The Great British Bak(ing Show) Returns to PBS This Weekend

It was almost ten months to the day
The Great British Bake Off began to play
They were so currently in style
That BBC ratings couldn’t help but smile
So let me introduce to you
The bakers we all met last year
The British Bake Off Series 7 caaaaast…

It’s finally here, ten months after it premiered on the BBC–The Great British Baking Show Series 7…err, well, over here we call it season 4. Please don’t ask me to explain again, it’s complicated.

Since the show aired across the pond, many changes have occurred. Love Productions, who created the series (along with The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throwdown) attempted to shake down the BBC for a fortune, only to be laughed out of the room. In response, Channel 4 scooped up the rights to it instead, only to discover that the £25 million they paid (which is more that the yearly budget of some entire BBC channels) only purchased them an empty tent. They’d have to pony up more for Mary, Paul and Sue&Mel–of which it turned out only Paul was for sale. Mary Berry, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc were, to quote Sue&Mel’s joint statement, were “not going with the dough.”

Credit: Courtesy of Mark Bourdillon, © Love Productions

So it is with a bittersweet note that this airing of the final set of episodes in this iteration of Bake Off finally comes to the US. Will PBS attempt to pick up the new GBBO that Channel 4 is presenting in 2018? (Let’s hope not for their sake–one of the new hosts has already got a blackface scandal in the UK. There, it’s not a career killer. Here would be a different story.) Or will PBS hold off and see what Bake Off Knock Off the BBC comes up with that may very well feature Mary, Sue and Mel?

We won’t know until next year. All I hope is that the lack of any regular Bake Off this summer (there’s talk of a celeb edition to cover) in the UK will give everyone a chance to rethink the contract they put it under here in the US. Perhaps the BBC/Channel 4 will consider with the next one allowing PBS to air the show slightly earlier than almost an ENTIRE YEAR later. Or at least perhaps insist that PBS enforce a national schedule, Masterpiece Theater style, so that all of us Bake Off fans will be able to sit down and watch it across our public broadcasting stations and tweet together as a family.

Until that day, here, for your pleasure, is the cast of season 4 of The Great British Baking Show.

Credit: Courtesy of Mark Bourdillon, © Love Productions
Photo Credit must read
Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

From Left to Right above, and behind the judges:

Rav Bansal, 28, a Student support worker from Erith
Valerie “Val” Stones, 66, a Semi-retired, Substitute teacher from Yeovil
Tom Gilliford, 26, a Project engagement manager from Rochdale
Selasi Gbormittah, 30, a Client service associate from London
Kate Barmby, 37, a Nurse from Brooke, Norfolk
Lee Banfield, 67, a Pastor from Bolton
Candice Brown, 31, a PE teacher from Barton-Le-Clay, Bedfordshire
Benjamina Ebuehi, 23, a Teaching assistant from South London
Michael Georgiou, 20, a Student from Durham
Louise Williams, 46, a Hairdresser from Cardiff
Andrew Smyth, 25, an Aerospace engineer from Derby / Holywood, County Down
Jane Beedle, 61, a Garden designer from Beckenham

The Great British Baking Show supposedly airs on a national schedule, starting tomorrow, June 16th, of Friday nights at 9pm. But if you’re like my local PBS stations it might air anytime from Friday night at 9:15pm (MPT) to Sunday nights at 8pm just ahead of Grantchester* (on WETA). It may air one episode a week, it may sometimes air two episodes in a week, back to back, in order to get through them all before the August Pledge Week interruption. Just go to their website and check the listings yourself. It’s the only way to be sure.

(*Pssst: I’m recapping Grantchester for WETA at their tellyvisions blog. Check it out!)

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