An Analysis of the great British bake off show

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The Great British Bake Off, sometimes known as GBBO or bake off, is a baking television program on British television that chooses among contestants the finest amateur baker. Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc introduced the show, and the judges are professional baker Paul Hollywood and cookbook author Mary Bell (Abbots, 2015, p. 230). The show has been broadcast in the US under the GBBO name and Pillsbury’s trade mark in the country. it first started on the BBC Two channel in 2010and by the time it was on its fifth series, it had become so much popular that it was moved on to BBC One. This bake off show has become significantly, part of the British culture and has gained a reinvigorating credited interest all through the United Kingdom. The show has had a serious impact on the audience as many of the participants and viewers including winners have now started a career on bakery. it has won several awards including the BAFTA award spawning a number of spin offs and special shows including a series on celebrity charity in aid of comic relief or sport relief, junior bake off for kids (Blythman, 2006, p.1). Other shows include an extra slice which is a companion series and the Bake off: crème de la crème a show for a team of professional chefs. The great British sewing bee and the great pottery throw down have also used the format of the GBBO. This format has been sold to other several countries all over the world where there is production of local versions of the show. This show has awesome learning processes which influence consumer attitude.

The format of the program involves a weekly elimination process of finding the baker who is best all-around among several contestants who are amateurs. Applicants get looked for by a researcher and what follows next is an audition with two of their bakes in London. They then undergo a screen test and are interviewed by the producer (Worsley et al. 2014, p. 261). The other audition involves baking two recipes in front of cameras and the judges. in each of the episodes, the bakers get three challenges that involve a technical challenge, a signature bake and a show-stopper. All the challenges take place in about two days with filming eating up to sixteen hours in a day. After assessment by the judges, the star baker gets chosen for the week and one contestant gets eliminated. The final round has three contestants left for the challenge from where one gets chosen in the end. The signature challenge involves showing off recipes that have been tried and tested by the bakers. The recipes are for bakes that they might make for friends and families. The technical challenge needs one to have technical experience and knowledge in producing a certain finished product after being given instructions that are very limited (Blythman, 2006, p.1). The bakers get the recipes but do not know about the challenge beforehand. Their finished products get judged and ranked from best to worst.

The show-stopper challenge involves bakers showing off their skills and also talent. The favor of the judges goes to the bake that has an outstanding taste and a professional appearance. During the first series the cast location and crew move from one city to the next in each week while from the second series the casting is stationed in one place in a marquee that is specially constructed. Interspersed in this program is the background of the various contestants and video vignettes about baking history. Animated graphics are used to illustrate what each of the baker intends to bake in any particular challenge. Tom Hovey has been developing the graphics since the inception of the show in 2010.

A number of learning theories can be used to analyze how the GBBO show affects consumer attitude among the audience. These include vicarious learning, behavioral learning and cognitive theories. Attitude theories include the cognitive consistence attitude, congruity theory and the affective cognitive consistency theory (Chaiken, and Trope, 1999. p.314). The vicarious learning theory refers the process of learning of behavior from watching videos involving that behavior. It refers to the instructional method of learning whereby the learners hear or see the learning situation. In this case learners are not addressees or do no0t interact with the observed learner or instructions of the learner who is being observed. Although this type of learning encompasses videos that have been recorded involving human interactions the case involves live vicarious learning. For instance in the GBBO show the audience watch the live interaction between the contestants and the judges who happen to be the instructors. The audience learns by watching a problem being solved which is in this case getting the best baker out of a number of contestants who are under instructions of the judges (Manz, and Sims, 1981, p. 107). In this case vicarious learning influences the attitude of the audience into either liking the show after watching it or simply despising it. On the other side, the contestants learn by direct involvement under different forms of dyadic instructions. They learn through being tutees after which their positive attitude challenges them to join careers that involve bakery.

Behavioral learning involves a learning process that focuses on observable behaviors objectively and discounts the minds independent activities. It involves acquisition of a new behavior based on the conditions of the environment. This learning process involves two cases of conditioning which include classical conditioning which is natural. For instance when one develops fear of something without being compelled to develop the phobia (Ormrod, 1999, p. 176). The other conditioning is the operant or behavioral conditioning where reinforcement or reward is applied to compel one to like or hate something. In the GBBO show, the audience and the contestants develop their attitude out of operant conditioning in that there is a reward after the challenge. This process make the audience think that baking is an enjoyable career. This fact makes them like the idea of baking a case that was not in them before the show was staged.

Cognitive learning theory assumes that the human brain is the incredible in processing information and determines the interpretation of the body during the process of learning. Under social cognitive behavior learning, three variables are normally interrelated including behavior factors, personal factors and environmental factors. Under the personal and environment interaction, the human ideas and beliefs are controlled by external factors like stressful environment (Rousseau, 2014, p. 751). This can explain how the audience develop positive attitude out of the GBBO show creating an enjoyable environment. Under the person and behavior interaction the performance of human behavior modifies the way of thinking. This can explain the reason why the various contestants end up liking the idea of baking depending on whether they win in the contestant or they get removed early. Those who move out in the first week may end up with a negative attitude to the show and baking as an activity. The winners on the other hand may end up liking the show and baking making them enroll to the career. Under the behavior and environment interaction external factors can change the way one displays their behavior. This theory implies that for one to develop a positive attitude on something, they must possess in them personal characteristics that are positive, exhibit the best of behaviors and be in an environment that is supportive (Worsley et al. 2014, p. 261).

There are also attitude theories that explain the reason why humans may develop a positive or a negative attitude towards something. The first one is the cognitive consistency theory that explains the fact that people will tend to seek some form of consistency among attitude and between attitude and behavior. This implies that they seek to reconcile attitudes that are divergent and align them to their behaviors so that they remain consistent and rational. Relating this on the GBBO show and the audience attitude, many people may end up liking it and baking as a profession just because they have had the idea of baking is nice (Eagly, and Chaiken, 1993, p. 123). When the show comes in to view, they feel supported and take it as a back up to their former attitude. On the other hand those with a negative attitude about baking as a career may not find it good to like it just because the show has been staged. This explains why some like the show while others hate it. the congruity theory is close to the consistency theory as it focuses on the fact that a source of attitude change and the concept that are associated positively have the same evaluations while the opposite is true for negative association of the course and concept (Eagly, and Karau, 2002, p. 573). When the audience have negative or positive attitude about baking, it explains whether they like or hate the GBBO show or the aspect of baking. The cognitive dissonance theory explains the incompatibility that one might perceive between attitudes or between an attitude and behavior. This can explain how people end up changing their attitudes after a certain experience. When the new attitude and the original attitude bring about discomfort, one may end up reducing the inconsistency by avoiding change.

The GBBO show that involves contestants taking part in a baking challenge has been gaining popularity and a change of attitude since its introduction in 2010. This fact can be explained by how the show initially received a negative reception at the initial stages during the first episode had few fans but increased viewers as it became more popular during the other episodes. the audience have come to like about the show and the profession of baking through various learning processes that determine their end attitude about the two aspects. These learning theories include the behavioral learning, cognitive learning and vicarious learning theories. Still this attitude that develops among the audience can also be explained by the various attitude theories that include; the cognitive consistence attitude, congruity theory and the dissonance theory.


Abbots, E.J., 2015. The intimacies of industry: Consumer interactions with the “stuff” of celebrity chefs. Food, Culture & Society, 18(2), pp.223-243.

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Eagly, A.H. and Karau, S.J., 2002. Role congruity theory of prejudice toward female leaders. Psychological review, 109(3), p.573.

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February 22, 2023

TV Europe

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