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Last week, I talked about the fourth season of The Crown, including some of my memories of 1979 and the early 1980s. Tina reviewed The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly, having read the ARC — it sounds so good that I wish I didn’t have to wait for the January publication!
The latest season of The Great British Baking Show (known as The Great British Bake Off in the UK) was shot during the pandemic. The show created a hundred-person seven-week bubble in a country hotel to make it happen. That included cast, crew, medics, and hotel staff. Everyone was required to do pre-show isolations and multiple COVID-19 tests before the contest could begin.
They had a practice tent, so there was a little practicing between episodes, but less than the usual amount since they made ten shows in seven weeks. That was sometimes apparent in the results and in how much complexity that the contestants were willing to put into their bakes. Even in normal years, it’s a good strategy to present a perfectly executed simple bake rather than a poorly-done complicated one.
We learned less about the home life of the contestants because it was impossible to shoot those sweet sequences of people at home with their families and friends.
Of course, they didn’t have the usual big party at the end where the previous contestants and everyone’s families are invited to witness the selection of the final winner. They did manage to create a pretty magical moment, though. We got to see all of the hundred people who made this season possible. They celebrated their accomplishment — an almost normal season of The Great British Baking Show.
I’m guessing that some of those staff and cast stayed on, because we’re also getting the short holiday version of the show, starting today on Netflix.