After an unprecedented production and an uncharacteristic (if justified) delay, The Great British Bake Off is bake – ahem, sorry – is back!
By Virgin TV Edit
Death… Taxes… Opening crisp packets upside down, prompting people to point and go, “You’ve opened that upside down…” The Great British Bake Off arriving on telly screens in August … Some things in life are certain.
Until 2020 that is, with the baking contest’s eleventh series finally arriving this week after a lengthy delay due to COVID-19. Bubbles, biospheres, and more tests than exam week have all ensured Bake Off fans across the land weren’t left until 2021 craving another series.
But how did the big brains at Channel 4 and Love Productions do it? Will there be any Hollywood handshakes this year? Have they done an I’m A Celeb and inexplicably replaced the trademark tent with a plush Welsh castle…?
In the words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, “Don’t panic.” Brew yourself some Assam tea and read on below to find out everything you need to know about the upcoming series…
Expect some new (and familiar) faces
Shocking as Lionel Messi’s recent transfer request was, Sandi Toksvig’s announcement she was stepping down from Bake Off presenting duties back in January was huge. So, for the first time since 2017, there’ll be a new face on the Bake Off presenting team in the form of former Little Britain star Matt Lucas!
We feel sorry for the contestants who will inevitably have to put up with a fair bit of highly distracting, no doubt quite surreal Fielding and Lucas-induced weirdness taking place around them while they try to bake. Thankfully, judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood will return to provide some semblance of seriousness to it all.
Bake Off took a turn for the sci-fi during filming
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, plenty of mind-boggling (but entirely necessary) precautions had to be put in place to ensure the crew and contestants were safe during filming.
Quarantining for 14 days prior to arriving at the tent was mandatory, with the 120-strong crew required to keep the show going throughout the six-week shoot living in their own self-contained biosphere. Regular testing also ensured no-one in or around the tent ever tested positive.
But, fool-proof as the plans proved to be, they did come at a cost…
No Hollywood handshake!
Rumours abound across social media that, due to new social distancing rules, Paul Hollywood’s now-legendary handshake will become more of an awkward “Hollywood Wrist Bump”.
To be honest, we think a handshake-less series is a good thing. Economists have long warned the handshake has inflated in value since its debut in series 3, rendering it almost meaningless. Plus, nothing can beat Keith from Pottery Throwdown literally crying when someone does a good job.
What’s better than Bake Off? Even more Bake Off, obviously. Fans will be pumped to hear that, for the first three episodes of this series, the usual 75-minute runtime will be beefed up to 90. Why? Who cares IF IT MEANS MORE BAKE OFF!
Though we’ve no idea (yet) as to this year’s contestants’ baking ability, we can tell you their names, ages, and what they get up to when they’re not baking. So, without further ado, here’s this year’s batch of contestants to get pinning your sweepstake hopes on…
Dave (a 30-year old security guard from Hampshire), Sura (a 31-year old pharmacy dispenser), Rowan (a 55-year old music teacher), “Young” Peter (a 20-year old badminton player), Mark (aka, “Mark with a K”, a 32-year old public health project worker), and Marc (aka, “Marc with a C”, a 51-year old sculptor).
Joining them will be Makbul (a 51-year old accountant), Lottie (a 31-year old pantomime producer), Loriea (a 27-year old radiographer), Laura (a 31-year old digital manager… whatever that is), Linda (a 61-year old retiree), and Hermine (a 39-year old accountant who has never been to Hogwarts or befriended Harry Potter).
Oh, is the tent back?!
Yes, it is indeed... only it's now in Essex.
When can I watch it on TV?
The Great British Bake Off will air on Tuesday 22 September on Channel 4 HD (CH 104). It is also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > All4.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.