Before I get into this week’s review, we have to talk about The Great British Bake Off. You’re doubtless aware that the BBC has been outbid for it by Channel 4. The BBC’s Six O’Clock News gave it deadly serious headline status, ranking it just behind the parliamentary boundary review and several items ahead of the Labour leadership contest. A woman interviewed in the street said: “It’s a real shock … It’s part of our constitution.” She was talking about Bake Off, not Parliament. No one watches that.
Fair enough. People like the show. But isn’t the fact that it’s liked the very reason why the production company can auction it off to the highest bidder? And why not sell it to lefty, edgy Channel 4? Are people worried that Jon Snow is going to host it naked – live from a foodbank?
It’s not as if Bake Off fulfils the BBC’s Reithian commitment to entertain and educate. The occasional discussion about the historical origins of meringue hardly makes it Panorama. One suspects that BBC branding, however, does give it snob value – and that’s what the fans will really miss. Much as University Challenge would never be the same if it was sold to Channel 5: “In this picture round you’re going to see pages torn from a topless calendar. I want you to name the month …”
Miss December would presumably have Cold Feet – and that pun brings me nicely to the eponymous ITV show (Mondays, 9pm). This story of bed-hopping friends started way back in the 1990s and while the actors have grown old, their characters still behave as if they’re 25. The scripts are witty, the acting good. But as June Whitfield once observed in Absolutely Fabulous: “Nobody likes a frisky oldster.”
Just as I have no patience for an adolescent that thinks it’s old beyond its years, I also have no time for people who refuse to grow up. If aches and pains force me to act my age, I expect the same from everyone else. And the only thing the Cold Feet crew should be doing in bed is watching Bake Off with their hair curlers in. Unless it’s on Channel 4, of course. One does have standards.
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