Who doesn’t know what a Jaffa cake looks like?

Twenty minutes into the latest series and already controversy is stalking the grassy aisles of the Bake-Off marquee. Not, as is the usual case, because someone’s opened a fridge or accidentally cut their own head off with a butter knife, but because in a room of twelve adults, only a few seem to know with any certainty which way up a Jaffa Cake goes.

The UK is in crisis, people.

British cultural identity has never undergone an examination as thorough and intrusive as that it is currently experiencing . What does it mean to be British? Are we an inclusive, friendly, sarcastic bunch as I would like to think, or do the views of Katie Hopkins and some of the people I know on Facebook who like Britain First posts chime more with the masses?

I thought I knew. And yet everything I’ve come to believe about our great nation has been thrown into doubt. Where’s our pride? And more importantly, our national biscuit? Do we even have one any more?

And I’m not talking about bloody Digestives, either. We only claim that’s our favourite because it was invented as an aid to gastric health and we’re nothing if not a dysfunctional nation obsessed with austerity and bowels. When alone in the pantry we all secretly stuff our faces with Jaffa Cakes because they’re jazzy, covered in chocolate and make no nutritional sense whatsoever.

In short, EVERYONE knows what they look like.


Then this happens and everything I thought I knew was wrong. If I don’t know what your biscuit peccadilloes involve, Great Britain, how the hell can I claim to know you’re basically decent and outward looking and not the cretinous fools Hopkins and her ilk claim you are when they’re “telling it like it is?”

I knew I shouldn’t have volunteered to review this show. Newsnight’s less politically challenging.

Thankfully, the glorious Mel and Sue were there to save the British Way Of Live(and yank me back from the brink) with their Carry On inspired euphemisms, ribald remarks and disconcerting trouser arrangements. Forget your glammed up Mrs Overall and her disconcertingly bearded companion, M&S are the real stars of this show and the fact that the joyful promise they demonstrated in Late Lunch and beyond was spotted by a BBC exec and allowed to roam across the nations living rooms freely, without compromise, restores my faith.

As for the contestants, they’re fine. It’s a little early for identifying a runner but Benjamina already cried, so my sympathies are with her because I too become inexplicably teary near cake.

I shall revert to you in due course if this changes and/or I come up with another way to shoehorn a debate about cultural identity into a review of tv show about baking.