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‘Great British Bake Off’ Returns With an Ominously Brief Teaser

Cut to Paul Hollywood wielding an electric whisk a la Jack Nicholson in The Shining

Great British Bake Off Episode 5: Cthulhu arrives
Coming out of my cake and I’ve been doing just fine.
Great British Bake Off/Twitter

The baking tent isn’t giving much away this year

Fans greeted Great British Bake Off 2020 with immense relief. In the autumn of 2020, its trailer — sending up the flour shortages that had befallen the country in the early months of the novel coronavirus pandemic — came with a sense of balm, of comfort, of all the coziness the show has long-promised.

By the end, that soothing GBBO industrial complex was decisively punctured. The Great British Bake Off 2020 crowned its deserving winner, but a series punctuated by bizarrely inconsistent judging; a trenchantly awful reminder of its blinkered baking universe; and disquieting persistence with turning Paul Hollywood into a Judge with the hellish gravitas of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian left the show facing some existential questions. Who is this judging for, and what does it mean if it constantly leaves fans bemused? Why can’t the show stop othering and misrepresenting global baking cultures? How can the Hollywood handshake be decisively killed? And was it ever reasonable to expect a show that takes place in reality — coronavirus bubbles and all — to take its fans out of it?

So perhaps it’s fitting that the first teaser for Great British Bake Off 2021 is literally just a short of the tent with some ominous music playing. A show whose fuzzy sameness is — was — its calling card gives nothing away.

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