The Great British Bake Off

“New recipe, same great taste”

Channel 4
Release Date
29 August 2017
S08E01 ”Cake”

Because this season the show has moved from BBC to Channel 4, I was so concerned for big changes to perhaps the style or the tone, but thankfully theses remained completely intact and The Great British Bake Off is just as tranquil and genuine as it always has been.

The hugely popular programme in which a group of amateur, “at home” bakers compete to win not money, but a bouquet of flowers, and this years winning title, has produced seven series since 2010. Since then GBBO has had the same format and presenters: hosted by the animated and quirky Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, and judged by bread master Paul Hollywood and infamous baker Mary Berry.

The eighth season, which began last week, is the first to change this lineup, due to the shift to a new network. Replacing Mel and Sue are familiar comedy faces Sandi Toksvig (QI) and, to my utter delight, Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh, Never Mind the Buzzcocks). Paul Hollywood is the only original presenter to stick around, and Mary Berry has been replaced by Prue Leith, a warm but straight talking foodie and television presenter.

Paul Hollywood eyes up a cake in The Great British Bake Off Series 8

The format of The Great British Bake Off, for those who don’t know, is simple: bakers take on three timed baking challenges to a theme each week in a big white tent in the British countryside. The first challenge is the “Signature Bake”, where the contestants bring a recipe from home to recreate for the judges. The second challenge is the “Technical”, where a notoriously tricky or demanding recipe is given to the bakers on the spot, often with minimal instructions, and the third challenge is the “Showstopper”, in which the bakers must wow their judges with something incredible.

The show is notoriously good-spirited and light, and just lovely in every way. If you’re ever looking for something relaxing and inspiring all at once, give The Great British Bake Off a go—even if you’re not a keen baker, you’ll want to be by the time you’ve finished.

The Great British Bake Off Series 8 contestants in the famous white tent

My assessment of the new Bake Off is that so far, everything looks good. They’ve slotted in the new hosts nicely, and though some of Noel and Sandi’s jokes felt a little stiff, I get the feeling it’s just everybody getting warmed up into their new roles, and I am totally confident they’ll all ease into it quickly.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series, and not only because Noel Fielding surrounded by cakes is my idea of television heaven.