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Ghost Canyon

'The Great British Baking Show - Season 5'
(Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry, et al / 3-DVD / NR / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: 12 amateur bakers head for the competition tent in the British countryside, hoping to be named the best by judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, alongside hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

DVD Verdict: OK, before we get into this TV show's fifth season, let's first give you a quick overview of what it was originally named and what season this really actually is on screen!

The Great British Bake Off (often referred to as Bake Off or GBBO) is a British television baking competition produced by Love Productions, in which a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress a group of judges with their baking skills, with a contestant being eliminated in each round, with the winner being selected from the remaining contestants that make it to the finals.

The show's first episode was aired on 17 August 2010, with its first four series broadcast on BBC Two, until its growing popularity led the BBC to move it to BBC One for the next three series.

After its seventh series, Love Productions signed a three-year deal with Channel 4 to produce the show for the broadcaster.

The program was originally presented by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, with judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. The current presenters are Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig with Hollywood and Prue Leith as the judges.

With me so far? Good, right then, I shall continue. In chronological order, the winners are Edd Kimber, Joanne Wheatley, John Whaite, Frances Quinn, Nancy Birtwhistle, Nadiya Hussain, Candice Brown and Sophie Faldo.

The show has become a significant part of British culture and is credited with reinvigorating interest in baking throughout the United Kingdom, with many of its participants, including winners, having gone on to start a career based on bakery, while the BAFTA award-winning program has spawned a number of specials and spin-off shows – a celebrity charity series in aid of Sport Relief or Comic Relief or Stand Up To Cancer; Junior Bake Off for young children (broadcast on the CBBC channel); after-show series An Extra Slice; and Bake Off: The Professionals for teams of pastry chefs.

The show's format was used as the basis for two BBC Two series, The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down, ... and, finally, in addition to the show being shown in other countries (here in the United States and Canada), the show is referred to as 'The Great British Baking Show.'

Indeed, and no matter what name it goes under, the format has also been sold to many countries around the world where local versions of the show are produced.

And the final cherry on the cake? Well, this Season 5 is actually UK Season 3! So, well, there you have it, my friends!

Here in Season 5 (Season 3 UK), each episode has a Signature Bake to test creativity and baking ability; a Technical Challenge to make basic recipes with minimal instruction; and the Showstopper Bake to display depth of skill and talent.

Season 5 (Season 3 UK) brings bakers Brendan, Cathryn, Danny, James, John, Manisha, Natasha, Peter, Ryan, Sarah-Jane, Stuart, and Victoria to the competition tent.

Inclusive of ten delicious episodes - Cakes, Bread, Tarts, Desserts, Pies, Puddings, Sweet Dough, Biscuits, Patisserie, and The Final Reveal - this fifth season (third UK!) is one of the best, in my books.

In 'Tarts,' the classic tarte tatin was set as the signature challenge. The tarte tatin could be sweet or savory, and had to be finished in two and half hours.

Baking a treacle tart was set as the technical challenge by Mary, with the requirement that the pastry lattice on top be woven. The bakers were given two hours for the challenge.

For the showstopper, the bakers were required to make a large designer fruit tart fit for a window display in less than three hours.

For 'Desserts,' the bakers were given three hours to make a torte cake (made without conventional wheat flour) as the signature bake. The torte should be more than 20 cm in diameter.

Mary set crème caramel as the technical challenge, to be finished two and three-quarter hours. A four-layered meringue dessert was the showstopper challenge.

The last one I'll delve into was my personal favorite, 'Pies.' The signature bake was Wellington, which Paul specified should be at least 8 inches long and completely covered with pastry.

The bakers were given three hours for the challenge. The technical challenge was to make a hand-raised pie in two and a quarter hours. This was to be made with hot water crust and molded using a dolly.

The pie was left to set overnight and judged the next day. For the showstopper challenge, the bakers were required to bake a family-sized sweet American-style pie in three and a half hours.

Filmed at Harptree Court in East Harptree, Somerset, England, ... ** SPOILER ALERT ** ..., seven thousand applied for the competition and twelve contestants were chosen. And, for the first time, all three finalists were male: Brendan Lynch, John Whaite and James Morton. The competition was won by ... nah, I can't do that to ya! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.