Reality

‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Desserts

This week eleven bakers returned ready to take on whatever baking challenges Paul and Mary set before them. Or were they? Before we tackle all that, let me refresh your memory about last week’s results.

Ruby made an amazing comeback from week one and was chosen Star Baker for her consistently good bread making skills. Lucy, on the other hand, kept things too simple and came in last in the English muffin technical challenge. Unfortunately, she was ejected (albeit gently) from the tent.

Now in week three of the competition, a wide ranging category of bakes simply called desserts was featured. Isn’t cake a dessert after all? Perhaps it’s just a catch-all phrase for any sweet treat that doesn’t fall under a more specific bake like tarts or biscuits. No matter, our contestants had some difficult assignments to tackle if they wished to stay in the running.

‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Bread

Welcome back to our second recap of the most British of baking competitions… at least of the ones that are currently being shown on PBS that is. Before we head into the tent, let’s review last week’s results.

To recap, Robert was named Star Baker for his strong showing in both the signature and showstopper bakes as well as taking first for his heavenly angel food cake in the technical challenge. Toby, on the other hand, had a less than stellar debut. After coming in last with his salty angel food pottery blob and, being hobbled with injuries and incompetence, he produced a dry, disappointing chocolate cake. Toby, therefore, was sent packing without delay.

This time around there was less crying, fewer totally botched bakes (except perhaps when Sue put her elbow down on one of Howard’s waiting muffins) and a negligible amount bleeding. Overall the first week’s jitters had noticeably dissipated and our competitors seemed ready to show off their baking expertise.

‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Cakes

Before I officially launch this of new string of recaps with Sue and Mel’s famous battle cry, “On your marks, get set, bake!” please let me clarify something about the sequencing of the series. Last year, PBS aired their first season of The Great British Baking Show; however, it was actually the fifth and most recent series of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off. This year one might assume that we would be seeing the current series which is a little less than halfway through its run in the UK at the present time. Instead, PBS is going backwards to the fourth series of this British cooking competition and calling it Season Two. Got that?

Regardless of the particulars, this program is beloved here and in its homeland for several reasons. It’s addictive, entertaining and a civilized reality competition show. So no matter the order in which the seasons are broadcast, it’s going to be a delicious and occasionally tension-filled ride.

Now let’s get down to the business at hand for this season. Thirteen bakers have been selected out of over 10,000 applicants to take on the challenges set forth by our formidable judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. (Despite the unlikely nature of the monikers, both go by their given names.) Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are back in their capacity as comic relief, cheerleaders and comfort counselors.

I don’t have the time or space to introduce each contestant since for the first couple of weeks of the competition there will be a few standouts and a small number who will barely be around long enough for us to get their names straight. For now we’ll have to let this new crowd’s bakes speak for them.

'The Great British Baking Show' Returns to PBS This Fall!

Get excited, America – it’s time to start baking again! Another season of The Great British Bake Offor The Great British Baking Show, as it’s known here in the US - will kick off on Sunday, September 6.

For our lucky friends in the UK the latest season of Bake Off actually got under way last week. It’s technically their sixth season – the one we aired earlier this year was their fifth. However, you should know that the season PBS stations are about to air is not this latest effort – it’s definitely a bit confusing, but because since we’ve only aired a season of the cooking competition thus far, basically everything is new to us. Hence, it’s a new season! But, not the newest season, if that makes sense. (It just means we have more to get through in the end, is how I’m looking at it.)

Anyway, so here’s the deal: PBS will be broadcasting what aired as the fourth season of Bake Off in England– and calling it “Season 2” here in the States. Feeling confused? I hear you. But, luckily, we’re Anglophiles, so we’re used to the occasionally strange labeling tactics that get used when programs cross the pond. (Looking at you: Inspector Lewis and Foyle’s War.)

What I’ll Be Watching on Super Bowl Sunday: ‘The Great British Baking Show’

While many Americans are excited about the imminent Super Bowl extravaganza, I dare to suggest that not all of us plan to partake in the annual football classic. In fact, I have an alternative competition that just might have you on the edge of your seat rather than asleep in your recliner (if like me, the background drone of football games tend to lull you into a stupor, that is).

