“The Great British Bake Off ” Collection 8 Review


“The Great British Bake Off” judges and hosts. Media by Mali Downing.

Ella Westel, Staff Reporter

With the recent Tier 3 Mitigation Plan going into effect, everyone is asked to stay in their homes more now than the past few months. There is only so much one can do in their own home, and a great time killer happens to be watching television. And what better way to help take a break from all of the COVID stress than watching a show about polite, cheeky and incredibly kind British home bakers creating all sorts of bakes. 

Unless you have access to Channel 4, the Great British Bake Off (also known as the Great British Baking Show in America) can be found on Netflix, where nine out of its eleven seasons are located. Each hour-long episode consists of three challenges, each being judged by Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith. At the end of every episode, one baker will go home until only three are left. In the last episode one of the three will be crowned the winner. The show tends to be very calm, the cast is very likable, and all in all it’s a good show to binge.

However, due to the global pandemic, the newest season, known as Collection 8 on Netflix, was very different from its previous ones. Not only was there a new co-host, the contestants had to quarantine for two weeks and be tested three times for COVID before entering a building that they would live in throughout the competition, where they would have to be tested once per week. While everyone still went through the same challenges and elimination process, the season itself felt very lackluster, and upon noticing this myself, it had taken me a while to put a finger on what was missing.

At first I thought it was the new co-host, Matt Lucas. From Collections 5 to 7, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig were the hosts of the show. Fielding’s odd yet charming personality and Toksvig’s sweet nature and jokes about her short stature were what really made me come to enjoy them as the hosts of the show, and in general too. Yet, due to Toksvig’s saddening departure from the show, Lucas was cast as the newest co-host to Fielding. I was skeptical, because I had really grown to like Toksvig, and because Lucas’s jokes were usually that he was the spacey newcomer. However, as the show went on and more episodes were released, I started to think that Lucas wasn’t the problem. He was doing a pretty good job at being a host for the show, and while I’m still currently not the biggest fan, he certainly wasn’t what was making me feel like something was off.

Then I thought about the contestants. Everyone was introduced throughout the beginning of the first three episodes, like how it usually is for most of the seasons, but something didn’t exactly seem right. I felt like I didn’t really know who the contestants were, unlike previous seasons. It felt like everyone was just sort of a blank slate with not really much of a personality. Sure, they still made some snarky remark at Hollywood from time to time, or they could have shown their senses of humor, but by the time I got to the finale, I wasn’t really rooting for anyone because I felt like I didn’t know them. There were some contestants that I did like, but they got eliminated earlier so I couldn’t grow attached to them.

Speaking of which, the elimination process is something that had always gotten on my nerves, but had especially bothered me in the most recent season. The judges base who gets eliminated off of how they performed in that episode, and not from previous ones. It seemed to be especially worse this season, to the point where many viewers were heavily bashing on one contestant through social media and one of the judges had to get involved and ask everyone to stop.

Certainly I don’t want to rip on this season fully, as there were some good parts about it too. There were new baking challenges and episode themes that were added in, and there were definitely some bakes with some amazing or humorous results. Truthfully, I did like some contestants, and it was sad to see them go when they were eliminated. The judges and hosts mostly failed to disappoint, and this season wasn’t terrible to watch.

Although, I did find it to be quite boring, but really, this could just be not my cup of tea. Some people might enjoy this season more than others, but if I were to go back and binge all of the series, I would probably skip this season. You don’t have to take my word for it, and honestly, I recommend that you don’t. It’s your own experience that matters, so really, I suggest that you watch Collection 8 and see what you think for yourself. Who knows, it might just make your quarantine more tolerable.