Starting a new job can be daunting at the best of times, but Matt Lucas had more reason than most to be nervous when he joined The Great British Bake Off last year.
Even though the series had proved it was bigger than any presenter or judge when Sue Perkins, Mel Giedroyc and Mary Berry decided not to follow it from the BBC to Channel 4, he still had to take over from the very popular Sandi Toksvig.
Then there was the little matter of the pandemic, which meant filming was delayed and the contestants and crew had to form a bubble.
Luckily, Matt hit the ground running – his first episode began with him impersonating Boris Johnson – and proved he was the perfect fit with the existing team of presenter Noel Fielding and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
Speaking on the morning TV show Lorraine, Matt said: “I love working with Noel.
“He’s so funny. And of course we’ve both been in double acts – we’re used to being in that dynamic.
“And Paul and Prue are so friendly and they were so welcoming.
“I was so nervous going into this hugely popular show and Sandi had left very big boots to fill. But it’s great, so much fun to be a part of.”
So, it’s no surprise that he’s back on board for the new run, which, like last year’s series, has involved forming a bubble so everyone can taste each other’s bakes.
And Paul can still dish out his coveted ‘Hollywood handshakes’ should anyone come up with a particularly impressive creation.
The contestants will certainly be hoping to wow him and Prue in this opening episode, which finds Noel and Matt introducing us to the new batch of 12 bakers.
In grand Bake Off tradition, they’ll start their stint in the tent with cake week.
Their first chance to impress comes when they are asked to make a dozen perfect mini-rolls.
Then it’s time for the dreaded technical, which involves a nostalgic teatime special.
If anyone messes up the first two challenges, there’s a chance to redeem themselves with the signature, and some Bake Off fans may be wondering how the class of 2021 can possibly compete with last year’s opening episode.
If you need your memory jogged, that edition saw the bakers attempting to make a bust of a famous person in cake form, and gave us some of the most memorable creations in Bake Off history, including a Freddie Mercury who had seemingly lost half his head, and David Bowie rendered as a not-so-Thin White Duke.
Luckily, the team has come up with a signature that seems to have to the potential for something truly astounding – or to go badly wrong.
The bakers will be showing off their creativity as they attempt to make a cake that defies the laws of physics.
But who will be crowned Star Baker, and who will be the first to leave the tent?
No one knows...we’ll have to watch and bake!
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