The Great British Bake Off team get cooking!

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

Sometimes dreams do come true, it seems.

When Sandi Toksvig announced she was quitting as co-host of The Great British Bake Off, fans were aghast.

After all, she and Noel Fielding, despite being an odd couple on paper, worked so incredibly well together. They had become, in a relatively short space of time, one of TV’s most beloved double acts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The question was, who could possibly step into her shoes? Fielding had the answer all the time, he just didn’t realise it until having a dream that Matt Lucas was standing beside him in the famous tent. On waking, he rang the show’s producers, made the suggestion and here we are, a few months later with Lucas installed as his new co-host.

The pair hardly knew each other before filming began, but it seems they get on like a house on fire.

“I love Matt,” says Fielding. “I love his warmth and his comedy and his big joyful smile. I think if we play our cards right we could become the next Chas and Morph.”

“I’m chuffed to bits to be joining the most delicious show on television,” said Lucas at his unveiling. “I can’t wait to break bread with Noel, Prue and Paul and meet the brilliant bakers. And bearing in mind my love of cake, I’ve already ordered some much larger trousers in anticipation.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Prue and Paul he mentions are, of course, Leith and Hollywood, the programme’s judges, who are also returning for the competition’s 11th series, which almost didn’t happen.

When coronavirus hit and the lockdown was announced, many thought that Bake Off would be one of several TV casualties. Other competitions, such as The Voice UK and Britain’s Got Talent, were put on hold, but it was difficult to see how a show that involved tasting bakes made by other people could go ahead.

But, as they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way…

Love Productions, which makes the show, came up with a plan which saw the production team and competitors (around 120 people in total) going into quarantine for 14 days in the lead-up to filming starting at the end of July, so that social distancing rules did not apply.

The group then lived in a self-contained biosphere for six weeks – whether any Hollywood handshakes were awarded during that time remains to be seen; perhaps he substituted them for elbow rubs, just to avoid any possible controversy.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The format itself remains the same, so the opening episode kicks off with the signature challenge, in which the baker’s dozen of competitors will be tasked with putting a personal twist on a classic Battenberg. Next, in the technical, a fruit sponge is the order of the day. Finally, in the showstopper, the gang get a chance to demonstrate their creativity while making a tasty tribute to their personal heroes. One of them will then be crowned Star Baker, while another gets the big heave-ho, their dreams of following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, health advisor David Atherton, in tatters – unlike Fielding’s.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you

Related topics: