Great British Bake Off episode 2: The biggest talking points, including Paul’s first Hollywood handshake
The latest episode was quite literally a heated affair
Having miraculously survived not only last year’s switch from the BBC to Channel 4 – an announcement that shook the country at least as much as Brexit did – but also the subsequent loss of (the best) three of its four presenters, The Great British Bake Off has now settled into its new incarnation. Tonight’s episode, the second of the show’s ninth series, was a heated affair. Literally.
As we get to grips with the barrage of shiny new faces – each one still only afforded about 2.4 seconds of introduction, generally an irrelevant tidbit along the lines of, “Billy is training for a half-marathon and got a B in GCSE textiles” – here are some of the biggest talking points from episode two.
The heat wave
“Nobody in their right mind would be dealing with chocolate on a day like today,” said Prue, practically rubbing her hands together in glee. “But this is Bake Off, and they’re going to have to.” There were tears, there was an Eiffel Tower collapse, there was a cake so melted the plastic acetate had to be left on. Given that this has been the joint hottest UK summer on record, this is probably just the beginning of the heat-related carnage.
The first Hollywood handshake(s) of the series
There’s something a little nauseating about the growing status of the Hollywood handshake. Every time Paul finishes mashing a contestant’s delicate creation with his fist, stands silently for an eternity and then slowly proffers them a hand as if he’s knighting them on the spot, his face becomes a little smugger, his chest a little more puffed. Frankly, that the contestant then practically collapses in grateful astonishment only serves to feed his over-baked ego. But the truth is, the Hollywood handshake is a big deal – and Dan’s black forest tray bake earned him the first of the series.
It’s still early days, but Rahul is the current frontrunner for most adorable contestant of the series. “Look at everyone’s!” he said wandering down the tent, his cherubic face lit up in admiration as he gazed at his new friends’ bakes. “It’s just pretty and pretty and pretty. Pretty and pretty.”
Someone had to pick up the innuendo slack now Mel and Sue have gone. So far this series, the mantle has not fallen to the new hosts, Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, but to the contestants themselves. It began with a conversation about size between Ruby and Dan, and descended into declarations such as, “I’m gonna have to caramelise my nuts a little bit,” “It’s way too stiff now,” and “That’s a full sack.” The thing is, once you’re in the euphemism mindset, even the most innocent of statements – “I’m just putting my drizzle into my cake” – starts to sound a bit wrong.
Jon’s Hawaiian shirt habit
You might have assumed (hoped?) that the bright Hawaiian shirt Welshman Jon rocked last week was a one-off – an attempt to dazzle on his inaugural appearance. It was not. He wore one again tonight. He also made a cake with a Hawaiian shirt-themed chocolate collar. Then during his VT, he opened up his wardrobe to reveal an entire shelf of the things. This is only the beginning.
Will she be referring to her bakes as “he” throughout this entire series? It is making me uncomfortable.