I am the first to admit that I am totally out of touch with what’s on telly these days. Line of Duty, Peak Blinders, the X Factor, Poldark, Britain’s Got Talent, I’m a Celebrity – I have never seen any of them. I must make for miserable company when someone says, “Did you see (insert name of anything that was on last night)?” The answer, unless it was a programme involving sport, trains or aeroplanes, will almost certainly be “No!” Today, the question could well be, “Did you see the Great British Bake-Off last night?”
No, I didn’t see the Bake-Off last night. I like the odd cookery show – Rick Stein or the Hairy Bikers on a good day – but watching people bake cakes? Really?
It doesn’t help that I can’t stand Sandi Toksvig. I never could stand Ms Toksvig. It’s nothing personal, though. I can’t stand her posh accent, doubtless acquired at some private school or other, but worse than that I don’t find her remotely funny. I have the same issue with her fellow host, Noel Fielding, who I find as funny as the burning orphanage. Add to the mix, a camp scouser in the middle of a midlife crisis, Paul Hollywood, and someone called Prue Leith, there is little to attract me to the show.
Having not actually seen a full episode, I cannot pretend to understand the format, although I am aware that it revolves around members of the public making cakes and judges saying whether they are any good or not. I would literally do anything other than watch such a programme.
TV cookery is the new rock and roll. The main networks fall over themselves to show us people cooking things. Where I used to watch Tiswas, as an adolescent, I can now watch the Yorkshire chef James Martin cooking things. On Sunday morning, there is a show on Channel Four called the Sunday Brunch, where Tim Loveloy and another scouse chef whose name escapes me interview celebrities whilst watching them – yes, you’ve guessed it – cook things. I was told some time ago that legendary American rocker Alice Cooper was once interviewed whilst cooking something in the studio. That’s just surreal and, in my eyes, very wrong. Can you imagine Michael Parkinson chatting to Billy Connolly whilst cutting open a large fish before frying it? Yet, millions love the Bake-Off. Why?
It doesn’t matter. People like it because they like it, nothing more, nothing less. I’m not really interested in watching anyone cook, let alone random members of the public, but to millions it’s what they live and breathe for. Good luck to them. For me, thank god for BBC 6 Music.