PBS’ latest BBC hit acquisition The Great British Baking Show, a program that pits twelve amateur British bakers against one another for a series of culinary challenges, has become a topic of Monday morning water cooler conversation for many Yanks. I propose it could well be the perfect viewing option for those looking for a compelling championship level event without all the big sweaty men. Well, there was that one episode where it was really hot in the bake-off tent, but I digress.

The following is my argument for watching The Great British Baking Show instead of the Super Bowl…

British Reality Hit ‘The Great British Bake Off’ Comes to PBS This Winter

The Great British Bake Off – the most watched show of the year in the UK and one of the most successful cooking competitions of all time – is finally coming to America this winter on PBS stations nationwide.

Re-titled The Great British Baking Show for US audiences, PBS will screen the recent fifth series of the popular baking competition, which will teach us all about “soggy bottoms”, a “good wobble” and the surprise horrors hidden in the seemingly mundane task of waiting for pastry dough to rise.

So, how does this show work? Let the official press release explain: Renowned British bakers Mary Berry, the U.K.’s “doyenne of baking” and a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, one of Britain’s top artisan bakers, serve as the series’ judges. Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur bakers by testing their competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts of all kinds, ultimately crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition.

The Great British Baking Show features 12 passionate amateur bakers whose goal is to be the U.K.’s best. The series follows the trials and tribulations of the competitors — young and old, from diverse backgrounds across Britain — as they work to prove their baking prowess. Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. PBS will present the BBC’s recent fifth season of the series, which received both critical and audience acclaim for its quick pace, lively comedic tone and competitor diversity.

Get a Behind the Scenes Look at Tom Hiddleston’s Trip Around the ‘Top Gear’ Track

What happens when you mix internet darling Tom Hiddleston with global phenomenon Top Gear? Something awesome, obviously. (We're only just past the second episode, but let's hear it for Series 21, yeah? Applause all around for the celebrity line-up thus far in my book.)

The Thor and The Hollow Crown star recently appeared as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car on the mega-popular driving series and did a lap of the Top Gear race track in a 1.6 Tech Line Vauxhall Astra. Sadly, this did not occur in a Loki costume, but I guess we can’t have everything.

There are glasses though, if that’s your thing.

Watch for yourselves below.

Go Behind the Scenes with ‘Downton Abbey’s’ Hugh Bonneville on ‘Top Gear’

Just in case you were wondering where Hugh Bonneville got off to during that episode of Downton Abbey where Robert was off-screen – well, it looks like he went straight to the Top Gear track.

The Downton star – best known for his role as uber-posh Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley – recently appeared on mega-popular driving series as the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car and did a lap of the Top Gear race track in a 1.6 Tech Line Vauxhall Astra.

Seems a bit of a comedown from the vehicles Lord Robert might have expected, but it’s likely that even a reasonably-priced car from today goes a great deal more quickly than their Edwardian era counterparts.

Here’s a look at a fun behind-the-scenes segment documenting Bonneville’s track experience, which is incredibly fun to watch. Bonneville is possibly even more charming than you might have otherwise expected, and his glee at just getting to drive a car really fast is palpable.

He also manages to drive the car off the course quite a lot.

'Top Gear' Series 21 Set to Premiere in America on February 10

Believe or not, the twenty-first series of modern classic automotive show, Top Gear, is airing this month. (It started this week in the UK and will make its way Stateside beginning February 10 on BBC America. And, yes,Top Gear is really that old.)

According to the 2013 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records,the series is “the most widely watched factual TV programme”; however; the Top Gear of today is a far cry from its regional motoring magazine beginnings. Did you know, for example, that the show originally began in 1977? And that it used to look quite a bit different from it current incarnation?

In fact, you might be surprised by just how much has changed

Read on for a bit of a history lesson - and a look at some of the show's best moments!

 

Watch the Trailer for Richard Hammond’s Crash Course

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said the following sentence: “I love Top Gear and I don’t even like cars!” I’ve certainly said it before, and I imagine the same sentiment will probably hold true for the latest addition to the Gearhead family, as well.

BBC America’s doing a new project with Top Gear star Richard Hammond, called Richard Hammond’s Crash Course, set to premiere in a little under two weeks. This isn’t a proper Top Gear “spin-off,” per se, more a distant cousin, I guess – but it does feature Hammond travelling all over the United States to try out driving some massive, dangerous and awesome looking vehicles, including a tank, a trash compactor, and an airport fire engine.

Click through for a look at the series trailer for yourself!

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