Spatulas at dusk!! Yes, it’s the Bake Off final tonight at eight hours post meridian on BBC One, and I shall be ready. This year’s contest has been a treat and we have three worthy finalists in Richard, aka Richardthebuilder, Luis, who is a graphic designer and is exact in his cake designs, and Nancy, who is a grandmother and has stern hair and a dry sense of humour.
Richard is odds-on favourite to win, having won Star Baker an unprecedented five times, and has rather predictably been dubbed The Housewives’ Choice by the mejya. He is of that breed of new man who are totally at ease with their masculinity but could go on as cuddly bunnies without rehearsal. I must confess to a bit of a soft spot for Richard.
One interesting thing is that the finalists this year have come in for very little social media flack, unlike last year, when Frances, Kimberley, and particularly Ruby came in for some horrid trolling. The only reason for this that I can see is that this year the final has two men and an older woman, whereas last year the finalists were three younger women. Ruby in particular committed the unpardonable sins of being a) female b) young and c) a bit tearful, all of which made her in the eyes of some commentators more or less a witch worthy only of burning. In their eyes women should be seen and not heard, should not achieve a position of any success or power and should never, never stand in the way of a man. Any woman who breaks these cardinal rules is considered fair game.
I shall blog about this properly at a later date, but in the meantime I shall mention a glimpse we have had of another aspect of the dark underbelly of British societal assumptions, in the attitude of some parts of the media to Richard. Richard is, as I have mentioned, a builder. He is also, as has been revealed this week in the media, a director of the family building firm he works for, owner of a six hundred thousand pound detached house in North London, a graduate of an excellent private boys school and the possessor of a first class honours degree from Birkbeck, which he gained by studying part time whilst working. These are all mentioned as though he is somehow cheating, as though he is not a proper builder, and indeed, he has been accused on Twitter of “not getting his hands dirty”, which he hotly denied. All this seems to smack of a sort of unpleasant “know your place” attitude, as though a good education and a nice house are somehow incompatible with being a builder and he has overreached himself. It’s very odd.
But no matter! Tonight we put all that behind us and concentrate on the baking. It looks set to be a great final. More tomorrow!!