Gregg Nunney: Why baking show is rising in popularity

Cake sales raised money for charity.
Cake sales raised money for charity.

In some years it’s easy to predict what will have been the most watched programme on television.

In 1981, for example, it was the wedding of Charles and Di. In 1985, Live Aid; in 1986 that Christmas Day episode of EastEnders with Den and Angie and in 2011 the nuptials of Will and Kate.

This year, however, one of the programmes vying for the year-end top spot is of a genre that, only a decade or so ago, was just liberally sprinkled around the scheduled with a soupçon of contempt to fill a few spaces.

The Great British Bake Off has gone stellar.

I’ve only caught the odd couple of episodes in the past but this year, for some reason, it seems to have captured my imagination.

It’s not anything to do with Mary Berry or Paul Hollywood, it’s not because one of the contestants was from Wellingborough and not even because I’m a keen amateur cook and love to pick up tips.

I think it’s because, unlike other “talent” shows on television, Bake Off is filled with people who aren’t in it to be famous.

They might get a one-off book deal or appear on BBC Breakfast but, actually, they do it because they love baking and want to push themselves as far as they can.

There’s no “this is the most important moment of my life” and no living together in a house for 12 weeks while the show films.

They’re just normal folk who, at the weekend, go to a tent in the country and bake cakes with the absolutely cracking Mel and Sue.

As a result we had three finalists that I wouldn’t begrudge winning.

My favourite was Ruby but I was chuffed for Market Harborough designer Frances Quinn who took the title.

I think we should all pop up the A6 and round to hers for a slice of Battenberg.

No snacking before we go, though. You know what they say in that other reality show – “no carbs before Harbs”!