The Great British Bake Off final but who will be crowned 'star baker'?

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

Whisper it, but after the 2022 series of The Great British Bake Off, some viewers started to wonder if the format was finally going a little stale.

Fortunately, this series has seen the show back to its best – and judge Prue Leith thinks a lot of the credit should go to new co-presenter Alison Hammond.

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She said: “[Alison has] energised the show… it’s amazing. I mean, she’s such a life-enhancing ball of fire, she’s fantastic.

Paul, Prue, Alison and Noel with finalists, Matty, Josh and DanPaul, Prue, Alison and Noel with finalists, Matty, Josh and Dan
Paul, Prue, Alison and Noel with finalists, Matty, Josh and Dan

“She says anything – she has almost no filter – she hugs all the bakers. And she is always the same on set, off set, when she’s in the make-up chair… she’s just herself. She can’t be anything else, but the loud happy Brummie who loves people.”

Prue added: “She’s just hilarious, but also so sympathetic and sweet. The bakers all adore her and, I must say, so do we.”

Her fellow judge Paul Hollywood agrees that the atmosphere in the tent has been particularly warm this year, saying: “The bakers are really nice people. And they bonded so quickly as a group as well. And obviously with Alison being there… and of course Noel [Fielding], between the whole gang with Prue and myself, everyone got on really well this year, it was such a nice experience in the tent. It was lovely to see.”

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Some viewers may wonder if going back to basics with the challenges has also been a contributory factor. Although it must be difficult to keep coming up with new showstopper ideas year after year, some of the bakes in the previous series seemed like they had been designed to catch the bakers out rather than challenge them to reach new heights.

With a few exceptions (like the a steamed pudding technical that caught pretty much everyone out in desert week), this time around the challenges have seemed more achievable.

If anything, it seems it was the bakers who were making life hard for themselves. Prue says: “They’re really good bakers and if you ask them to do something really simple, you’d think they’d all turn out perfectly.

“Sometimes, though, that’s the one they slip up on, and it’s because they overcomplicate it.”

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Let’s hope nobody makes the mistake this week, as we reach the final.

Just three bakers are left in the tent, and to be in with a chance of winning the coveted cake stand, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith want them to tackle a choux pastry Signature, a sticky Technical and a celebration cake Showstopper. But who will do enough to be crowned the winner?

Luckily, Alison and Noel will be there to ensure it doesn’t get too tense.

The presenters will then be reunited for The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice on Thursday, when they join Jo Brand and fellow guest Jonathan Ross to look back over this episode. The three finalists will all be dropping by too, and Tom Allen get a chance to catch up with the rest of the class of 2023.