Ira's Data Site

Am I Late to the Great British Baking Party?

September 01, 2017 | 2 Minute Read

A few months ago, I was introduced to the magic that is The Great British Bake Off. Currently in its 8th season, the show is quite simple. Twelve of the best amateur bakers in the United Kingdom, come together each weekend to compete in an elimination style baking competition, to win the coveted title of UK's best amateur baker and the spoils that come with it ... aka a cake stand. While at first glance the show is pretty bland, the bakes prove to be anything bundt so.

In what can best be described as a perfectly British mix of pleasantries, baking, and cheeky humour, the show just seemed to subtly grab my attention, and before I knew it I was hooked. Since I started watching on Netflix, and the show had clearly been around a while, I wondered, was I late to the Bake Off?

Popularity in the US

As a good data science practitioner, I decided to answer the question with a chart. Using Google’s trend search I was able to see exactly when the show started to become popular in the US. While I consider myself “pop culture aware”, I certainly was not an early adopter in this instance.

Relative search popularity of Great British Bakeoff in the United States

The first major spike in February 2015 appears to be the result of a taste test gone wrong. The next major spike in October 2015 appears to be finale of the show’s fifth season, which was the second one aired on PBS in the US. The following spike in September 2016 appears to be the result of longtime host Mary Berry’s announcement that she was leaving the show. The last and most significant spike in March 2017 seems to be in response to the announcement of the new hosts and judge. Given that this spike was the highest, the show is clearly more popular now than ever before. While I can certainly attribute the increased complexity of my baking to GBBO, I can’t say that I can attribute the show’s rise to my early adopter status.