The New “Great British Bake Off” Maintains Pre-Existing Level of Lesbians

Feature image sanditoksvig.com

The UK is in a state of limbo right now. Exactly how fucked are we all going to be once Brexit hits? Is Scotland going to get another independence referendum? Why does everyone keep writing articles about what’s going to happen when the queen dies? Nobody knows the answer to those questions – not even the guy whose entire actual job is to know, in the case of Brexit – but one grave uncertainty that’s been looming over the nation has finally been cleared up. The new line-up for The Great British Bake-Off has been announced. Bake Off is dead, long live Bake Off.

As you’ll already know if you’re reading this, last year saw the BBC lose its rights to the Bake Off and the show snapped up by Channel 4. Beloved purveyors of cake-based double-entendres Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins and everyone’s favourite grandma judge Mary Berry chose to leave the show rather than move channels. That left us with ‘peacocking manchild’ Paul Hollywood as the only remaining member of the cast and months of wild speculation as all of Britain’s TV columnists hypothesised over who would join him in the Bake Off tent.

Shockingly, it turns out that Miranda Hart and her mother aren’t actually going to be on hosting duties. Instead, we have a line-up that hits every base from ‘I thought that had already been announced weeks ago?’ to ‘what’. But who the heck are they? Let me introduce you:

Sandi Toksvig

I am incredibly happy to announce that the producers of Bake Off clearly made it a priority to maintain the show’s pre-existing level of lesbians. As we all know, Britain only possesses three lesbians: Sue Perkins, Clare Balding and Sandi Toksvig. Balding was obviously too busy interviewing dogs to answer Channel 4’s calls, and so it fell to Toksvig to step up to the plate. Born in Denmark with a British mum, she went to Cambridge and was part of the legendary Footlights line-up that included Dr House, Nanny McPhee and the disembodied narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks. Since then, she’s become ubiquitous as a presenter and panelist on the BBC’s comedy output. In 2015, she quit presenting The News Quiz after almost a decade in order to help set up the Women’s Equality Party, a wet blanket of a political party for middle-class women who are annoyed that their daughters aren’t being promoted fast enough. On the other hand, she lives on a houseboat with her wife! Isn’t that adorable? While we’ll all miss Sue Perkins, Toksvig is probably as good a replacement as you’ll get, and this is the first piece of news that hasn’t left me actively dreading the new Bake Off.

Noel Fielding

And then there’s this. What in the fresh hell, Channel 4? Did anyone really predict that Mel Giedroyc’s role on Bake Off would be filled by a nominee for the 2009 Shockwaves NME Hero of the Year Award (he was beaten by Barack Obama, but did take home 2008’s Best Dressed Award)? Honestly, I’ve never been able to get my head around Noel Fielding existing outside of Camden Town in the mid-noughties. By all rights, he should be forever trapped in 2006, partying with the Klaxons on an endless loop until the end of time.

But anyway. Fielding is a surrealist comedian, best known for writing and starring in the TV show The Mighty Boosh, which was a cult hit in the US and entirely defined the teenage years of a generation of weirdos in the UK. This is an incredibly odd choice. I’m half-expecting Fielding to do all his pieces to camera in interpretive dance. Would that be a good thing? I don’t even know anymore.

Prue Leith

Somehow, swapping out Britain’s best-known lesbian for Britain’s second best-known lesbian wasn’t Channel 4’s most obvious choice. To replace Mary Berry, 81 year old Le Cordon Bleu educated food writer, they went for Prue Leith, a 77 year old Le Cordon Bleu educated food writer. She’s best known for founding Leiths Cookery School and was a judge on the Great British Menu from when the show started in 2006 until last year. Thanks to the BBC showing an omnibus every week at peak hangover time, I’ve watched quite a few episodes of the show, but I can’t remember a single thing about her. That’s not a great sign, folks. I asked for further opinions, and the only comment anyone had was that she had ‘quite a harsh voice, like she always sounds like she’s criticising something, even when she’s not?’. Her skill at making puns about pastry therefore remains unknown.

If you’re not British and you’re still confused, don’t worry – none of us have any idea what’s going on here either. Hey, at least that’s in keeping with everything else right now.


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Heather is a British developer, designer, and writer. She lives in London with her girlfriend and their two cats, Frida Katlo and Amelia Purrheart. You can find her awful puns on Twitter and her writing on tech and pop culture wherever good opinions are sold.

Heather has written 10 articles for us.

32 Comments

  1. 8

    yeah i really hope noel peppers his judging with stories like his character from the mighty boosh, speaking wistfully of the cakes he ate while being raised in the forest by bryan ferry.

  2. 4

    Noel and Sandi have been together on QI and seem to get on OK. They don’t have the history of working together that Mel and Sue do and it will definitely be weirder but that will be OK.

    Prue Leith on the other hand… ok, she’s not a peacocking manchild (wonderful turn of phrase, thank you) but where Paul and Mary did a kind of Good Cop, Bad Cop routine in the judging, I can’t help thinking it will be more Bad Cop, Worse Cop. OK, Great British Menu is professional chefs, usually working in Michelin-stared kitchens, and they aren’t in the room to face the feedback directly, so maybe she’ll tone it down for the tent where it’s face-to-face and to amateurs, but I can’t help feel there will be tears…

    • 2

      Hi Pollywog:
      Not saying it’s not possible and that being married to a man automatically means you are straight, BUT, I did look up Mary’s info on Wikipedia and found this: “Berry married Paul John March Hunnings in 1966.[3] He later worked for Harvey’s of Bristol and sold antique books. He is now retired. The couple have three children: Thomas Alleyne March, a tree surgeon, and Annabel Mary March (married to Charles William Dan Bosher, a master builder), a mother of three who went into business with her mother to market salad dressings. A second son, William John March, died in 1989, in a car accident aged 19 while a student at Bristol Polytechnic.[32] Thomas and William both attended Gordonstoun School.[6] Berry is a patron of Child Bereavement UK.[33]”

      • 4

        Wow! Thanks for doing that research, Donica. For some reason, the first two sentences in the Prue Leith section seemed to imply that Mary Berry and Prue Leith are both lesbians. But I’m just a sad American trying to vicariously live through GBBO as our orange dictator rages on, so what do I know. Thank goodness we have pleasant British television and Autostraddle.

  3. 10

    I love Noel Fielding and even I can’t see him doing bake off.
    Although to the fair the only thing I. Can see him doing is standing ooutside Julian Barratt’s house and begging him to take him back

  4. 4

    “Britain only possesses three lesbians” WHAT ABOUT RUBY TANDOH, MY DEFINITELY REAL LAWFULLY-WEDDED WIFE AND FORMER GBBO FINALIST?

    Toksvig is a good choice but I’m still not going to watch this new iteration.

  5. 3

    Wow, so many conflicting feelings about this one! On the one hand Sue and Noel are the British comedians I am most attracted to, so if they’re taking away one it’s only polite to bring in the other.
    However, I’m not sure anyone can replicate the chemistry between Mel and Sue (or Mary and the cakes, for that matter).

  6. 1

    lol this is such a weird group of people they’ve rounded up. I will give the show a shot but I refuse to accept it’s Great British Bake-Off but instead some spin off. If they make this show competitive instead of a lovely group of people supporting and encouraging one another tho I’M OUT.

  7. 1

    Of the Three British Lesbians, Sandi is definitely my favourite. Clare Balding is insufferably posh and I’ve never forgiven Sue Perkins for her execrable sitcom about a vet. Please don’t hurt me.

    Also, Noel Fielding looks eerily like my ex-girlfriend, so I count him as an honorary lesbian.

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