Since I was a little girl, my English born-Australian-raised mother has subjected me to Anglo-mania at every turn.
Cups of tea; BBC; Union Jack Cushions on every sofa - so as you can imagine, the Great British Bakeoff is well known and loved in our family house-hold. “I’ll have to call back later darling” Mum will say absent mindedly whilst I ring her back at last after being nagged all day to call. “We’re watching The Great British Bakeoff - and it’s SO funny!” she’d say, not hearing my eyes roll over the phone.
After being talked into it I watched a fair few episodes, and I must admit: it’s my piece of cake. It’s the sort of programme you cannot help but fall in love with, like a really good chocolate chip cookie.
So you can only imagine my utter glee and excitement when I found out that there was a New Zealand version launching on our screens (from 16 October onwards - Tuesday 7:30pm on TV2) presented by none-other than my amazing and very talented Wellington-born, now Auckland based school friend, Hayley Sproull. Hayley and I shared the same study period in seventh form - and you can, if you’ve seen her on Funny Girls, Jono and Ben or Hayley’s Kitchen, imagine how much study was actually achieved. Hayley never had a plan B for her career, knowing she wanted to be an actress. Ten years after our study periods, it gives me huge joy that her ability to make me wet myself with laughter is something that everyone else can share in. Co-presented by the ultra cool Madeline Sami, the two act out the ‘Sue & Mel’ comedy dynamic of the English version. They’re joined by the judges, global baking impresario Dean Brettschneider and catering queen Sue Fleischl.
Last night we had the first episode in Kiwiland: 2 amateur bakers began their 21 baking challenges in 10 weeks with the twin tasks of creating 24 cupcakes and a showstopping kids' birthday cake. While I can’t catch up (YET) until I am in the internet zone for Aotearoa, I am incredibly excited to catch up on The Great Kiwi Bakeoff watching it on TVNZ on Demand (I am currently in Greece as I write this post). Why?
First, the recipe of the show is one that, like a Victoria Sponge - the right airiness and lightness is difficult to find, but its perfect when you nail it! Second, I love reading the commentary about our home-grown TV; always entertaining and almost as fun as watching the show; Finally - I want to get inspired to be a better domestic goddess. No doubt ‘Bakeoff NZ’ will see me running to the shelves at the supermarket for flour and sugar. And, most importantly, I simply cannot wait to see Hayley mate use her talent for smutty inuedndo - and being paid to do so.
I got in touch with Hayley and we had a chat about why she’s saying ‘Moist’ and ‘Soggy Bottom’ over and over and what she thinks of the new UK presenter, Noel Fielding.
1. How did you land the high presenting Kiwi Bake-off? Sounds like a dream job!
The old fashioned way! Turn up, audition, get a great phone call saying 'You've got the job'! It's definitely a dream job - making jokes with my friend all day while eating cake? I'm in. I'm also a big fan of The Great British Bake Off (and cooking shows in general to be honest) so the idea of being part of that brand in some way was beyond exciting. Also, something a little less... edgy shall I say...so my family can finally share it with their friends without having to go 'Here's something Hayley's in. Brace yourselves - it's weird'.
2. Describe the show and why it’s basically drool worthy?
It's a sweet show. Sweet in that it doesn't have any of the fabricated bull shit that lots of other reality shows have. There is no villain, no bitchiness, no evil plans of sabotage. It's just a genuinely lovely show made with a bunch of people who just love to Bake! And sweet also in that there's a LOT of sugar.
3. I saw on Instagram stories you and Madeline got up to hijinks? Please describe.
Madz and I actually didn't really know each other before The Great Kiwi Bake Off, but we became instant friends. On set we were inseparable and even suffered abandonment issues when one person would go to the bathroom. We loved egging each other on and also trying to make the contestants laugh. It can be quite stressful for them, so we loved creating opportunities to shake things up for them. Plus we were really high on sugar most of the time.
4. What’s the best thing about being on the show? Did you gain any weight? Was that something you felt you needed to watch out for?
It's just an amazingly fun environment, on and off camera. Everything about being there is delightful - the environment, the awesome clothes we got to wear, realising that it's the freakin' BAKE OFF. I gained weight for sure, but give zero shits about that stuff anymore. Wasted too many teenage years worrying about that only to realise it doesn't matter!
5. Did you watch other Bake-off shows to prep? Do you have a bit of a crush on Noel Feilding like me?
HUGE fan of The Great British Bake Off, and didn't have to binge watch it before doing the job because I've literally watched every episode over the years anyway! You know what? Not a huge Noel Feilding fan. Unpopular view but I've tried. And I just don't. He's too smooth for me - I like my men more grizzly.
6. How many times did you say moist?
As many times as I possibly could. Which on a baking show, is OFTEN. Another couple of words said a lot on set was 'soggy bottom' which I found equally as amusing.
7. What’s next for you?
Like all freelancers, who knows! Everything is always up in the air, but lots of exciting things in the ether. It's that boring thing of I can't tell you, but it's all very cool and big and I'm excited for the future. TV show, movie, web-series...hopefully a wedding?