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'Great British Bake Off': Is it the best reality show on TV right now?

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Have you found yourself running home from work on Tuesday nights? Do you spend Wednesday mornings discussing bains-maries and soggy bottoms with your work colleagues? Would you now consider yourself something of an expert at the fine arts of meringues, bagels and raised pies?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then, like Reality Bites, most likely you have been bitten by the Great British Bake Off bug.

Great British Bake Off, Desserts

© BBC



With strutting housewives' bit of crumpet Paul Hollywood, the twinkle in Mary Berry's eye, Mel & Sue's double entendre-laden patter and the gorgeous cakes, tarts, pastries and pies, this reality TV treat is an indulgent delight.

On paper, the show sounds like a quaint BBC Two daytime format that belongs next to a David Dickinson antique hunt and a repeat of Eggheads. But in reality, the show is a mixture of cosy, heartwarming fluff and strangely gripping drama.

It's been a tough old year for reality TV. Big Brother is becoming more and more predictable and unpleasant on Channel 5. Dancing on Ice is dying a slow death. The Voice launched with a bang and ended with a whimper. Even The X Factor appears to have lost its once-unstoppable sizzle.

Great British Bake Off 2012 contestants: Brendan Lynch

© BBC / Love Productions

Great British Bake Off 2012 contestants: Cathryn Dresser

© BBC / Love Productions



But with viewing numbers rising like a good souffle every week (five million plus at the latest count - which doesn't even include iPlayer), the Bake Off is going from strength to strength.

Where other reality shows are getting more desperate in their twists, melodrama and 'wacky' contestants, Bake Off thrives because it feels natural, the contestants look and act like people you wouldn't mind having round for dinner and there isn't any TOWIE-style acting, stupid tears or needless sob stories.

Great British Bake Off 2012 contestants: Sarah-Jane Willis

© BBC / Love Productions

Great British Bake Off 2012 contestants: James Morton

© BBC / Love Productions



Whether you watch to giggle along at #bakeoffinnuendo, for an ogle at some iced buns or because you genuinely want to learn why your cakes never quite turn out like the ones in the pictures in the cookery book, there isn't even the slightest whiff of malice, humiliation or cruelty.

When someone drops a pudding or if gooey, creamy goodness bursts out of a delicate pastry, you don't laugh at the heartbroken baker, you want to run into the TV screen and give them a giant bear hug and spoon-feed them some Mary Berry Victoria sponge.

Perhaps the ultimate accolade for the Bake Off is that Simon Cowell is already attempting to piggy back on their success.

Never one to miss out on a quick cash-in, Cowell believes he can match the Bake Off charm with his own upcoming primetime cookery format Food Glorious Food. Cowell has hired Loyd Grossman and will no doubt pull out all his usual bells and whistles to make it a hit, but whether he can find a magic recipe to match Berry and Hollywood remains to be seen.

Have you become addicted to The Great British Bake Off? Share your opinions on the show below!

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