New Zealand finally gets its own version of The Great British Bake Off

by Russell Brown / 15 October, 2018
The Great Kiwi Bake Off, Tuesday.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off, Tuesday.

RelatedArticlesModule - Great Kiwi bake off

In a reality-television landscape riven with cruelty, the popular Bake Off competition is actually nice to people.

It’s taken a while and it’s not actually the country’s first competitive baking show (we don’t talk about the other one), but New Zealand joins the Bake Off club of nations this week with the premiere of The Great Kiwi Bake Off (TVNZ 2, Tuesday, 7.30pm).

If you’re not familiar with the British-born TV juggernaut, it’s an elimination cooking show that, in a reality-television landscape riven with cruelty, is actually nice to people. And it works. Over nine seasons, The Great British Bake Off has won the kind of mass audiences usually the preserve of football internationals and become part of British culture. There have been sewing and pottery versions and the original show has been screened in 200 countries. This week, New Zealand becomes the 28th territory to license the format and make its own Bake Off.

Madeleine Sami takes on a key unwritten part of the format: the funny and relatable lesbian, as played by Sue Perkins and Sandi Toksvig in The Great British Bake Off and Mel Buttle in the Australian version. We trust she’ll approach this important role with the lack of gravity it deserves – and that she and her co-cost Hayley Sproull will represent New Zealand well in delivering another key element of the format: the gently smutty innuendo.

The pair didn’t know each other well before the show, but have now become, according to Sproull, “inseparable sisters who hate it when the other person goes to the toilet because it means we can’t hang out”. So, that’s going well.

They’re joined by the judges, global baking impresario Dean Brettschneider and catering queen Sue Fleischl, who, according to Sami, offer “a perfect mix of professionalism and naughtiness”.

The 12 bakers who line up in the first show hail from Invercargill to Auckland. There’s a spin doctor, a body piercer, a flight attendant, a competitive bodybuilder and a teacher. Over 10 weeks, they’ll be challenged with cakes, pastries, loaves and more cakes.

If the experience in other countries is anything to go by, their efforts will move New Zealand viewers to get baking themselves. In Britain, sales of baking gear and ingredients rose sharply and membership of the Women’s Institute reached its highest level since the 1970s. Truly, there is everything to bake for.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off will also be available on TVNZ OnDemand, along with behind-the-scenes show The Great Kiwi Bake Off: An Extra Slice.

This article was first published in the October 13, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

The key to long-term success after weight-loss surgery
107438 2019-06-26 00:00:00Z Health

The key to long-term success after weight-loss sur…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Weight-loss surgery is becoming more common, but lifestyle and attitude changes are needed for long-term success.

Read more
Matariki feast: Kasey and Karena Bird's family recipes
107605 2019-06-25 11:39:22Z Food

Matariki feast: Kasey and Karena Bird's family rec…

by Lauraine Jacobs

Māori food champions Kasey and Karena Bird share traditional family recipes that are ideal for Matariki.

Read more
Julie Anne Genter on bicycles, babies and what's going to make a better world
107579 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Profiles

Julie Anne Genter on bicycles, babies and what's g…

by Emma Clifton

The MP made world headlines when she cycled to hospital to give birth. She talks about how this put her and what she stands for in the spotlight.

Read more
Toy Story 4: The beloved franchise reaches a Forky in the road
107472 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Movies

Toy Story 4: The beloved franchise reaches a Forky…

by Russell Baillie

The fourth Toy Story instalment is clever, enjoyable and refreshingly weird.

Read more
Mitre 10 living wage ruling sets precedent for retail staff - union
Apple set to offer sign-in service to rival Facebook and Google
107596 2019-06-25 00:00:00Z Tech

Apple set to offer sign-in service to rival Facebo…

by Peter Griffin

In the wake of data-privacy scandals, Apple is beefing up protection for owners of its devices.

Read more
Understanding New Zealanders' attitudes to paying tax
107563 2019-06-24 16:28:59Z Business

Understanding New Zealanders' attitudes to paying…

by Nikki Mandow

We are pretty good about paying our taxes here, so why would we willingly go along with avoiding GST?

Read more
Border tax rort: Could you be caught by a Customs crackdown?
107530 2019-06-24 10:19:12Z Business

Border tax rort: Could you be caught by a Customs…

by Nikki Mandow

New Zealand retailers hit by a GST rort that has been going on for at least two years hope officials, Trade Me, ministers and even customers will...

Read more