- Insider spoke with past “Great British Baking Show” contestants about the drama behind the show.
- Antony Amourdoux said the series tends to choose the “hottest day” for ice-cream challenges.
- Ali Imdad said “it’s no coincidence” that the show never seems to provide enough freezers.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
It seems fans of “The Great British Baking Show” have the same question every season: Does the show choose the worst-possible weather for certain challenges so the bakers are destined to fail?
The series, called “The Great British Bake Off” in the UK, takes place in an outdoor tent, meaning the bakers (and their desserts) are constantly subjected to the elements.
But it often seems like the challenges involving temperature-sensitive desserts, like ice cream, chocolate, and spun sugar, happen on the hottest day every season.
Insider spoke with former bakers from various seasons of the show to hear their thoughts on how the producers may manipulate challenges and add drama to the tent.
Temperature-sensitive challenges have often occurred during the worst-possible weather, which amps up the drama
Season-nine baker Antony Amourdoux told Insider that it does seem like producers take advantage of the weather to make challenges more difficult.
“When we are making bread they choose the coldest day and when we are making ice cream they choose the hottest day. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with that but it does seem that way,” season nine’s Antony Amourdoux told Insider. “They love the drama in the tent.”
The former contestant recalled one particularly warm day on set when the challenge included tempering chocolate, which can be difficult to do in hot weather.
He said the bakers requested air conditioners, but the production team turned them down.
Season-eight contestant Stacey Hart told Insider the weather has also caused trouble for other heat-sensitive desserts.
“They want failure, and they got it,” she said. “So many things go wrong. Like when you’re making spun sugar in the boiling heat and sugar doesn’t like heat.”
But Amourdoux added, “They’d never set anyone up for failure. Even with that heat, there are a lot of technical things that you can do to make sure your bakes go right.”
Another former baker isn’t sold on the weather theory, and neither is judge Paul Hollywood
Insider also spoke with season-eight baker Tom Hetherington, who said that although he agreed that certain baking techniques – like spinning sugar or tempering chocolate – are negatively impacted by heat, he never felt like the show planned for them to occur on bad-weather days.
“Weather-wise you never know what you’re getting in the UK so it’s kind of difficult to plan for that one,” he said.
Judge Paul Hollywood has also made it clear that the show can’t always predict the weather after the series was criticized for having bakers make ice-cream cakes during a heatwave in 2020.
But the bakers agreed that the show creates drama in other ways with time constraints and a lack of freezers
Hetherington explained that the production team uses other tricks, like time limits, to dramatize the episodes.
“I think that’s probably where the manipulation – for want of a better word – is used is the timing,” he said. “Specifically things like bread week where you can work so fast but you can’t increase the speed at which it takes to proof a bread dough.”
Hetherington said he thinks time constraints are probably as far as the dramatization goes on the series.
Season-four contestant Ali Imdad also told Insider he feels there must be some level of manipulation given that the show’s producers are trying to create engaging TV.
“They actually probably want you to fail more often than they want you to succeed,” he said.
“It’s not a coincidence that even though they’re one of the biggest shows in the country for some reason they never seem to have enough freezers,” Imdad continued. “Obviously they can get enough freezers if they want but they want people to mess up because that’s where the drama is.”
Representatives for “The Great British Baking Show” did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Follow along with our series of interviews to see what else the former bakers revealed to Insider.