‘It Costs Thousands’: Turns Out The Audition Process For #BakeOff Is Crazily Intense
It involves screen tests, psychologists and a LOT of baking.
Even if your baking skills are minimal at best, it’s impossible to watch the Great British Bake Off without getting over-involved in every single bake.
You may have never opened a recipe book before in your life, but before you know it you’re shaking your head and muttering, “Underbaked. It was a matter of minutes, I’d say,” as yet another overly-doughy loaf is presented to Mary and Paul for inspection.
You might be an expert backseat baker at this stage, but we’re going to be frank: you probably don’t have what it takes to star on the show. In fact, hardly anyone does. In general, the BBC has remained fairly quiet about the way in which they put potential GBBO contestants through their paces, but it turns out there’s a LOT that goes on before a contestant makes it on screen.
A blog post written by Series 5 contestant Jordan Cox back in 2014 has been doing the rounds again this week, and it’s revealed just how in-depth the audition process is, not to mention the at-home prep that goes into the bakes for each and every episode.
“The audition process was lengthy and intense. Repeated phone calls became long trips down to London, carrying bakes in hand,” Jordan reveals.
“After having our bakes judged, some of us were thrust in front of the camera without a moments delay for a short interview before being released, rather dazed, back into the city.”
According to The Telegraph, potential bakers are vetted with a seven-page application form and a 45-minute telephone call with a researcher. If successful, they’re asked to bring two bakes to an audition in London, followed by a screen test and an interview with a producer.
That’s followed by a second on-camera audition baking twice in front of Mary and Paul, and finally an interview with the show psychologist to make sure they can cope with being filmed for close to 16 hours a day.
After being chosen for the show, Jordan – who was eliminated during Bread Week of Series 5 – says things got even busier.
“Challenge after challenge would hit my inbox with deadlines that seemed all too short. 36 miniature cakes, who has ever baked that many?! A 3D biscuit scene? I beg your pardon?! Each challenge had to be worked on, documented and sent back to Love [the show’s production company] for approval.”
As for the cost, ingredients are only funded by the BBC once contestants are chosen for the final 12. “You can’t do this if you haven’t got spare dosh,” says Danny, a series three contestant. “It must have cost a couple of thousand pounds to get to this stage – the expense of getting to all the auditions, the ingredients.”
So there you have it. Much as it’d be kinda cool to hear Paul Hollywood’s verdict on your go-to chocolate biscuit recipe, you’re probably safer watching him at home for now…
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