BBC bites back with Bake Off rival

There’s lots of sink-clutching and aggressive mumbling in the Big Family Cooking Showdown

The Kardashians may be our modern-day Marie Antoinettes, but we povos are way ahead of them when it comes to a love of cake. The trailer for the new series of The Great British Bake Off has popped up on Channel 4. Full of sentient cakes and biscuits singing Paul McCartney's We All Stand Together, it's emotional terrorism at its finest. How could your heartstrings not be pulled at the sight of a cake being shoved into an oven, greeting its own death, singing about "solidarity" as its chocolate button eyes start melting off its spongy face?

But fear not: the BBC has assembled a new cookery show just in time to launch alongside Channel 4's showstopper. The Big Family Cooking Showdown (BBC 2, Tuesday, 8pm) is the cosy autumnal nourishment we've come to expect from Aunty Beeb. It has the jaunty music and bucolic surroundings of Bake Off, but there's no tent, no Mary Berry or Mel and Sue, no confectionery items or soggy bottoms to be seen. But at least it's a cooking show free from the tyranny of nightmarish eggman Gregg Wallace.

Presented by the ever-zingy Zoe Ball and luminous Bake Off alumnus Nadiya Hussain (with judging help from experts Rosemary Shrager and Giorgio Locatelli), it pits families against each other to find the ultimate culinary clan.

The pace is a bit more frantic due to it being team-based, but it has that organic warmness and charm that just might be a hit with audiences. Its magic ingredient is the unique challenge of having to cook alongside family members on telly, which leads to jaw-clenching passive-aggressive displays of the Basil Fawlty variety. There's lots of sink-clutching and aggressive mumbling as nosy mams tut at their offspring's lumpy gravy or poke a finger in their fancy pasta.


It may not be the tiered treat that was Bake Off , but it might ultimately end up being easier to swallow than Channel 4's eclectic incarnation.