ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV: Oops! Bake Off’s summer pud bombes explode prematurely 

ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV: Oops! Bake Off’s summer pud bombes explode prematurely 

ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV: Oops! Bake Off’s summer pud bombes explode prematurely

 The Great British Bake Off: The Final 

Rating: ***

Louis Theroux Meets – Bear Grylls 

Rating: **** 

The final of The Great British Bake Off (C4) was billed as a celebration of ‘our beautiful planet’.

Let’s hope the planet was grateful, because it certainly wasn’t a celebration of dazzling bakery skills.

For the technical round, finalists Sandro, Abdul and smiley scientist Syabira — the eventual series winner — were asked to produce a summer pudding bombe.

‘I’ve never heard of a summer pudding bombe,’ said Sandro.

As it turned out, that wasn’t much of a disadvantage. The resulting bombes looked like they’d exploded prematurely: a collection of ingredients on a plate still waiting to be assembled.

It was surely Syabira’s adventurous mix of flavours throughout the series that landed her the title

Abdul won that technical round, because his bombe was slightly less of a disaster than the others. ‘There is a sort of shape,’ said judge Paul Hollywood with admirable restraint and diplomacy.

Whatever happened to Paul as Mr Nasty, the Simon Cowell of patisserie? Perhaps the tasks were simply too ambitious. For the showstopper round, the judges ordered an edible sculpture on the theme of Our Beautiful Planet.

Abdul chose a bee theme for his cake. He produced a beehive made from elderflower and almond biscuit, plus bee-shaped macarons. Not that I’d have known it was a beehive if he hadn’t told us.

Abdul produced a beehive made from elderflower and almond biscuit, plus bee-shaped macarons

Abdul produced a beehive made from elderflower and almond biscuit, plus bee-shaped macarons

Then Prue Leith said of the macarons: ‘If you thought about it, you could have made them a bit more bee shaped.’ How stinging.

Sandro’s cake depicted the sea and the sky. There were white chocolate profiterole clouds, and lemon biscuit sun and stars. It sounds better than it looked.

Syabira made a cake in the shape of an orangutan holding up a forest. The verdict: a bit messy, but superb flavour. It was surely Syabira’s adventurous mix of flavours throughout the series that landed her the title.

For the technical round, finalists Sandro, Abdul and smiley scientist Syabira — the eventual series winner — were asked to produce a summer pudding bombe

For the technical round, finalists Sandro, Abdul and smiley scientist Syabira — the eventual series winner — were asked to produce a summer pudding bombe

Co-presenter Noel Fielding was absent for the first two rounds of the final because he was unwell, but he wasn’t the only big personality missing. This is the second year that one of the favourites has gone out in the semi-final: last year Jurgen and this year cheery Janusz.

Bake Off’s producers will now have to take a long, hard look at the show to ensure it doesn’t go flatter than Sandro’s bombe in future. Let’s just hope that Matt Hancock can’t bake.

Barely ten minutes into Louis Theroux Interviews — Bear Grylls (BBC2) we had already seen clips of the TV explorer drinking his own urine and biting the head off a snake, although not at the same time.

Bear is famously a rugged outdoorsman with determination, drive and relentless optimism. Speaking on his small private island in North Wales, he revealed that he had narrowly escaped death 21 times.

Barely ten minutes into Louis Theroux Interviews — Bear Grylls (BBC2) we had already seen clips of the TV explorer drinking his own urine and biting the head off a snake

Barely ten minutes into Louis Theroux Interviews — Bear Grylls (BBC2) we had already seen clips of the TV explorer drinking his own urine and biting the head off a snake

But what drives him? I’m not sure we were left any the wiser. Louis was as engaging and low-key as ever, but Bear is one of these people who speaks frankly and openly while giving very little away. Perhaps Louis’s toughest questions dealt with the suggestion that Bear’s TV programmes value entertainment over truth, but is that actually such a crime?

That’s what television does. Viewers largely understand this and are willing participants.

One of the oddest revelations was that Bear, a former vegan, no longer eats vegetables. Lentils, he said, used to give him terrible wind.

‘I used to break wind all the time,’ said Bear. ‘I haven’t broken wind in a year now.’

Good to have that point cleared up.

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Roland White

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