Partial Transcript from The Great Brexit Baking Show
by Rich Larson
Season 23, Episode 4
EXT. LAWN - DAY
Drone’s eye view of massive rectangular white TENT centered on verdant lawn. Gleaming metallic GARDENING BOTS trundle across the grass, snipping and spritzing.
Cheery music plays as we zoom in on the show’s HOST, EDDIE TART, standing outside the TENT. He is a sallow, sweaty man in a floral-printed suit.
Welcome, welcome, one and all, to our twenty-third season! Once again, we’ve scoured the isle to find the very best amateur bakers in England -- and by extension, the world -- for a gruelling, six-week competition that will put their skills to the test! And this week? Things are going to get chocolatey!
Zoom out as EDDIE TART beams and waves. Aerial view of the CONTESTANTS walking in single file toward the TENT, most carrying parasols for shade. The drone rises slightly too high: on the borders of the lush green lawn, we see withered yellow grass and desiccated dirt.
INT. TENT - DAY
Interview shot of CONTESTANT with caption: SANDRA, 37, GUILDFORD. She has darting dark eyes and a nervous smile.
I’ve honestly never worked much with chocolate, as, you know, it’s quite expensive, and obviously the synthetic cocoa, that Brit Bar stuff, is just --
She blinks rapidly.
It’s great, and the fact that it’s manufactured here in England, well, that makes it taste all the better! Doesn’t it?
Interview shot of CONTESTANT with caption: JOHN, 44, LIVERPOOL. He has thick glasses, sparse gray hair, a shell-shocked gaze.
It’s going to be a disaster. I mean, it’s bloody 54 degrees Celsius today. I just don’t understand why they keep doing this, why every year they act as if --
EXT. JUDGES’ GAZEBO - DAY
A small climate-controlled pagoda with tinted glass windows.
EDDIE TART (V.O.)
It’s an unseasonably warm summer this year, and you have to wonder if the heat might be a factor for our brave chocolatiers! Let’s get the scoop from our judges, renowned pastry chef DIANA DALTON and simulated legacy intelligence PAUL HOLOGRAM!
INT. JUDGES’ GAZEBO - DAY
DIANA DALTON, wearing a thoughtful smile and a navy pantsuit patterned with tiny Union Jacks, is seated on a sleek white couch. PAUL HOLOGRAM, a heavy-set old man with a neatly trimmed beard and bright blue eyes, sits beside her. There are occasional flickers of pixelation when he moves.
Oh, it’s certainly going to be a challenge for them. I advocated for a sealed kitchen with proper climate control, but Paul here always gets his way, don’t you, Paul?
During my career I’ve baked in all sorts of conditions, Diana. It never killed me.
What did kill you, Paul?
Bit of a personal question, there, Diana. Tell you one thing: it wasn’t melted chocolate.
What a wonderful way to go that would be! Let me just toddle off to have my neural patterns uploaded, then -- then come back and drown myself in a vat of dark chocolate.
She gives a pained smile.
INT. TENT - DAY
Two rows of countertops and ovens fill the space, with pop-up pantries and freezers at the back. Frenzied activity as the CONTESTANTS race against time, whisking egg whites, rolling out rough puff, sectioning thick slabs of chocolate. They are drenched in sweat.
EDDIE TART, DIANA DALTON, and a clicking rolling spheroid wander the tent, observing the various creations underway. They stop at JOHN’s countertop.
(dabbing sweat from her face)
Good morning, John! Beautiful day, isn’t it? What are you making for us this morning?
JOHN wipes his hands on his apron.
Ah, yeah, so what I’ve decided to go with is a classic chocolate eclair, very much what you’d see in a French patisserie --
Why a French patisserie?
(with a stiff smile)
Why not an English patisserie?
JOHN glances at the camera and gives an uncertain laugh. His fingers fiddle with his apron tie.
I mean, it could certainly be found in an English patisserie, as well. I don’t know why I -- why I specified French. I’ve actually never visited France, myself. Never saw any real reason to.
He clears his throat.
Bit mad, how people used to make such a fuss about the place.
INT. TENT - DAY
Intensely cheerful music plays as shots of the CONTESTANTS are interspersed with shots of the TICKING CLOCK. Faces furrowed with concentration, dripping with sweat. Countertops littered with implements. Hands splattered with chocolate.
EDDIE TART (V.O.)
With only half an hour remaining in this signature challenge, the heat is on! But whose work will stand up to scrutiny, and whose will topple? Who will emerge the champion of chocolate?
EXT. LAWN - DAY
The walls of the TENT sag and ripple. Above it, the sun is a hot white orb in a sandblasted sky. No trace of cloud. The GARDENING BOTS have stopped in place; their metal shells are bright mirrors dotting the green grass.
