Food mixers at the ready, the Great British Bake Off returns to our screens at 8pm on Tuesday 29 August 2017. So, what can we expect from the new series?
Apart from moving from the BBC to Channel 4, the main change is in the presenting line-up. Paul Hollywood is the only one remaining from the original series. He’s joined by Prue Leith as fellow judge, and Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding take on Mel and Sue’s roles of comforting the contestants.
The format stays the same
Thankfully for fans, Channel 4's chief creative officer Jay Hunt has said that the format will continue to be fundamentally the same.
That means 12 contestants and three challenges. The signature bake still tests the bakers’ skills, creative flair and general baking ability. The technical bake takes one chosen recipe with the same ingredients and instructions, which the bakers are told to get set and bake. This challenge can become pressured, especially if the bakers are unfamiliar with the cake or patisserie in question.
By the time we get to the showstopper challenge, the rolling pins are out, and the bakers can really display their individual talents. In recent years, the design skills shown have been exceptional, but as well as looking for impressive and elaborate cakes, the judges will demand that they taste good too.
One significant difference
Of course, there will be one big difference: adverts. This is Channel 4 after all. There will be four ad breaks during the show, which has been extended to 75-minutes to enable the format to remain the same while at the same time accommodating the commercial breaks.
Apparently, the ad breaks are well placed with one between the first challenge and the judging of it; one after the judging of the technical and another between the showstopper and the judging.
Jay Hunt commented, "We've been careful about thinking where the ad breaks sit and how the format works with it, so it's quite seamless."
Well positioned breaks could add tension to the show. Or they could just be annoying. That remains to be seen.
The baking standard is even higher
It’s spatulas at twenty paces, as some serious bakers battle it out in the new series.
According to reports, Channel 4 have scoured the country for the best amateur bakers, and Paul Hollywood has said that the new series displays the highest standard of baking so far.
Those who have seen advance showings of the first episode say to look out for the watermelon cake, plus a Russian doll cake and a mini greenhouse in the showstopper challenge.
Let’s hope there are some culinary catastrophes
Those little mishaps (and major disasters) are what viewers love, so we hope the new contestants are not too perfect.
We’ve heard that the first episode includes one baker who bins all the sponge she's baked so far and starts over, someone else forgets to turn the oven on, and another produces a very soggy bottomed bake.