ROLAND WHITE reviews last night’s TV: Bake Off without the cakes? Sorry, it’s just a bit… wooden
Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker – The Final
Misti’s top priority is to fix her wobbly bottom,’ said Mel Giedroyc in the final of Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker (C4). You can remove the presenter from Bake Off, but you can’t entirely remove Bake Off from the presenter. At least the bottom wasn’t soggy.
Luckily, Misti managed to repair the base of her ambitious garden lounge, which looked like a wooden version of the Apollo lunar module, and duly snatched the title from fellow finalists Charlie and Radha.
The judges, furniture maker Helen Welch and architect Alex De Rijke, had asked for a large outdoor structure. Radha produced a meditation shed. Charlie knocked up a tepee, although at one point she struggled with her hexagonal ring beam (the bit at the top).
Mel Giedroyc hosted the final of Handmade: Britain’s Best Woodworker
And there you have the problem at the heart of Handmade. It is impossible to get excited about somebody else’s hexagonal ring beam.
Handmade has many of the elements of Bake Off, and suffers by comparison. Bake Off is relentlessly colourful and upbeat. This wasn’t always the case in Handmade.
Halfway through the main challenge the contestants were taken to an open-sided tent, where they had to make a marquetry image of a nearby bridge. It was so cold Radha brought a blanket, a hot water bottle and handwarmers. Rain fell steadily outside as we watched them cutting up little pieces of wood with a scalpel.
Even if they know nothing about cookery, the average viewer can drool over a dozen muffins or a chocolate gateau. If you find yourself drooling over a mortice and tenon joint or a well-turned piece of dowelling, you should probably seek medical attention.
TREAT OF THE WEEK:
The 1970s sitcom Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is now available on Britbox. Fans will enjoy the adventures of accident-prone Frank Spencer, while the rest of us can puzzle over this question: what on Earth did the lovely Betty see in him?
In Bake Off, winner Giuseppe got misty-eyed about his family in Italy. In Handmade, Charlie announced: ‘I love my digital angle finder.’
Sorry, but give me overcooked Belgian buns and the Hollywood handshake every time.
It’s been quite a week for finals. Not just Handmade and Bake Off, but also the latest offering from Taskmaster (C4). Comedian Morgana Robinson carried off the series title and the prize, a golden bust of taskmaster Greg Davies. Second prize: two golden busts.
Taskmaster is one of those shows which holds you hostage and makes you laugh against your will. You sit there thinking it is just silly, and then — without warning — the laughter of the contestants becomes infectious.
For some of their final challenges, the contestants were asked to make birdsong noises, and — not at the same time — to drink a large glass of Ribena while keeping their mouths open. This turned out to be more difficult than you’d think. Victoria Coren-Mitchell took eight minutes and 30 seconds, although comedian Desiree Burch downed her glass in just seven seconds.
The contestants also had to propose marriage to Alex Horne, who devises the challenges, and this round produced one of the most heart-tugging Taskmaster moments. Possibly the only heart-tugging Taskmaster moment.
Victoria, married to the comedian David Mitchell, simply couldn’t bring herself to propose. ‘I am so happily married,’ she later explained. ‘I am so besotted with my husband, I genuinely worried about proposing to another man, even as a joke.’
‘Pretty damn sweet if you ask me,’ said Greg Davies.
It was indeed, but I do wonder whether Victoria has ever heard of that thing where people say stuff they don’t really mean? No, not politics — acting.