The Great British Bake Off (or, in America, Great British Baking Show) is undergoing a transformation; whatever may happen to its tone, the next series will not feature Mary Berry as judge, and hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have also departed, leaving…Paul Hollywood as the one leftover from the original series. Oof. So those who have fallen for the almost effortlessly surrealistic and dissonantly pleasant charms of Bake Off (even with Hollywood serving, as a foil, his weird purpose as the token aggro pastry-splainer) have likely been curious to see what, exactly, the new series will look like without MVP Mary Berry and with a presumed remodel. (Mary Berry’s role is being filled by Prue Leith, while Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig are taking over from Perkins and Giedroyc.) The first trailer for it may tell you a lot — or may not tell you anything.
It features a herd of stop motion pastries singing Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus’s 1983 song “We All Stand Together.” There’s no footage of the baking or the hosts or the judges or the show itself. But, if we’re assuming the promotion is any reflection of what the actual series will look like, indeed, it is surreally pleasant and very re-watchable, but not in that seemingly accidental — or at least nonchalantly intentional — way that the BBC version was. But those are some fun singing pastries.
With the move to Channel 4 (who bought it from BBC for a hefty sum), the show — which became the unlikely most popular series in England, given its sleepy, hardly-competitive nature and lack of Black Mirror-y contemporary alienation on view in a lot of British reality TV — seems like it is, indeed, undergoing tonal changes. Jay Hunt, the chief creative officer at Channel 4, said a while back that they were giving it a “modern” update and likely avoiding the type of silly innuendo-filled wordplay humor Giedroyc and Perkins brought to the experience. (Part of what made the original so great, of course, was the fact that it lacked reality TV frills — like an obnoxious tension-inducing electronic score, or any attempts whatsoever to seem cutting edge — and that its humor was, indeed, composed entirely of earnestly delivered, terrible, hardly-naughty pastry puns.) Perkins described her reasons for leaving as a “complicated brew” but also joked:
We were running out of puns…there’s only so many in the tank. We had a Croatian bun and I announced really loudly that it had split and I thought we had sunk to the very very bottom of what is possible. Every bap pun, every Hungarian ring pun had been mined and mined and mined.
Hunt said that “the show is modern in terms of its comic take and a lot of the humour will come from Noel [Fielding’s]’s surreal twists,” and so, alas, the trailer looks to divulge one such twist. Watch:
I’ll follow Eater’s lead and put the trailer for the last season on BBC here for comparison: