished he still had small hands so things looked bigger, and they moved on before it turned into Carry On Baking. “Ooh Prue, I’m having trouble with my floppy piping bag.” “You need to hold it firmly in the middle.” etc…
This was more familiar Bake Off territory, with a handful of contestants knowing what they were doing, while the rest of them panicked, struggled to make marshmallows, overbaked biscuits and then poured chocolate over everything in the hope that it would cover the carnage. Some of the finished products looked less Wagon Wheel and more Tractor Tyre, and chocolate coverage ranged between half an inch thick (Karen Crisps) and still liquid (half of the others.)
Best Wagon Wheel award went to Ruby, with Briony 2nd and Manon 3rd, despite having never heard of a Wagon Wheel. Or Wheelie Wagon, as she called it.
Showstopper time. Interesting challenge this week. Biscuit Selfies, to be displayed on an easel. This could go really badly. Fingers crossed.
Prue introduced the challenge; “If they don’t taste like the best biscuits we’ve ever eaten, they’re not going to get anywhere.” So, no pressure then.
Rahul made a portrait of his first walk in the UK when he arrived seven years ago. He was surrounded by flowers and greenery, so I’m guessing he didn’t land at Heathrow. He had a blueprint for the design, on about 38 pages and worked his socks off to get it done. Paul’s verdict? “Can tell it’s you, because of the chubby face.” I’d have responded with “Fuck you” but Rahul was far too polite.
DJ Luke produced a picture of himself in front of the Las Vegas strip, based on a lads’ weekender he’d had with some friends. He didn’t elaborate, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Apart from Gonorrhoea, that shit comes home with you.
Ruby wanted to bake a selfie of her greatest achievement; completing the London Marathon. Her second greatest achievement would have been to complete the bake, but she didn’t. we were left with a disembodied head and a gold medal.
Daddy Dan then presented his masterpiece. Time for him to do something unique and memorable, to avoid obscurity. And there he was; apparently, he says, he is holding his newborn baby in Palm Springs, California. Shame that he actually looked like he was holding a magnificent penis, or possibly fisting a naked mole rat. You decide.
Former teacher Imelda seemed to base her selfie on the artwork her 5 year-old pupils do.
Two contestants made pictures of themselves up mountains. Manon was on Mount Fuji, and Antony was on Kilimanjaro. At least, it was supposed to be Antony, but looked more like Osama Bin Laden. After he was shot.
Artist Terry freed his inner Vincent Van Gogh to recreate his face in 3D, using brandy snaps and buttercream. It was about as fragile as Michael Jackson’s actual face, but not as inedible. The finished result looked like a proper painting, but fuck it was terrifying.
Kim-Joy’s selfie, at a Japanese Temple, was full of vibrant colour in the background, although Kim-Joy herself was whiter than a hotel towel.
Karen ignored the brief, and instead produced a picture of a Future Gok Wan.
The whole finale looked like a giant game of Guess Who? Literally in some cases.
First one booted off the show was Imelda. She came, she saw, she burnt stuff.
Star Baker this week was, unsurprisingly, Manon. Whenever Noel said her name, I wanted to burst into The Muppets classic; Manon, Manon, do do do do do, Manon, Manon, do do do do.
The show ended with the usual congratulations, commiserations and hugs, with Paul scent-marking all the females like some sort of dirty Scouse Silverback.
Episode 2 is all about the cake.
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