Alison Hammond joins The Great British Bake Off team

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Tuesday: The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4, 8pm)

When Alison Hammond took part in The Great Stand Up to Cancer Bake Off back in 2020, she admitted her skills were a little rudimental.

She said: “I’m not gonna lie, I’m not really a baker. I just can’t be bothered to measure. I do know that 4oz of sugar, butter and flour, and two eggs, makes a really good sponge. I know that off by heart, from home economics at school.”

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Alison ultimately lost the star baker apron to Joe Sugg, but it seems the show’s bosses decided she did belong in the tent, even if at one point she got confused by the oven doors.

Alison Hammond joins Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood and Prue LeithAlison Hammond joins Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith
Alison Hammond joins Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith

So, when Matt Lucas announced he was standing down as the co-host of The Great British Bake Off, the producers knew who they wanted to step in.

Her co-presenter Noel Fielding agreed that Alison, whose role on This Morning has made her one of the UK’s best-loved presenters, would be the perfect choice.

When the announcement was made he said: “I’m absolutely pumped we are working together. We are gonna spend the whole time giggling like naughty school kids. The bakers are gonna love you to bits.”

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She’s introduced to the class of 2023 tonight, and Noel is probably right that if anyone can settle their nerves, it’s her.

However, the new bakers may have another reason not to feel quite as daunted as some contestants in previous years. Although they will still have to impress judges Paul Hollywood, with his famed steely gaze, and the straight-talking Prue Leith, we have been promised that this time around, the bakes should be a little more familiar.

The producers have picked up on the feedback from viewers that some of the challenges were getting a little too complicated – and that a few even committed the cardinal sin of being more about cooking than baking.

Paul Hollywood told The Guardian: “We chose this year’s challenges very carefully to be approachable. In a way, we’ve returned to the philosophy of the first three series. There are some beautiful classic ones and they’ve been a big success.”

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Executive producer Kieran Smith also confirmed that nationality themed weeks have been ditched after some raised eyebrows at last year’s Mexican Week, and he believes that Alison’s presence has also helped restore Bake Off’s general sense of infectious joie de vivre.

He told The Guardian: “Alison gives it a real lift. It’s warmer, kinder, sillier. It’s one of the best series we’ve ever done.”

So, hopefully the bakers won’t be too on edge as they get stuck into the traditional opener that is cake week.

They’ll make a vertical layer cake in the signature challenge, whip up an iconic chocolate cake for their technical and then produce a sponge showstopper featuring a menagerie of animals. That will test their architectural skills as well as their baking, but on this show, the creations don’t just have to look good – they have to taste amazing too.