Yeast Infection (originally published on GuySpy, Aug 14 2013)

Yeast Infection: The Unstoppable Rise Of The Great British Bake Off

Sometimes it’s hard to judge precisely what counts as inappropriate behaviour. For example: is watching “Great British Bake-Off” with your hands down your trousers wrong?

Well, this obviously depends on the reason your hands are where they are, doesn’t it? I used to be fairly sure it was a Paul Hollywood related phenomenon, but these days I’m not certain it isn’t the sight of a golden tarte tatin glistening seductively on an artfully draped tablecloth. Baked goods, it appears, are quite the aphrodisiac.

The gays, of course, latched onto “Bake Off” very early – like disco and crystal meth, we know a burgeoning trend when we see one. Also we’re usually quite well represented among the contestants, last year bringing us the delightful yet sinister Brendan – who I’m positive must have a substantial collection of swivel-eyed Victorian dolls on his bed – and of course the eventual winner John, last spotted hanging out with Nancy Dell’Olio in the audience of “Strictly Come Dancing” (well done John).

Paul – possibly the only man on television who makes icing for the sole purpose of styling his hair – was clearly the honey trap. But nowadays I find myself more enraptured by Mary’s twinkling papyrus face and her habit of finding something good to say about an eclair with all the charm and flavour of a concrete breeze block. If I’m ever due to receive some really bad news I would like Mary Berry to be the one who delivers it: “It’s terminal I’m afraid, but my goodness, you do have a lovely colour about you.”

Most of all, “Bake Off” sets us off on a lovely gentle canter towards winter. While Mel and Sue tie themselves in knots trying to outdo each other in the bad pun stakes, we form meaningful (if short) relationships with people who may be Master Baker one week and out of those tent-flaps the next faster than you can say “KitchenAid Artisan.”

By the time we reach the final it’ll be dark outside, a chill will be in the air, and at least one hand will be down our trousers. Welcome back “Bake Off.”

The Great British Bake Off returns to BBC2 on Tuesday 20th August.

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