Why Do 'Bake Off' Bosses Want It To Be The Next Love Island?
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Featured Image Credit: Channel 4
The Great British Bake Off 2019 contestants were officially unveiled today, and one thing jumped out straight away. They're all so millennial.
The series, which is set to return to Channel 4 next week, gave us a first look at all 13 of its shiny new contestants - who between them had an average age of just 31.
There's 24-year old fashion designer Amelia, 20-year-old hunky part time waiter Jamie and 26-year-old fitness instructor and theatre worker Michael. Oh, and 28-year-old geography teacher, Alice. We can't be the only ones who think the line-up sounds a little more like the next Love Island cohort?
Just a cursory glance at some of the stars' social media feeds reveals partying, Prosecco and posing selfies galore. Some of the stars already share their fitness routines with followers in true influencer style.
Of course, we can't know for sure what any of the Bake Off cast are going to bring to the show yet, but we can't help but think the programme is straying a little too far from its bread and butter.
Discussing the show recently, judge Paul Hollywood said: "Baking has become such a cool thing to do, and if you're a girl, a young lad, if you can bake, you'll get friends - always."
And with one sweeping statement, he identified the problem. Bake Off isn't about the young and trendy, it's about the quirky and wholesome characters who win our hearts as we watch their journeys unfold.
Take Terry Hartill, 56, who was a favourite in last year's cohort. Terry was warm and kind. Terry was nervous, and Terry was battling the heartbreak of losing his wife when his daughter signed him up to the show. When he was finally eliminated he cried about how Bake Off had helped him deal with the pain.
Or Val Stones, 68, who graced the tent in 2017, and had viewers in stitches with her adorable scattiness, dancing at the baking station, the fact she'd never heard of a Jaffa cake. She was also famed for her adorable unintentional innuendos, such as: "It's better to be wetter"? Val was absolute TV gold.
These are the sort of characters we, the British public, instantly give our hearts to. The sort of people who could make us sob if they put normal sugar in their bakes instead of muscovado.
It's not to say that the new batch won't have touching back stories and endearing personality traits, but with poor HGV driver Phil doing it alone for the elder contestants at 56, the cast don't exactly look like they've got a lot of life experience between them.
And to an extent that's fine - age is just a number after all. But at least give us a quirky but loveable contestant to work with please, Channel 4.
Take last year's winner Rahul Mandal, 31. He was practically a national treasure by the time he took the trophy, and that wasn't just down to his impressive skills in the kitchen.
Rahul was shy. Rahul was pure. Rahul doubted himself at first, but grew in confidence gradually as the weeks went on. Rahul definitely didn't take posey selfies to plaster on his Insta fans, and that's why we loved him.
Will a star with almost 1000 Instagram followers before the show begins kick off as spectacularly as Iain Watters did when their baked Alaska melts, or will they be too concerned about their following and their image?
And would anybody *dare* or to switch their custard with another contestant like Deborah did with Howard in one of the most scandalous moments ever to grace the tent?
What makes Bake Off so quintessentially British is these petty dramas, and the fact that contestants almost forget they're on screen when they're stressing over a tea cake.
The problem with hiring the young and relatable, like we see on any other reality show, is that they might lose this carefree nature and focus instead on being the perfect contestant.... and frankly, in 2019 we don't need any more wannabes.
We're more than happy to be proven wrong when the series begins, but we can't help but think that this year's Bake Off casting might not take the biscuit.