I am not sure how this has happened. But I am about to turn 40 and I have never watched a full episode of The Great British Bake Off.
As the new series airs this evening, I’ll be losing my GBBO virginity.
First of all I have to say this isn’t out of any dislike of the idea, or indeed baking. In fact, I love baking, I do a lot of it at home.
Just a couple of weekends ago I made sausage rolls (that's the picture in case you were wondering) and flapjacks for a picnic. I whip up some amazing flourless chocolate brownies. I’ve made banana loaf ad infinitum and I’ve been working on my scones since I was about seven years old.
I was a prime candidate for watching Bake Off from the, well, Off.
Add in a love of Mel and Sue first honed watching Light Lunch and it was THE show for me.
So I’m not sure how I managed to miss GBBO, but it just never happened.
I’ve dabbled - I remember catching five minutes and seeing Candice lift the trophy last year, and glimpsed Abbey Clancy’s Shard cake. But never, ever a whole episode.
I’ve never held my breath while they all hunker down in the tent to see who is star baker. All the puns, while I know them, have passed me by conversationally. I've never LOL-ed in the office over soggy bottoms.
SO - have I missed out on a rite of passage? Can I ever be a GBBO fan? After all, things have changed. Now, of course, it’s not the ‘real’ bake off I’ll be watching this evening, is it? This is the Channel 4 version, the non Mel&Sue version. Not a Mary Berry in sight.
However, I wonder if I have missed the boat. Am I coming to bake off too late? And the question is, does this matter?
I am the nearly-40-year-old GBBO Virgin. Is coming late to the cake party ok, or should I accept I just don’t have enough history with it to start now?
I admit that if it was The Great British Cheese Show I'd have been in there from the start. I do tend to prefer savoury to sweet. But they do pastry, right? WHERE HAVE I BEEN?
Maybe it’s better never to have seen it. I can’t wail with dismay at the new format or presenters, I know no different! I can only press forward, hoping GBBO is one for me, because The Boyfriend likes it. Then we can watch together, and I like watching TV together.
I asked him why he's a fan. ‘Everyone seems to be a very nice person on it,’ he says. ‘There doesn’t seem to be any undercurrent of the contestants being in it for a career, or to stitch someone else up. Plus, cake and bread.’
Can't argue with that. So one question remains. Am I the only one watching this for the first time this evening?