The Bake Off is hopes and dreams, triumphs and disasters. It is one contestant’s struggle against the proving drawer, the soggy bottom, the piping bag. It is scones, victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, and the inadvisable use of lavender. It is birth, death, and every joy and sorrow in between. It is a brass band score, a sunny afternoon, a smear of flour on a fevered brow. It is the satisfying crunch of successful puff pastry, the forgiveness in Mary Berry’s eyes, the unanswerable question of how a cake can be ‘too cakey’. It is baking techniques that no one has heard of, it is the humble loaf raised to the most glorious standard. It is gallows humour in the face of the impossible, it is astonished incredulity in the face of the improbable.