Is The Great British Bake Off Scripted or Real?

Image Credit: Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions

Despite being a competition series at its core, ‘The Great British Bake Off,’ better known as ‘The Great British Baking Show’ in the US, is an ideal escape for the audience thanks to its positive, supportive, and spontaneous aspects. There’s no doubt that this production is a global sensation. Yet, its complex challenges and the fact that almost every reality show has at least a little fakeness makes us genuinely wonder whether ‘GBBO’ is authentic or not. So now, if you are curious to know the nitty-gritty details about the same, we’ve got you covered.

Is The Great British Bake Off Real or Scripted?

Produced by Love Productions, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ has been billed as a reality series ever since it first premiered in its home country back in August 2010. And from what we can tell, it lives up to its genre classification in every way, shape, and form that matters. In simple words, none of the contestants or judges have pre-written dialogues, and the producers don’t plan the eliminations either. Yes, because a lot of essential resources are involved in creating such a high-consumption show, there’s a mapped-out structure for filming, but that does not make it fake.

Image Credit: Mark Bourdillon/Channel 4

“Nothing is staged on this show,” Tom Hetherington from season eight once told Insider. “There’s no prize at the end of the day other than a plate. I kind of absolutely love it for that reason in that truly what you see is predominantly what you get.” He further explained, “It’s just 12 or 13 people who really like baking and really like one another. It’s very cheesy and it’s very British, but it’s true in that regard.” The past contestant also stated that even though an episode typically takes two days to shoot – lasting about 10-16 hours each – they really do only get the time specified beforehand to bake. The producers let them know if they’re lagging, but the constraint is there.

As per season 4’s Ali Imdad, it takes so long to film an installment because of retakes and shot settings, amongst other things. During an interview with Birmingham Mail, he revealed that if the crew somehow fails to catch a particular dialogue or action properly, they ask the contestants to say or do the same thing again. The one golden rule, Ali appended, is that “Every time you wanted to put something in or take something out [of the oven], you had to hail a producer who would make sure you were being filmed.” Furthermore, all the participants have to practice their challenge bakes before shooting to avoid mishaps (a fact openly discussed in a few episodes).

Due to all this, continuity becomes a crucial aspect, which is why the judges and bakers have to wear the same clothes throughout the two days despite their scorching environment. Thankfully, the contestants are at least allowed to change their aprons if their situation becomes too messy. With that said, as in any movie or series, the editing process does affect how we see things play out or view the contenders, so a bit of manipulation is always there.

In this case, it appears as if it’s mostly to ensure that we never directly notice the crew’s extensive efforts, especially as reports claimed that there are usually several people crammed inside the tent at every moment. We should clarify that although the participants are given the leeway of writing, rehearsing, and practicing their original recipes for the signature and showstopper rounds well before production even begins, the technical challenge is genuinely always a surprise for them. In short, ‘The Great British Bake Off’ or ‘The Great British Baking Show’ is as authentic as possible.

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