The marquee makes its mark

Rebecca Moore

Rebecca Moore

First published in Columns Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Columnist

What is it that’s so unabashedly alluring about the Great British Bake-off? It’s not just the cakes. It’s not even the biscuits. Forget the bread. It’s the marquee. Yes, I’m serious. We Brits like nothing more than an oversized tent placed in the middle of a field. We love to see those opening credits, with the marquee set amongst an unabashedly British-looking landscape of rolling hills and country estates.

Sometimes it’s sunny. But more often than not the camera focuses on a drippy looking ladle before pulling focus to the rain-swelled doorway beyond. These are the moments we live for.

Close your eyes and I bet you can smell yourself inside a summer tent, can’t you? The promise of wet tarpaulin. The grass. The rubbery smell of mattresses being blown up...

The Great British Bake-off is filled with terrible innuendo and we love the hints of naughty slap and tickle. There is no real nastiness – there is never any bitchin’ over bagels. No fracas over fondant. Mary Berry never picks up her bun tins and, in a hissy fit about dough mix, hurls them across the tent. It’s delightful.

If you take other shows in which competition is at the heart – I’m thinking something like The Apprentice here – you can see why the Great British Bake-Off holds allure for us. The Apprentice filled with supposedly mean-spirited people who want to do mean things and reach the mean top of the mean capitalist tree.

The contestants on the Great British Bake-off just want to avoid a soggy bottom. That’s not too much to ask. They just want to have people enjoy their sugary offerings and marvel at their pastry crumbs.

Their white little marquee is a beacon of pure summer’s innocence among the wasteland of mean-spirited shows on TV. Like a wedding where everybody actually likes the bride and groom. We can associate with the Great British Bake-off on many levels. We all like cakes. We all like watching people try to pipe a bun to perfection. People make mistakes and don’t get cruelly laughed at. But we all really love that marquee and the types of occasions it signifies: weddings, fetes, garden parties – all joyous occasions where one gets merrily tipsy and is allowed – indeed, encouraged – to fill ones face with sweet treats. And it’s summer! Glorious summer!

What’s that... it’s raining? Don’t worry, we’ll be safe in the marquee. Now, where’s my muffin tin?

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Quiz experts on ebola, dieting and dinosaurs

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Renee Watson tells why the Oxfordshire Science Festival will be sparking the imaginations of all ages

It’s downhill all the way, but we love it

Oxford Mail: Katherine Rees

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Katherine Rees on the dubious joys of half-term skiing

Inspired by life... death and decay

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

She may be half-Dutch and half-Luxembourger, but artist Patrice Moor is no stranger to Oxford – and tells Jaine Blackman why she loves the city so much

Ensure fasting is the correct route for you

Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Lisa Cuerden on intermittent fasting

Inspiration flows for new novelist

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Catherine Chanter’s debut book is tipped for international success. Jaine Blackman discovers more about The Well and its writer

Oxford a perfect fit for stylish boutique owner

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Ann Whorrall explains why, just four months after opening her Olivia May shop, she is looking forward to showcasing her ranges in the town’s Fashion Week

Your garden’s no fast food joint for foxes

Oxford Mail: Sheena Patterson

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Sheena Patterson on urban foxes

A fancy weekend in County Durham

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Geordie Esther Beadle goes back to her roots and has a reet posh time at two classy hotels

Albert Square live whodunit was telly gold

Oxford Mail: Friday Life feature
Liz Nicholls is pictured with a fake spider after overcoming her fear. 
Contact(s): Liz Nicholls 07711332705
Catchline: Arachnophobia feature
Length: Double page feature
PictureSales Ref: OX68194
Picture By: Leah McLaren

 (16190432)

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

Liz Nicholls on Eastenders, Bin There, Dump That and Meet The UKippers

More men are aiming to be smooth operators

Oxford Mail:

11:00am Saturday 28th February 2015

For years women have been the almost sole customers of hair removal services but now men want to be fuzz-free as well. Jaine Blackman reports on the trend

The heights of adventure at France's Three Valleys

Oxford Mail:

1:17pm Thursday 26th February 2015

Leah McLaren skis at Europe’s highest resort and dons flippers to dive underneath the ice

It’s safe to turn on again after the recent horrors

Oxford Mail: Friday Life feature
Liz Nicholls is pictured with a fake spider after overcoming her fear. 
Contact(s): Liz Nicholls 07711332705
Catchline: Arachnophobia feature
Length: Double page feature
PictureSales Ref: OX68194
Picture By: Leah McLaren

 (16190432)

11:00am Saturday 21st February 2015

"Every year I wonder why I haven't fulfilled my plan to book a cheap, sunny holiday" writes Liz Nicholls

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree