Speaking from north of your border in a country steeped in British heritage, I believe there may be one other factor you’ve neglected to note. In the UK — and in Canada as well — we are taught from an early age to consider our actions and responsibilities for their impact on not just the individual but on the country as a whole. It’s a curious (to you, I’m sure) sort of national socialism (please note: not nationalist) in which we look at our place in the community, the province, and the country overall. It’s one reason why we have national healthcare and you Americans probably never will. It’s one reason why we had marriage equality a full decade before you, and why for us it’s now a given while in your country it’s still argued over. When national health was introduced, the bill was eight pages long. Your ACA was over 2,000. Marriage equality was tabled by a prime minister who simply said, it’s the right thing to do — and even conservative provinces like Alberta, ones that might have considered opting out by using our constitution’s notwithstanding clause, had to face the fact that, yes, it was indeed the right thing to do.
But you Americans believe, rightly or wrongly, in the irresistible power of the individual. It’s part of your bootstrap “exceptionalist” identity, one where every boy — and perhaps a few girls — can grow up to be president, whether they should or not. More often than not, you dont think of your neighbours when making a decision that could impact them, and as a result, you have a country of some 350 million micro-aggressive egos while ours is one of 34 million folks who understand we need each other to simply get along if we are to continue on.
The Bake Off is, in many respects, about just getting along. No big prizes at the end, save for modest bragging rights. No carefully planned, tension-filled pauses for a commercial break to announce a winner. The emphasis is not on the judges but the participants, and that alone would kill any American version that could not be turned into yet another platform for the antics of the ones deciding someone’s fate. No opportunities for back-stabbing and behind-the-scenes skullduggery, because on the Bake Off, contestants sometimes help each other past a particular challenge… something that, increasingly in America, is almost unfathomable.