words Arabella Hull
“It’s amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw.” Damien Hirst
Many famous shows have transformed from their original edition to a ‘celebrity’ in order to increase numbers. The Weakest Link did it. Who Wants to be a Millionaire? did it, only to be answered ‘I already am’ by the well-known contestants.
Big Brother did it as well, and George Orwell’s already profound concept was televised to the tune of Nikki Graham’s comments of being trapped in dystopia with her subordinates; “I am totally Beyonce and she is the f****** backing dancer.”
Interestingly, something that all of these celebrity shows lack is mainstream artists. Perhaps they are too unpredictable, but, then again, so are Anne Robinson’s eyebrows. In the wake of a new series of The Great British Bake Off, I wondered what it might be like if Damien Hirst graced our screens for Celebrity Great British Bake Off. Here is my fantasy:
It’s 11am and Damien has arrived at the BBC studio for a pre-show interview. His interviewer, the special guest Oprah Winfrey, has been flown in to increase the international viewing figures. She is slightly jet-lagged and ready to ask a few burning questions.
Oprah: Thanks for coming on the show. I have a few burning questions. Are you ready to get BURNED, DAMIEN?
In a seemingly spontaneous act to show how burning her questions are, she pulls a cigarette lighter out of her bra and sets her questions ablaze. A panicked intern runs up to Oprah with a fire extinguisher and splatters foam all over her face and her personalised chair. Oprah is irate, yet after 14 minutes of argument with the producers, sits down again under a new, unsinged weave. She grumbles something about the misuse of the word ‘literally’ by the producer. The interview resumes.
Damien: I came on this show to bake, Oprah, and that is all.
Oprah: There must be an ulterior motive, Damien.
Oprah: Look, Damien, you can lie to as many people as you want to about your ‘art’. But not me. Do you even know who I am?
Damien: Do you know who I am?
The sexual tension between Damien and Oprah fills the room like the heat of an overcooked flan. 7 minutes of silent eye contact ensues, after which the producers give up on the interview and decide to start the main competition.
It’s 12pm and the bakers are asked to make an ‘avant-garde jelly’. Damien fills a coffin with gelatine and evenly places four porpoise corpses inside. He nails the coffin shut and places it in the refrigerator for 4 hours, keeping true to the old tradition of jelly-making. On the coffin door he writes ‘fidelity’ in oatcakes to add some interesting decoration. He nervously waits.
4:30pm rolls around, and it’s Damien’s turn to present to the judges. After embarrassing and unprecedented difficulties taking the nails out, he is reduced to using a large chainsaw in front of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry to access his dessert. He scoops some out into two bowls and passes them to the judges. “Haha, get that down ya!”, he cries to the judges and a stunned studio audience. By this point, the atmosphere has turned from frivolous to somewhat sinister.
A dismayed Paul Hollywood makes no attempt at small talk, and accepts the bowl with a haunting sense of calm. His furrowed brows indicate his acceptance of imminent death. The combination of his trembling hand and the slippery jelly results in a 10 minute delay before any food is deposited into his mouth. He tortuously chews and chokes on Porpoise fin, whilst trying to maintain a smize directly into the camera. His lifeless body is carried away on a stretcher, later to ascend into martyrdom.
Mary Berry’s immortality and iron will means she is not harmed by the dish. Threatening to sack anyone who disagrees, she demands the show is renamed ‘The Hunger Games’, and the celebrities are now to battle it out to the death. She claims it is a natural progression. The production team agree, but only because the coffin is ajar next to the fridge, and the ‘fidelity’ written in oatcakes has now melted and looks like ‘feed to ITV’.
Oprah Winfrey: So, Damien, how are you feeling post show?
Damien: I’m quite happy about what I’ve done. To be honest, I didn’t come on this show to bake as much as I came on to feel better about my E in A-level art. I feel a lot better about that now because the producer asked me to make a “killer dessert, literally”, and I did.
Oprah, flirtatiously twisting her new weave: I knew it all along! You’re so… silly. Would you like to get coffee sometime?
Unfortunately, Arabella’s script for this show has since been rejected by the BBC, who claimed it ‘violated health and safety’. She has re-evaluated her life and decided not to pursue her dreams of writing celebrity-edition TV shows.