A Guide To Emotional Healing After The Shake-Ups At The Great British Bake Off
Life after Mel, Sue, and the BBC.
With the news that co-hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are leaving The Great British Bake Off after it moves off the BBC at the end of this season, we fans of the show find ourselves at a crossroads.
It was startling enough to learn that the series was changing networks in the midst of its astoundingly successful run. When Project Runway did that, bouncing from Bravo to Lifetime, the series changed for the worse in several ways. The aborted attempt to film in L.A., for instance, and the egregious increase in product placement (hello, Red Robin challenge!) made it seem like the new home didn't understand what made the old home work. It was easy to imagine Bake Off going the same route, particularly since it was obvious the studio behind the series was jumping networks in order to make more money.
The departure of Mel and Sue only intensifies the perception that whatever comes next, Bake Off won't be the same show anymore. Can we really trust a new network that couldn't even keep two key players, especially when those players implied they were disgusted by the cash grab?
Honestly...who knows? At this point, it's all spin and press releases, which means we're in the emotional stage of the process. Until we actually see whatever Bake Off becomes, we have no idea if it'll continue to work or not. Maybe the only change will be the hosts. Maybe everything else about the show will be the same. Maybe we'll miss Mel and Sue (of course we will!), but maybe their replacements will quickly seem irreplaceable, like Rebecca on Cheers. I hope that's the case, because I love watching Bake Off.
Even so, however, it's sad that this initial era is coming to an end. Change is always sad! We have to feel those feelings.
But here's the thing: Even if Bake Off goes immediately downhill, we'll have still had seven great seasons of a uniquely wonderful series. We only got 19 episodes of My So-Called Life and even less than that of MTV's reality series The Paper, so we shouldn't spit in the face of our blessings!
Or I should say...British people shouldn't spit. Because we Americans have never had an easy time getting access to this show anyway. The first two seasons are available on YouTube, thankfully, but Season 3 is really hard to find. It takes a bit of (ahem) international travel to see Season 4, and Netflix only has S5. Meanwhile, PBS treated the recently aired sixth season like an unwanted relative, hiding it on weird nights and sometimes doubling up on episodes in a single week. Compare that to the tongue-bath they gave Downton Abbey -- not to mention the subpar American version of the Bake Off that was hosted by JEFF FOXWORTHY ["note: it was 'sub'-the original, but still decent" - ed.] -- and it's clear that our networks never knew how to love this show in the first place.
So maybe after the upcoming changes, the BBC seasons will be easier for Americans to see. If that's the case, then the dark cloud will have a yummy layer of frosting around the edge.