It takes courage to sign up, as an ordinary, regular person, for one of the nation's best-loved TV shows. To go from being comfortably anonymous to being on The Great British Bake Off week in, week out must be quite overwhelming, with swarms of people ready and waiting to thrust their opinions (both kind and cruel) on to you via social media.
Yesterday, one of the finalists of this year's series, Laura Adlington, spoke honestly and bravely about the emotional impact being trolled can have on a person. After she was told she had made the final three at the expense of much-loved fellow baker Hermine, flocks of keyboard warriors hounded Laura with harsh words - and it hurt.
"It's easy to sit there on your sofa and judge. But I am a real person with feelings," Laura posted on Twitter. "Please take a moment to consider your words before you judge someone you've never met and whose food you've never tasted."
It was upsetting to hear how 31-year-old Laura had been made to feel by hurtful trolls, and in the wake of her candid post, several other former GBBO contestants have now spoken out about the pain they were caused when viewers attacked them during their time on the show.
Rosie Brandreth-Poynter, who made it to the semi-final of last year's Bake Off, posted a Twitter thread about her awful experience. "Last year, while on Bake Off I was bullied horribly," she wrote, adding that it didn't just take place online, but "even went as far as phone calls to my work to tell me to die.
"When we saw the new contestants announced this year, I was so worried about who was going to be the ‘me’ of this year. It’s been a tough year," she added.
Kim-Joy, who also took part in the 2019 series of the baking show, responded to Rosie's post, writing, "It’s awful." Along with a sad face emoji, the baker added: "So amazing on one hand to be on TV baking, but so crushing on the other hand people trying to knock you down."
For everyone so I really hoped there would be more kindness this year. Clearly not. The contestants are real people who just like to make cakes! Please think before typing something publicly. How would you feel if that was said about you or your friends or family? The hardest
— Rosie Brandreth-Poynter (@RosieBrandreth) November 18, 2020
Winner of The Great British Bake Off 2016 Candice Brown was another former contestant to share her experience, while urging online bullies to think before they type."For those of you having an ‘opinion’ or writing horrible things about anyone - including those on @BritishBakeOff I am beyond disgusted," she posted. "Having been there myself, realise this - you are ruining what should be one of the best times and moments of someone’s life. That’s not ok."
Last year's contestant Michael Chakraverty also had some wise words on the issue, and any poison-tongued viewers out there could perhaps try listening to him. "REMEMBER you can show solidarity with your fave going home WITHOUT slagging off the others," he wrote on Twitter.
if you have something shitty to say about any of the bakers, take your comment, put it in the bin, and climb in after it. pic.twitter.com/9HkplrKb3F
— Michael Chakraverty (@mschakraverty) November 17, 2020
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