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Launch: truck driver Phil Thorne
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Launch: truck driver Phil Thorne

Launch: truck driver Phil Thorne

The Great British Bake Off: Channel 4

Rating:

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That is close to the knuckle! And I'm not talking about bakery Michael's pastry knife, which seemed to pick up part of a finger every time he lifted it.

It was the jokes that really cut to the bone when The Great British Bake Off (C4) returned. Judges and presenters dressed as The Wizard of Oz cast to launch the first episode, with Noel Fielding in a gingham dress like Dorothy and Paul Hollywood in a pack of silver cans, playing the Tin Man.

"I have no heart," Paul announced and quoted his character in the 1939 film. "Yes, that's not going to be a big shock to people," Noel replied.

It sounded like the comic actor with kohl eyes was wading the very public queue about the private life of Paul, after the 53-year-old divorce from bartender girlfriend Summer Monteys-Fullam, 24.

Although he is notoriously sensitive, Paul did not even return. Is he suddenly immune to the jibes about his ex, who dumped him so noisily after he tried to get her to sign a confidentiality agreement (what the lawyers call a & # 39; confidentiality agreement & # 39)? The answer to this puzzle was dancing in the wind outside the selection box. The daffodils were out … because this show started filming in April, when the thoughts of the summer still brought a warm glow to Paul's face.

Oh, stay on, Baking Tin Man. If you don't have a heart, your heart will never be broken.

Week one of Bake Off, now extended to 90 minutes, is always an exercise in getting to know the contenders, and this time the field is busier than ever, with 13 challengers. This was the reason for many comments about the Dozen van Baker, although for most younger viewers the old term for a link of 13 means about the same as the calculation of the budget in guineas and groats.

Theater manager Michael made sure that the camera noticed him. Every time he tried to talk while chopping, the knife cut into a finger.

By the time he reached the afternoon round, three of his figures were covered in plaster … and the next day he was wearing a plastic glove. Was he equipped with a prosthetic hand at night?

This is the youngest collection of bakers ever brought together for the show. Two of them, Jamie and Henry, were 20, and unlike previous years, there were no older women and only one guy who could even be called middle-aged. Judge Prue Leith claimed that the producers only intended to select 13 excellent bakers: "They are not set to find someone who is the right ethnic mix, or the right height, or the right age or whatever."

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This is the youngest collection of bakers ever brought together for the show. Two of them, Jamie and Henry, were 20, and unlike previous years, there were no older women and only one guy who could even be called middle-aged.

Does she really believe that? It must seem strange to her to look around the tent and see that of the six women, the oldest being Helena, 40, and the mother of a young daughter.

Essex truck driver Phil is 56, but we all know he's not going to win or even make it to the semi-final. There can't be room for two working-class men in the 50 in this show, not if one of them is Paul Hollywood. Because they were young, most bakers wanted to pay tribute to their grans, the standard trick of every participant in a reality show trying to capture viewers. Steph, 28, went even better and announced that her great-grandmother Rose was watching over her. & # 39; I feel like she was there, & # 39; she insisted.

Dressed like the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz (left), the judge kicked off the new series The Great British Bake Off last night with an appropriate quote: & # 39; I have no heart & # 39;

Dressed like the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz (left), the judge kicked off the new series The Great British Bake Off last night with an appropriate quote: & # 39; I have no heart & # 39;

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Dressed like the Tin Man in The Wizard Of Oz (left), the judge kicked off the new series The Great British Bake Off last night with an appropriate quote: & # 39; I have no heart & # 39;

Supernatural or not, the cakes looked eerily good, with show-stoppers containing a pirate's treasure chest that contained too many gold bars, a tropical island with a sugar waterfall and a fairground ride. The standard of cakes this year will clearly be exceptionally high: there is no baking here for beginners.

The English student Henry proved himself to be an old soul by tackling a 400-year-old recipe known as "wood cake." If he hoped for ancestors from the 16th century, perhaps his grandparents-ten grandmas, he looked down on him.

Fellow student Jamie also had a difficult time. He forgot to add his eggs to the batter mix. The camera let us know, with a zoom lens on the eggshell, accompanied by the clatter of a bell. That is the unmistakable sound for high drama in the gangster series Peaky Blinders from BBC1.

You would almost expect Paul to take a razor out of his mouth and warn you: & # 39; Do not omit the eggs … commissioned by the Peaky Bakers & # 39 ;.

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