Can you bake? Rate yourself out of 10.
Out of ten? Can I go minus? I suppose, to be fair, can I bake is still up for debate. It’s uncharted territory. I had a little practice over the weekend, and that is the first time I ever baked. It wasn’t that good, but you can only get better.
Who taught you how to bake, if anyone?
My wife’s a really keen baker, and her mother is also a really keen baker, so they were giving me a little hand over the weekend, and giving me tips, things like that. I think they expect me to do quite well. I think they’ve got quite a competitive streak in them, and they maybe see me as an extension of themselves.
That puts an awful lot of pressure on you to succeed!
Yeah! But my wife is married to me! She knows to keep her expectations low!
Are you a Bake Off fan?
Yeah, and in some ways, I wish I hadn’t ever seen it. Because now I know what’s coming up. I know about the technical, and it’s sprung on you. You don’t know what it’s going to be, and then they leave a crucial part of the recipe out. If you’ve got any baking experience, I’m sure you go “Right, I know how long that goes in, I know what temperature that needs to be at”. But because I’ve got nothing, it could be “Grate a pine cone into this” or something. I’ve got nowhere to start. So, it’s the technical I’m really worried about.
Is the show something you’ve been nervous about doing in general?
Yeah, really nervous. For the last few days I’ve had butterflies. I feel like I’m doing my driving test again, I don’t know why. Especially with Paul and Prue knocking about – experts in their field. It’s nerve-wracking.
Do you think they cut you guys a bit of slack because you’re not proper bakers?
They must do, surely? If you watch the proper show, and see what they turn out, I would look really odd in that company.
Who do you want to impress the most? Paul or Prue?
Either. Both, if possible. I’d take one. I’m not really in a position to be picky. If I can get either of them on my wide. If I can make either of them feel sorry enough for me, I might get through this.
Who do you see as your biggest competition?
All of them. I’m nobody’s competition. Scarlett’s really imaginative, and Richard’s American. They do food, so that’s going to be a problem. They know food in America. And Patsy, whatever she says, I know she’s got some baking experience. She fobs you off, but I know she knows what she’s doing. It’s me that’s not really bringing much to the table.
Have you had any baking disasters (bearing in mind you only started your baking career at the weekend)?
Yeah, I’d say it’s been a 100 per cent failure record.
What’s your strength in your baking?
Hmm. I was going to say I can tell the time, but I struggle with that sometimes. I was struggling to turn the hob on. I don’t know how to answer this question!
Why are you supporting Stand Up to Cancer?
You’ve got to stand up to cancer. It’s one of the big ones. If you’re going to get involved with a charity, that’s a good one to choose. It’s a real thrill being here, and having your cakes judged by Paul and Prue is really great fun. And ultimately, what we’re trying to do is talk about this cause, so I get to feel a little bit smug about that as well. I feel like I’m doing the tiniest, tiniest bit, but it’s still a bit. What better cause than something that affects so, so many people? It’s something I should be doing. I’ve not contributed to the world so far!! So, it’s nice to feel like I’m trying to promote a good cause and get involved.
Did you get any advice when you were preparing for this show?
My wife’s advice to me was “Don’t get angry if it all goes wrong!” I assured her I knew how to behave in public, but I think she could see me breaking down. That was her only bit of advice, “If it goes completely wrong, please don’t make a fool of yourself.”
Are you competitive? Do you want to be star baker?
I’m not competitive at all, I just don’t care. I have my own standards I want to meet, but it’s a very, very low bar. Even then I struggle to meet those standards. The standard I’ve set myself is that I have something to present at the end of each challenge.
What would be the worst possible thing you could be asked to make in the technical?
I’ve got no idea. I’ve got no frame of reference. Anything! Whatever you want me to bake, I’ll do it badly.
If you were a baked good, what would you be?
An iced finger. Quite simple, sort of forgotten about. People don’t talk about them that much these days. Do they? But always there.
You’ve got your own gaming Channel on YouTube – what are the chances of a James Buckley Baking Channel?
Low! But never say never. I recently did a video of me barbecuing, but it went wrong, so I didn’t use it in the end. But I might do a little baking video, I wouldn’t be against it. I think that’d be fun.