Battle of the TV ratings: Real men don’t watch football but prefer a bake off
Signs are that male viewing habits are changing – but Will Coldwell decided to do his own research
Thursday 29 August 2013
Do men really like baking more than football? That appears to be the case judging by television viewing figures from earlier this week showing that more and more men chose to tune in to Tuesday’s instalment of The Great British Bake Off than watch Arsenal’s Champions League qualifier against the Turkish side Fenerbahce.
According to the ratings analyst Attentional, 1.92 million men opted to spend their evening watching dough rise, as opposed to 1.72 million who chose the big, though predictable, match won 2-0 by Arsenal.
Along with fellow baking television chefs such as the Fabulous Baker Brothers and Jamie Oliver, the show’s co-judge Paul Hollywood appears to be inspiring more men to reach for their rolling pins and, it seems, give a little less attention to football in the process.
For Garry Hill, who recently founded the Cambourne Bake Club, a men-only baking group, it’s a sign that male habits are changing. “It just shows men are taking different interests and not following what the crowds might think,” he said.
“And you got a good role model in Paul Hollywood. The main reason I got into it is following his example. These days, men are out there trying to provide something different for their family and if they’re baking they could get a good idea from watching the Bake Off.”
Another passionate male baker is Chris Holmes, better known as “Mr Cake”, who drew widespread praise after he quit his job at Stansted airport by icing his resignation letter on to a passion-fruit sponge.
“To be honest, I’ve never been heavily into football,” he says. “I’ve always had more of an affinity to baking. I don’t know whether the people are defecting from football to baking, but if the numbers of people tuning in to football are falling maybe there’s something there.”
However, Mr Holmes is certain there is an increase in male participation with baking. “I think historically there’s been a bit of a stigma but I think that’s pretty much a thing of the past.”
Who watched what?
Daniel De Gallerie
Environmental Services, 18
It depends who was playing. I’ve been playing football all my life but I only really follow it if it’s a big international. If I could choose between Arsenal or the Bake Off, it would be the Bake Off. My mum likes the show, too – we enjoy watching it together.
Honestly, I don’t really like football. I’d probably go for cooking. I like cooking and I do all the cooking at our home. It’s more of a macho thing now; Gordon Ramsay swears a lot, Jamie Oliver is a bit of a lad. It’s all right.
I’d probably choose the football. I find most cooking shows boring and formulaic. The kind of cooking shows I like are more traditional, like Rick Stein. I don’t like the competitive ones.
I watched the Bake Off this Tuesday. If it had been a match I cared about I would have watched it but most of the time it would be the baking show because I love Paul Hollywood. The cakes look really good – I look at them and salivate. And it’s cool to see men doing it – it makes you see there’s not such a gender gap with that kind of thing.
The Bake Off is so easygoing, you can just put your feet up. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. I can never be bothered to watch football for the full 90 minutes either.
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 4 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Three million books were judged by their covers - this is what happened
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
No Escape, film review: Thriller generates plenty of excitement but soon collapses
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be