Sweet treats


Spoiler alert! (If you’re iPlayering). I’ve never been a fan of reality TV, or talent shows. Mebbe it was a memory of boring nights, drying my hair in front of the fire and watching New Faces and Opportunity Knocks of that ilk, pungently accompanied by the ominous melty fumes from my nylon dressing gown, that put me off. But watching a ventriloquist move his lips followed by an magician-by-night/welder-by-day killed off small patches of my soul. Even my undiscriminating eyes found the spectacle a bit hard to take. All that desperate need for recognition, sharpened by the prospect of oncoming redundancy in a post-industrial age. Ah, ’twas no fun in the dark days of 70s light entertainment.

But one necrotic patch of my soul was brought back to life last night, by the Great British Bake Off: Celebrity Comic Relief. Kirsty Wark re-creating the Old Man of Hoy in sponge cake has to be one of the weirdest, silliest and most rewarding things I’ve ever seen.

The silver medal goes to Ellie Simmonds’s face, taut with tamped-down frenzy, while she piped buttons onto her guardsman cake and resisted sketching out exactly where Mel Giedroyc could shove her questions about tumble-turns. Ooh, they’re very competitive, those Olympians, aren’t they? Which is more than half the fun. What wouldn’t I give to see Lance Armstrong, smudged with flour, toque awry, being dressed down by fat Paul beside a sagging, leathery sponge. The cake never lies, Lance, the cake never lies…


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