In 2022, The Great British Baking Show, a popular import from Netflix, has left a peculiarly unpleasant taste in the mouths of many admirers. Can two “new” episodes of The Great British Baking Show: Holidays remedy the situation? This year, Netflix released the It’s a Sin-themed Christmas Baking Show episode from the previous year, as well as a New Year’s episode with fan favorites Kim-Joy, Hermine, Rowan, and Jon. Let’s examine the performance of the returning bakers in The Great British Baking Show: Holidays 2022…
Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas, both wearing winter clothing, amble over a gorgeous English landscape in the opening shot. They talk how wonderful it is to have bakers back into the tent and make several cringe-inducing jokes about historical persons with the surname Baker attending the competition.
The Great British Baking Show: Holidays is an annual pair of specials produced by Love Productions that has British celebrities and fan-favorite bakers compete in a festive, low-stakes variation of The Great British Baking Show’s formula. Typically, there is a “Christmas” episode and a “New Year’s” episode. In previous years, the cast of Derry Girls participated in a hilarious New Year’s episode. This year, four It’s a Sin cast members from Channel 4 and HBO fought it out in the Christmas tent. We are not discussing that incident, though. The New Year’s episode resembles The Great British Baking Show more than any other episode.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith welcomed Kim-Joy Hewlett (2018), Jon Jenkins (2018), Rowan Williams (2020), and Hermine (2021) back to the tent for the New Year’s episode of The Great British Baking Show: Holidays in 2021. The Signature Challenge required the bakers to create twelve yeasted breakfast buns with a decorative topping. The Technical Challenge was a Greek New Year’s dessert called Vasilopita. Finally, the bakers were instructed to build a winter scene solely out of cookies in a shadowbox. Winner received a cake stand. Riveting stuff!
What Shows Does It Bring to Mind? The Great British Baking Show: Holidays reminded me a great deal of The Great British Baking Show, which may sound absurd. In reality, the tasks resembled Bake Off’s golden era far more than the show’s current tumultuous run.
Our take: If I seem unimpressed with this year’s The Great British Baking Show: Holidays segments, it’s because I’m still hurting from 2022’s awful season. Today, you may watch the season finale of that disaster on Netflix, but The Great British Baking Show: Holidays is a much better use of your time. There is a sweetness to the Christmas episodes that has been severely missed in the regular episodes of The Great British Baking Show, and it is always a pleasure to see Hermine and Kim-Joy compete. Paul and Prue are also giving kinder critiques than they have in recent weeks in the tent. If you miss the original Bake Off, this is a delightful treat.
At one point, Noel Fielding goes around the tent while holding two enormous, spherical Christmas tree decorations. He inquires about Prue’s whereabouts after discovering her earrings. Clearly, this is an effort to poke fun at Prue Leith’s infamously oversized and graphic jewelry. However, Matt Lucas identifies the decorations as “Paul’s balls.” Steamy!
Final Shot: The Great British Baking Show’s final shot: Paul, Prue, Noel, and Matt are shown drinking champagne with Kim-Joy, Hermine, Jon, and Rowan while a steel drum band performs “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. Everyone sings awkwardly until the song ends and confetti begins to fly.
While we were ecstatic to see Kim-Joy return to the tent, Hermine was the diva flying not-so-under the radar. Hermine, who was looking stunning, received a rare Christmas Hollywood handshake and came close to winning the Star Baker award. She remarked humorously in her confessional that she disagreed with Paul and Prue; her Speculoos was perfect.
After his introductory package, Rowan remarks, “I feel as though I have a little bit to show… that I can bake.” Okay! Sir, establish everything in a single sentence!
Our Request: Stream it! Sure, it’s not as fantastic as the Derry Girls New Year’s Episode (or last year’s episodes in which Rahul fangirled over Bake Off superstar Nancy), but it’s still better than the main program! (Which is not saying much, we understand.) The Great British Baking Show: vacations are the delightful respite that we all require.