SANDRA slides her tray into a freezer, relishing the gush of cold air for a moment before she closes the door. EDDIE TART bounces up to her.
Well, well, look who’s the first one done! How are you feeling about it, Sandra?
(with a tired smile)
Now, I understand you’re from Guildford. But originally...?
(losing her smile)
I was born in Brighton.
Of course. But your family, originally...?
My family’s from Pakistan, originally. But they’ve been in England for generations.
Incredible. Incredible. How many generations?
How do you feel about the recent threat of nuclear aggression from the Chinese? I imagine you’re worried sick for your many relatives.
I have to do some more piping, Eddie. On my cake. Sorry.
INT. TENT - DAY
DIANA DALTON and the spheroid are off to one side, watching sweat-soaked CONTESTANTS place their creations in the freezers.
Any predictions for the result of this signature challenge, then?
The spheroid deploys its projector, and PAUL HOLOGRAM pops into view.
Handling chocolate is really all about the timing, Diana, and knowing your setting points. I saw a lot of rushing today, and that doesn’t bode well.
(staring off-screen, eyes wide)
Oh! Oh, my God.
Feel free to call me Paul, Diana.
The camera pans; we see that one of the CONTESTANTS has collapsed beside their oven. One of their neighbors is splashing water over their face. A PARAMEDIC rushes over, kit in hand.
INT. TENT - DAY
Pale-faced CONTESTANTS remove their baking from the freezers while their fallen fellow baker is stretchered past them. The more delicate creations begin wilting and melting almost immediately. We zoom in on the looks of dismay.
One cake stands out, topped with an ELEGANT CHOCOLATE LATTICE that is somehow withstanding the superheated air.
Tense string music as the CONTESTANTS present their offerings to the JUDGES, one by one. DIANA DALTON takes small, thoughtful bites, and feeds the tiny whirring food processor in the top of the spheroid.
It’s got no structure, I’m afraid. Just a poor bake.
(faintly, eyes straying to the empty counter where the HEAT STROKE occurred)
The taste is excellent, though.
The next CONTESTANT is SANDRA, who presents a ganache with a puddle seeping out from beneath it. She watches in anguish as the spheroid gnashes down its sample.
I’m afraid the mirror glaze let you down here, Sandra.
SANDRA takes her ruined cake and troops away, shoulders slumped. The last CONTESTANT is JANE, a freckly young woman with blonde hair and a confident air. Her elaborate chocolate lattice is fully intact, and EDDIE TART, who has been watching from the sidelines, beams.
So beautiful I can hardly bear to cut it! How did you manage?
Well, I knew it would be tricky with the heat -- so instead of the cocoa, I used Brit Bars, just how my mum always did when I was growing up...
Her eyes flick away.
In a rough-and-tumble working class neighborhood.
The other CONTESTANTS murmur in the background shot; some look at the discarded Brit Bar wrappers and shudder.
Ingenious! Inspirational! And so quintessentially English. Judges, you’d better have a taste before I steal the whole thing for myself.
DIANA DALTON hesitates, then slices off a piece of the cake, which she drops into PAUL HOLOGRAM’s food processor. His projected face contorts with disgust, but as he opens his mouth, his pixels jump and rearrange.
This is fantastic. Great design, great taste, you’ve really pulled out all the stops, here. If I had a corporeal hand, I’d shake yours.
JANE gives an awkward squeal of delight. The other CONTESTANTS shift nervously. One of them gives a loud sniff. DIANA DALTON, looking faintly ill, lifts her fork and takes a bite.
Oh, my. Lovely. Just lovely.
EDDIE TART takes a massive slice and eats with a manic glint in his eye. His smacking lips are the only sound in the tent. Then a CONTESTANT sniffs again, more loudly. Heads begin to turn toward the back of the tent. The camera tracks over to an abandoned oven just as thick dark SMOKE begins billowing out.
An ALARM blares. PAUL HOLOGRAM is panic-stricken.
Not again. Not again! No!
He vanishes, and the clicking spheroid speeds toward the exit. SMOKE is now filling the air. Jagged tongues of FLAME leap from the oven. The countertop catches and is set ablaze as the terrified CONTESTANTS rush for safety. EDDIE TART chews furiously, face pale, determined to swallow his bite of cake. Crumbs spray from his open mouth.
Delicious! It’s delicious, and I have no doubt that you’ll be going very far in this competition, Jane, because you’ve truly captured the spirit of what --
EXT. LAWN - DAY, DARKENED BY SMOKE
Aerial view of the rectangular white TENT, which is now a BONFIRE. The show’s CONTESTANTS and CREW stagger across the grass. EMERGENCY DRONES converge on the blaze, throwing jets of water into the raging flames. Cheerful music plays.
Copyright © 2023 by Rich Larson