CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: A first for TV! Paul Hollywood actually said: ‘I might be wrong’
Junior Bake Off
Warship: Life At Sea
Children are a comedian’s toughest audience. Harry Hill was trying to tell young cook Kezia how his granny died, on Junior Bake Off (C4).
The old lady was run over on a zebra crossing, Harry said. She was dressed as a piano keyboard at the time.
The driver didn’t see her . . . then he did . . . then he didn’t . . . Kezia, aged 13, fixed him with a contemptuous glare. ‘Is that a joke?’ she demanded.
Every one of the eight young bakers was brimming with confidence as the show returned, full of disdain for the adults but happily unfazed by their own failures
That reaction could make Harry want to go back to his first career, as a doctor. It might be easier.
Every one of the eight young bakers was brimming with confidence as the show returned, full of disdain for the adults but happily unfazed by their own failures.
The first challenge was to make mascarpone Swiss rolls encased in pink chocolate, decorated like pigs. Not everyone got the colouring right, but it didn’t matter: ‘Some pigs are purple,’ insisted one baker.
‘Oh well, I tried,’ said another with sublime satisfaction, as she brought a plateful of pink sponge splodges to the gingham table.
Along with half the country this week, judge Liam Charles was signed off sick. His replacement flew in wearing a cape and mask — self-proclaimed superhero Paul Hollywood. His reputation didn’t impress everyone.
He watched as nine-year-old Quique tried and failed to spread buttercream with a knife, marmalising his sponge. ‘Is it worth using a piping bag?’ wondered Paul aloud.
‘No,’ said Quique firmly.
Grown men were having a quiet cry on Warship: Life At Sea (C5). Warship does an outstanding job of contrasting the ordinary emotions and worries of the sailors with their world-beating professional skills
‘I might be wrong,’ said a chastised Paul. Those are words he has never used on television before. Quique finally took the hint and discovered that a piping bag did make things easier.
With children in charge of the mixing, this is a less intense affair than the grown-up show. The contestants are young enough to remember that, when all is said and done, it’s just cake. As Harry put it, ‘It’s like normal Bake Off but more fun.’
Not all the Bake Off traditions work, though. Paul played his usual tasting trick and told Mia, aged 11: ‘I don’t like it . . . I love it. In the space between the words, poor Mia looked ready to bawl her eyes out.
HARD HAT OF THE NIGHT
Interior designer Pallavi Dean, doing the decor for the Prime Minister’s office on Inside Dubai: Playground Of The Rich (BBC2), arrived for a site visit in gold culottes and fur wrap.
‘I’m not dressing down,’ she said. ‘They should dress up for me.’
That beats a high-viz jacket.
Grown men were having a quiet cry on Warship: Life At Sea (C5). Lee ‘Taz’ Ellis, the most experienced submarine hunter aboard HMS Northumberland, was missing his six-year-old twins.
The Royal Navy officer recorded a bedtime story for the little boy and girl, and proudly pinned their latest drawings — delivered that morning by helicopter — around his bunk.
Then he went back to tracking a Russian stealth sub in Arctic waters. Warship does an outstanding job of contrasting the ordinary emotions and worries of the sailors with their world-beating professional skills.
On duty, old-fashioned British understatement and stiff upper lips were the order of the day.
As a 50-knot storm drove freezing waves as high as a house across the upper decks, Captain Hobbs remarked: ‘The sea will be fruitier than expected.’ Even when the waters are calm, the rapid cutting between handheld shots and shifts of focus can leave viewers feeling seasick.
But this five-part documentary captures the excitement, both of active service and of new experiences. Sailors crossing the Arctic Circle for the first time have their noses dabbed with blue highlighter pens — a Navy joke about frostbite.
The aurora borealis or Northern Lights at breakfast time made an eerily lovely sight.
And junior officer Olivia, 21, on the look-out for signs of that Russian sub, was rewarded with a glimpse of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. She’ll never forget that.
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