You’ve got seven days to bake a perfectly moist lemon drizzle cake, or Mary Berry will crawl out of your television and get you, you are warned.
Viewers have been told that if they watch tonight’s episode of Bake Off, their phone will ring, and Mary Berry will growl “Seven Days. And don’t put too much egg in the base”, before the line goes dead.
Anyone watching will then have until next week’s episode to produce a moist but firm piece of baking which Paul Hollywood praises, or Berry will pursue you with the horrid and implacable determination of the ever-living.
Scenes in which her head twists around with an awful grating noise before she stumbles towards your screen have already been filmed, and BBC producers are expecting ‘record audiences’ for next week’s show largely because they will be unable to turn their televisions off even if they’re unplugged from the wall.
“A time limit is an essential part of the drama of Bake Off, and we’ve just upped the ante a bit,” said producer Simon Williams.
“You see how people crumble – if you’ll pardon the pun – under pressure just from the thought of failure, and we felt that the terrifying threat of inexorably pursuing supernatural doom would really separate the men from the boys.
“And the living from the dead, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles – geddit!?”
Campaigning groups did protest that inflicting a psychic cataclysm under the guise of a baking show was an inappropriate way of the BBC spending the license fee, but they fell silent after failing to produce a sufficiently crunchy chocolate chip cookie.
The BBC has confirmed that Sue Perkins will miss tonight’s episode after she was pushed down a well.