GBBO Back!

This little trailer for the new series of GBBO made me chortle out loud.

(Did they really get a choir and orchestra in specially to sing “and he shall bake for ever and ever…” or am I mishearing the start?!)

I shall miss the start because I shall be in Italy (#BOHOF).

It reminds me nonetheless that our Y9 first language courses start with a media module, and that last year I wrote some reading comps in French and German which I shall copy below should anyone care to use them or highlight the howlers in my TL.


Je regarde très peu la télévision – environs 3 heures par semaine. En regardant la télé je mange souvent mon repas. En ce moment il y a deux émissions par semaine qui me sont importants. Tous les lundis à 20.30, je regarde Only Connect. C’est un jeu télévisé où les questions sont tous très difficiles et les joueurs sont très intelligents. Chaque mardi, le soir, je regarde Great British Bakeoff, qui est un programme de télé-réalité et aussi une émission de cuisine. C’est sur chaine BBC2 et l’émission dure une heure. C’est plus longue que Only Connect. Le programme cherche le meilleur chef de cuisine de Grande Bretagne. Ça commence avec douze candidats et on en perd un chaque semaine. J’aime bien tous les deux émissions, mais Only Connect, c’est mon émission préférée en ce moment.

(I especially liked “on en perd un”, I hope that’s not wrong!)


Ich sehe nur selten fern, nur etwas 3 Stunden pro Woche. Während des Fernsehens, esse ich oft mein Abendessen. Neulich gibt es zwei Fernsehsendungen, die mir wichtig sind. Jeden Montag um 20.30 sehe ich gern Only Connect. Das ist eine Quizsendung mit Victoria Coren. Die Fragen sind schwierig und die Mitspieler sind sehr intelligent. Ich gucke auch Great British Bakeoff, eine Realityshow und eine Kochsendung. Sie läuft Dienstags um 20.00 Uhr im zweiten Programm. Die Sendung sucht der beste Bäcker des Vereinigten Königreich. Am Anfang gab es sechzehn Mitspieler und jede Woche verlieren wir einen davon. Beide Sendungen sind toll, aber Only Connect ist meine Lieblingssendung im Moment.

Comp questions

How much TV do I watch each week ?
What do I often do whilst watching TV?
What are the questions and the players like on Only Connect?
How many contestants did they start off with on Great British Bakeoff?
Which of the two programmes is my favourite right now?

I also had an extension task with Find the French for… and work out genders for (which was very revealing on the students’ ability to understand how un/une related to le/la.)

After this I pretty much stopped writing blocks of text for fear of the faults I make. It’s got to be better, most times, to find where someone else has already written something, and nick it and simplify it for the classroom.

How to lose Come Dine With Me

I’m a relatively late convert to the Channel 4 programme Come Dine With Me – it’s been running five years, and I’ve only just really started watching in the last few months. And yet it is compulsive viewing. I’m not sure when it’s actually on TV, but thankfully there’s almost always new episodes on 4OD for me to watch. I quite often find myself sitting and watching all four or five episodes of a particular city in one go.

It’s a brilliant format, with so many variables in each episode. Can the people cook? Will they be able to cook on the night? Will they get along? What are their houses like? How drunk will they get?

What absolutely makes the programme is the wry commentary of its VO guy Dave Lamb – and there’s an interesting interview with him here on the C4 website. Omniscience really helps him stay funny.

The other thing that sets CDWM apart from other programmes is its choice of music. I’m a little bit out of it when it comes to music, so I’m probably missing half the jokes, but there have been some hilarious pairings of music with actions. An artist got the Heartbeat “gallery” theme music played as his paintings were displayed. Some of the leitmotivs associated with particularly annoying or snobby guests are brilliant – but the best bit I’ve heard lately was when a flirty young man arrived first at a glamorous older woman’s house, and as she showed him into the parlour, the band struck up with… the theme from The Graduate

There are so many variables that there doesn’t seem to be a sure fire way of winning every time. But there definitely seem to be some things that regularly go down really badly and should be avoided:

  • Cooking something you’re unfamiliar with or have never tried before. Why would you do this? There’s £1,000 and your credibility on national TV at stake!  The least you could do is practice.  Cook the menu for friends beforehand!
  • Spending a fortune in an effort to impress. Srsly – hundreds of pounds on caviar and foie gras? A king’s ransome on the wine? Stick to good wholesome homecooked food.
  • Cooking something too complicated. Unless you have a kitchen/diner where you can cook and play host at the same time, you need a menu which doesn’t need too much last minute attention, so that you can spend time with your guests. Your saucepans already know what you look like.
  • Getting too much outside help. It’s all about whether you can cook, not whether you know top chefs who can come in and fix things up for you.
  • Being a complete nutter/having a complete lack of self-awareness. To be honest, if this is you, then a) you probably don’t realise it and b) you’ll have been chosen for the programme because of this and you should probably play to your strengths.

For the last few months, me and P have been jokingly discussing whether I could go on the programme, and I have looked into it. There are all sorts of hurdles to me doing it – the dish selection would be constrained by crockery (if the starter is in bowls the pudding can’t be!) The house is not ideal and would probably need a professional remedial clean.  I don’t even have matching cutlery for five.

Still, it would be interesting. I’d love to know how it all works.  How many camera crews are there? Do the guests leave one by one so that the camera can go home with them, then come back for the next drunken invité with the score cards?  How much kit do they put in your house? Do contestants ever even meet the VO man?

The comedians on Mock the Week

Jonathan Calder (who I seem to linking to on an almost daily basis lately) says he is #3 in the google search each week after Mock the Week on the term “Russell Howard is not funny

I have to say I disagree. I think he’s rather good. And taking a comedian to task for clowning seems a little odd, for sure.

I also like Hugh Dennis. I particularly like him on the Now Show, and it’s sometimes a little strange when material from there gets recycled on MTW. But he’s good on both.

The Scottish comedian with the on-again off-again ginger beard – Frankie Boyle – he’s very funny. So very shocking, but greatly funny too. The funniest of the bunch.

Andy Parsons? Not funny at all. Don’t like him. Awful delivery. Grr.

Special mention for Stewart Francis. Like him too.

It’s just a shame they don’t manage to book more women. There’s never more than one, and sometimes they don’t even get around to letting her speak.

Bad CD Choice

One of the things I bought with my Amazon One Click was a “best of” CD of the Who, that featured the three tracks from which the three theme tunes for CSI, CSI Miami and CSI New York are taken.  (Who Are You?, Don’t Get Fooled Again and Baba Riley)
I thought it would be good to listen to the whole songs, and a bit more by the Who.

Actually, having now heard the songs and most of the CD, I think I prefer the short versions in TV serial titles.  Bah.

Dr Who

Finally caught up with last Saturday’s Dr Who this evening.  Erm.  P enjoyed it and has watched it three times.  I thought it was OK.  Hasn’t Dr Who already met Shakespeare?  Or has he just referred to it?

The use of the Globe was spectacular.

The witches were a bit silly.

The ending was odd.

But the thing that was exercising my mind was  – if the Doctor showed up and offered to take you anywhere in space or time for just one trip – would you prefer to go forward in time or back?  Back to any part of human history you’d wondered about and wanted to see for yourself?  Or forward to see how some current controversy pans out?

That’s assuming you got to choose of course – Martha didn’t!