Great British Bake Off, episode 2, TV review: 'Corny puns remain part of endearing appeal'

It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch

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The Independent Culture

It was biscuit week in the Great British Bake Off tent tonight, and as usual, the puns were flying from the easily-likeable Mel and Sue.

Even Paul Hollywood had a crack at one point, making a dreadful wordplay joke on “time” and “thyme” which nobody really found funny, at all, and Mel even dubbed “probably the worst pun we’ve ever had on this show”. Not sure about that one Mel, the sexual innuendos are much more fun.

But corny quips are all part of this show’s endearing appeal. It’s not going to set the comedy world alight, nor the cookery one for that matter, but it’s great Wednesday evening watching at the end of a long day, and some of the creations are certainly deserving of respect.

This year’s contestants are a refreshingly eclectic bunch, too, ranging in ages from 17-year old Martha - who is fast becoming the new Ruby Tandoh, minus the relentless moasting (that’s moaning and boasting combined in the most annoying of ways) – to older contenders Diana and Norman.

Meet the 2014 contestants

The latter’s traditional baking methods are comforting. Norman chooses to add no flavour whatsoever to his first round biscuits, but Paul shakes his hand in congratulation of a “professional” bake regardless. “I’ve not made much fancy stuff really, more bread and pies,” he says. Nothing wrong with that Norm.

As ever, the shots of absolutely delicious food are enough to make everyone salivate – the sizzling Florentines teased our taste buds like nothing else.

Then there’s the amusing seriousness with which the contestants take their challenges. Martha’s panic over her “scary” lack of Florentine mixture is case in proof - it’s the stuff of nightmares that, it really is. Paul and Mary asked for 18 Florentines and 18 Florentines they must get.

The dramatic classic music used to soundtrack the final 20 seconds of baking for each challenge heightens the tension even further; it’s almost too much to bear.

This week’s 3D biscuit showstoppers wowed the judges and rightly so, from Martha’s ski village mountain scene flavoured with things you drink in the Alps (mulled wine, hot chocolate and coffee) to Nancy’s “crazy or what” Hansel and Gretal scene and Luis’ “beautiful” George and the Dragon.

Despite crafting a mermaid that somewhat resembles John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, or “Long John Silver mated with Shrek” (thanks, Sue), Richard wins star baker for his pirate ship marvel as a disappointed Enwezor is announced as the leaver.

The term “a good bake” reigned supreme once again this week, and there was even a “soggy bottom”, but would it really be the Bake Off without the phrases we all now know as well as an old and worn teddy?