Here is everything you need to know about Bake Off’s new series, from its judges to its presenters, contestants, and more.
When to watch
The first episode of Bake Off series eight will be broadcast at 8pm, Tuesday 29 August, on Channel 4.
Same old, same old?
The series began filming in April, in the same trusty Bake Off tent in Berkshire. The theme tune will also be the same as ever, as will the format and the number of contestants. Jo Brand will also be returning with her spin-off show, An Extra Slice. A “fruity” first challenge It has been revealed that the first signature challenge will have a “fruity” theme, while the tricky technical challenge will be a “children’s tea party favourite”. Meanwhile, we can apparently look forward to “the trickiest showstopper ever set in the first week of Bake Off: an illusion cake.”
No more soggy bottoms
On Desert Island Discs, former Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins said: “I think we were running out of puns – there’s only so many in the tank.” Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc refused to move with the Great British Bake Off to Channel 4. Channel 4 boss Jay Hunt has hinted at a change in direction for the show, saying: “The show is modern in terms of its comic take and a lot of the humour will come from Noel’s surreal twists. There are no soggy bottom jokes.”
Clash of the titans
At the BBC, Bake Off was broadcast on Wednesday nights, but Channel 4 has moved the show to Tuesday. The BBC’s replacement show The Big Family Cooking Showdown was also scheduled for Tuesday, but has now been moved to Thursday to avoid a clash.
Hollywood is back
The only one of the original team to return, judge Paul Hollywood has made the move to Channel 4. He told The Star: “I can’t wait for the new show to start. The characters this year are the strongest we have had. And the standard is 10 times higher.”
Hollywood also downplayed the role of the presenters when he spoke to The Sun. “The presenters are on for about five minutes,” he said, “and the bakers are on there for 50 minutes, so they are the stars of the show.”
New judge on the menu
Prue Leith, the replacement for ex-judge Mary Berry, will be joining Hollywood in the Bake Off tent. Leith is a veteran restauranteur, cookery writer and broadcaster who is best known for judging the Great British Menu.
Press record, says Prue
The Daily Telegraph reported that Leith encouraged Bake Off fans to record the show and skip the adverts. Bake Off, which originally lasted 60 ad-free minutes on the BBC, will now be interspersed with nearly 17 minutes of commercials when broadcast on Channel 4.
Mary Berry was given the title of Best Judge at the National Television Awards this year for her work on Bake Off. She is also a good friend of Leith, who told The Sun: “We started together and we’ve been friends for a hundred years.”
And now a word from our sponsors
Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Dr Oetker the baking giant have been revealed as Bake Off’s new sponsors, having signed multi-million pound deals with Channel 4.
How do you solve a problem like Paul?
At the show’s press launch in London, Leith revealed that Berry had warned her to “watch out” for Paul Hollywood. “She told me, ‘Don’t just follow Paul, don’t stand behind Paul and agree with him, just be yourself and go for it.’ “And Paul said the same thing. So there must be a danger there, but I think I’ve overcome it.”
Chemistry or catastrophe?
A Bake Off insider reportedly told The Sun that things weren’t entirely rosy on set, suggesting some tension between Leith and Hollywood. It will be interesting to see if there’s any truth to such rumours.
The new Mel and Sue
Replacing Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc as presenters are the comedians Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding. Sandi Toksvig said of her new colleague: “The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh.”
Fielding’s fiendish fashion
There are rumours that Fielding has been banned from wearing too much black or anything too outlandish by Channel 4.
The cake chorus
A trailer for the new series of Bake Off was released on August 3.
This December, there will be two Bake Off Christmas specials, each 75 minutes long.
According to The Daily Star, presenter Sandi Toksvig is on ‘a no cake or bread diet’, which may mean she won’t get to taste the contestants’ delicious creations. The Sunday Times reported that Fielding would also refrain from tasting the contestants’ cakes. However, Fielding insists that he was joking when he said: “Nobody likes a tubby goth.”
The odd couple
Reportedly, several stars turned down the job as new presenters for Bake Off, viewing the role as “toxic”. Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Jamie Oliver are among the stars who reportedly rejected the presenting job. Fielding and Toksvig do seem an unusual combo. But both have appeared on QI together previously.
Great British Bake Off is on tomorrow, Tuesday 29 August, at 8pm on Channel 4.