Review: The Great British Bake Off, Series 10 finale – bittersweet end to a divisive series

Tenth anniversary marred by quixotic judgments and unfeasible challenges. TV review by Jillian Chuah Masters

And that’s a wrap: last night concluded 10 years of The Great British Bake Off. This show is the nation’s TV equivalent of comfort food. In the past, it has stuck to a well-worn recipe — the result was fun to fight over but easy to love.

This series (on Channel 4) has been more divisive than most. The opening episodes delivered the usual comforts: dramatic spills, over-egged puns, and (most importantly?) some breathtaking baking. Arguably, this year’s contestants were less representative than usual, with more than half of the bakers still in their twenties. But they won us over quickly. Crowd favourites included goth queen Helena (with her spookily good Halloween bakes), loveable Michael (whose dimples conquered Twitter) and witty Henry (the church organist who promised to strip onscreen at least twice).

Despite a strong start, the cracks appeared early. Some technical challenges were unfeasible. Some judgments were weirdly brutal. Phil, the likeable truck driver, was axed sooner than he deserved. Then Helena was gone. Then Michael and Henry were gone, and the show took on that distinct feeling of a party where it’s getting late and your best mates have already left. It didn’t help that the hosts — Noel Fielding (quite tall) and Sandi Toksvig (quite small) — spent their screen-time squeezing the life out of one joyless joke. These minds gave us The Mighty Boosh and school us regularly on QI. Surely, on a baking show, they can still give us something to sink our teeth into.

Last night’s episode, the finale, was bittersweet. Continue reading