On Aug. 31, Season 8 of “The Great British Bake Off” (or “The Great British Baking Show” as the United States calls it) comes to Netflix, and it is a day that I and many others will rejoice. Although the show is currently filming its ninth season, only Seasons 4 – 7 are currently available on the video streaming platform. Netflix calls them Seasons 1 – 4, respectively, so Season 8 will be referred to as Season 5 (confused yet?).
The show’s charm comes from the incredible display of craftsmanship (bakemanship?) of the show’s contestants and their camaraderie, as well as the pastries themselves. In honor of the new season, it would be good to look back at the funny, heartwarming and sometimes chaotic moments that bring the show to life. Here are the top seven best moments in no particular order.
1. That time where they had to explain what hemp was to Mary Berry
In Season 5, contestant Howard Middleton made a tea loaf that used his locally grown hemp oil and dates. Although she’s well-versed in her alcohol, judge Mary Berry didn’t know what it was and asked.
The looks on the faces of the others were varied, but one of the hosts, Sue, grinned while explaining hemp’s other, more interesting uses. To her credit, Berry seemed unfazed. If you’re curious, both Berry and her other judge, Paul Hollywood, thought the flavor was too strong in the loaf.
2. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins
As glorious hosts of “The Great British Bake Off,” they never seemed to rest on their joking around while the contestants tried to accomplish mentally taxing work. Here to lighten the mood, Mel and Sue can usually be found eating the food, messing with the judges and making innuendo. As it turns out, there are many jokes you can make about having a “soggy bottom” on your pie crust.
But they’re also here for the contestants as moral support when things go wrong. Mel and Sue have no issue helping you try and knock muffins out of a tin or give you a hug when your cookie tower collapses seconds before time is called. Mel and Sue: They are the raison d’étre of the show, and they had so many good moments that I decided to just lump them all here.
3. All the chaos that happened to Howard
Poor Howard. Season 5 was ripe with weird events, and Howard seemed to be at the center of the mess. First, another contestant, Deborah, accidentally used his custard in her trifle. Some refer to that mishap as Custardgate.
Then in another episode, they were making English muffins, and Sue realized that she had been leaning on the table — or more specifically, leaning on Howard’s muffins sitting in the same spot. Despite the large elbow dent and Sue’s concerns, Howard was laughing. Even with these mishaps, he triumphed and went on for several more episodes.
4. Selasi, the newly self-appointed host
The wily Mel and Sue do have important roles on “The Great British Bake Off”: They announce star baker and send people home, announce each baking objective, and they let the contestants know how much time is left in each challenge.
Well, one contestant, Selasi, decided to try that last one out. “Bakers, two hours left!” Selasi called out, only to immediately have Mel and Sue verbally berate him.
“Are you doing me out of a job, mate?” asks Sue. “It was all we had!”
5. “The Male Judge”
In the fourth season of “The Great British Bake Off,” one contestant, Nancy, kept referring to Paul as “The Male Judge.” This continued halfway through the season.
At one point she did admit that she had forgotten his name at first, but then it kept happening. She actually won that season and oh, the jokes that were made about the winner who didn’t even know Paul’s name were absolutely hysterical.
6. Bad bake? Just toss it!
Things go wrong on “The Great British Bake Off” — that’s a fact. How the contestants react is less predictable, though. The best reaction to a bad bake was what Candice Brown did while standing in front of Mary, Paul and Sue. When asked about the cakes, she told them that they were like rubber. This prompted Paul to ask if that happened while she was at home, to which Candice said, “Once, yeah. And they went out the window.”
So of course, they egged her on. And without hesitation, Candice threw her rubbery sponge Frisbee-style at the tent window. Alone in my room, I applauded.
7. Nadiya Hussain’s Victory Speech
Nadiya is a national treasure for “The Great British Bake Off.” Not only a skilled baker, her facial expressions and personality won over the audience. When she won in Season 6, her speech made even Mary Berry emotional.
“I’m never, ever going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say maybe. I’m never going to say I don’t think I can. I can and I will,” a teary-eyed Nadiya said, holding her trophy and flowers. Because Nadiya is both Muslim and British, she has done interviews discussing how trolls ran amok on her Twitter and how she is not more or less British in any respect. Winning the competition helped confirm that for her and boost her confidence.
Even better, more is still to come to Netflix in the following year! The newest seasons will be added as they finish, and they are taking the real first season of “The Great British Bake Off” and calling it, “The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings.” It is only a matter of time before Netflix has all the dessert and comedy-filled moments you and I could ever crave.