After big changes when it moved from the BBC last year, this year’s Bake Off will be reassuringly familiar with the line-up of judges and presenters fully intact. Original judge Paul Hollywood and chef and writer Prue Leith will again be joined by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, whose mischievous banter and crockery-smashing lightened the mix last year.
Spin-off show An Extra Slice will continue to cater for those still peckish, and the famous tent is still at stately home Welford Park in Berkshire. So happy is Channel 4 with the set-up that The Sun reports it is already in talks with Bake Off makers Love Productions to extend its three-year deal into the 2020s.
Bakers go ‘back to basics’ so viewers can join in
Entremets, elaborate Tudor marchpane and sfogliatelle biscuits involving a staggering 14 metres of pastry—recent years have tested contestants to the limit with ever tougher and more esoteric challenges. These can be fun to watch, but unless you’re already a star baker yourself they don’t exactly scream “try it yourself”.
This year could be different, Paul told the Guardian. “This year we have gone back to basics on a couple, because we were getting a bit over-complicated,” he said. “Sometimes it’s not just about the bakers in the tent, it’s about the people in the UK who watch the programme. We want to encourage the viewers to bake.”
Big things (or at least big cakes) await the winner
We won’t know the winner for a while yet—as long as Prue stays off Twitter. But their baking odyssey won’t end when they leave the tent. 2012’s winner John Waite is one of ITV’s go-to resident chefs and presenters.
After winning Bake Off 2015, Nadiya Hussein starred in Chronicles of Nadiya and now presents episodes of Loose Women. Candice Brown, 2016 winner, was back on the box for Dancing on Ice, as well as writing recipe books and a column in The Times. Last year’s champ Sophie Faldo recently created a nine-tiered “behemoth” of an 80th birthday cake for HMS Belfast.
The Great British Bake Off begins on Tuesday, August 28 at 8pm on Channel 4.