Ray and I stumbled upon this reality show a couple of years ago. What is lovely about it is that everyone on the show is so kind to one other. No undercutting among the contestants, no tackiness from the judges, just an, “Oh, dear, this cake isn’t quite as good as you could have done, is it?” This level of civility is such a refreshing change from the charged atmosphere of our world right now that it is a genuine respite.
The biggest problems usually revolve around under-baking, finger cuts, the occasional slip of a dessert or bread onto the floor, or the unforgivable lack of crunch for a biscuit, which is a cookie in the UK. The contestants are all amateur bakers who have qualified to be on the show and the prize is to be named the champion and receive a cake stand and a bouquet of flowers. No, there are no large sums of money or endorsements or cooking shows for the winner. Apparently, the pride that comes with being named the #1 amateur baker in the United Kingdom is enough.
This is a show to watch when you need to be reminded that there are plenty of people out in the world who are decent and normal and content enough with their lives that they can focus on baking. There are men and women of all ages and from all walks of life who compete. You’ll not only hear a variety of British accents and an occasional bawdy joke, but will also see more than a few minor meltdowns and moments when tears flow freely. But, overall, the general feeling of goodwill is the hallmark of the show.
So, if you need a series to help you decompress, then consider The Great British Baking Show. You will be surprisingly entertained and you might also be inspired to design a loaf of bread with a yin-yang symbol on top or to bake a cake sculpted into the likeness of a famous person you especially admire.
You can find the whole series on Netflix.