“Paul and Mary Would Like You to Bake”
Heritage Television, Englishness, and an Idealized Multicultural National Identity
Keywords:heritage film, The Great British Bake Off, multiculturalism, national identity, postimperial nostalgia
In a time of devolution and fragmentation in the UK, The Great British Bake Off plays into the elements of heritage film and imperial nostalgia and especially all things considered ‘English’. However, the show also attempts to include a more diverse representation of the British people and recreate a national identity that leaves more space for ethnic minorities. Linking theories on national identity and theories on heritage film, this article examines how the GBBO format acts as heritage television which idealizes certain aspects of English history, as well as how the inclusion and celebration of contestants with an ethnic minority background adds to a portrayal of an idealized form of British multiculturalism. These findings lay the basis for a discussion on the connection between food culture and multiculturalism, and how GBBO tries to combine the past ‘glory’ of England with the present (multicultural) reality of Britain.
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