Great British Bake Off: Netflix Seasons Explained And Ranked
No soggy bottoms here.
While we're all stuck inside practicing social distancing, there's a pretty good chance you or someone you know has turned to the world of baking to pass the time. It's arguably one of the healthier ways to cope with the isolation of the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, considering the other popular alternatives include things like cutting your own hair--though if you're already at that stage, we wish you the very best.
But for those of you in baking and cooking mode, now is a great time to mainline one of the greatest cooking competitions of all time: The Great British Bake Off (or The Great British Baking Show, or "GBBO" as it's otherwise referred to), which is streaming almost entirely on Netflix right now. It's the sort of kind-hearted, family-friendly entertainment we could use more of, especially now, and on top of being just overwhelmingly wholesome, it's also inspirational. Come for the camaraderie between competitors, stay for the cool (and sometimes completely baffling) British food.
Unfortunately, Netflix has an extremely bizarre numbering system for the seasons--they're spread across multiple "collections" under different sub-heads. There's no real rhyme or reason we can see for Netflix's numbering system--it's certainly not chronological. Season 8 became Netflix Collection 5, Season 4 is Collection 2, and so on. It's kind of a mess. But lucky for you, we've gone through and ironed out all the weirdness, matched up the Seasons with their Collection numbers, and ranked each one by how much we love them.
9. Season 3/Netflix Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings
Despite being the third season overall, thanks to Netflix's wonky numbering this is likely the first season most people streaming the show will experience. As such, it's definitely not bad--no part of Bake Off is bad--but it's also just not very memorable, especially standing in the shadow of later seasons. The weekly themes don't ask for much out-of-the-box thinking, but the finale showstoppers are pretty cool.
8. Seasons 1 and 2
The first two seasons of Bake Off were never made available on Netflix, so we've never been able to watch them here in the States. This makes us wonder--what are they hiding? Why are they forbidden? What deeply British secrets are Paul and Mary trying to keep from us?
7. Season 8/Netflix Collection 5
The contestants of Bake Off come from all walks of life but Season 8 winner Sophie's ex-military stuntwoman-in-training background was among the most memorable. Who doesn't love a superhero who can also make you some incredible cakes and cookies?
This season is also worth noting because judge Prue accidentally spoiled the results in a tweet a full day before the finale aired--but don't worry, Prue. We forgive you.
6. Season 4/Netflix Collection 2
Another season made memorable by baking scandal, Season 4's "custardgate" is one of Bake Off's weirdest controversies. Contestant Deborah accidentally used contestant Howard's custard in her trifle, which then forced Howard to use Deborah's. They owned up to the mix-up right away, making for a tricky round of judging for Paul and Mary.
5. Season 6/Netflix Collection 3
Bake Off has no shortage of heart-warming moments, but Nadiya's Season 6 win has to be one of the best. In her tear-jerking victory speech, she opened up about how the win boosted her self confidence and nearly drove judge Mary Berry to tears herself.
4. Season 7/Netflix Collection 4
Sometimes it's not the winners who make a season worthwhile--it's not that we don't like Candice, who took home the big prize, but we have to be honest: Selasi was robbed. Eliminated in the penultimate episode, Selasi was one of Bake Off's most charming contestants, from his friendship with the aerobics loving retiree, Val, to his unique bakes. Luckily, he made a return for the recent Christmas special--but we wish he could have tried his hand at the finale.
3. Season 10/Netflix Collection 7
The most recent season aired weekly on Netflix, giving international fans a chance to experience the pulse-pounding tension of watching friendly, pleasant people cooking interesting food for nice judges. The cast of characters was as eclectic as usual, including goth horror enthusiast Helena, whose kinship with host Noel Fielding was an absolute delight.
2. Season 9/Netflix Collection 6
There have been plenty of memorable characters in Bake Off history, but none quite as charming as Season 9's winner, Rahul, who spent the season simultaneously turning out masterpiece bake after masterpiece bake and completely, utterly befuddled by his own skill. Rahul's quirky, hilariously deadpan self deprecation and sense of humor made him not only a joy to watch, but one of Bake Off's most satisfying feel-good stories.
1. Season 5/Netflix Collection 1
Few moments in Bake Off history stand out as much as the infamous "bingate," otherwise known as that time a contestant threw his project away rather than present it to the judges. The story is a tragic one--the way the show was edited suggested sabotage. Diana, in the aired version of events, was shown removing Iain's Baked Alaska from the freezer before it was ready, causing it to melt (and thus, end up in the trash.) In reality, Diana had done no such thing, and had in fact only moved the Baked Alaska from the freezer for a split second to make space for her own bake.
Regardless, the net result was the same--a bake in the trash, a garbage can toted up to the judge's table, and Iain being sent home. Diana was withdrawn from the competition the next week, though not because of the bingate controversy--she suffered a head injury the night before the episode was scheduled to be taped.
Eventually, Nancy was proclaimed the winner of a very, very memorable season.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot's parent company