The Great British Bake Off is set to begin soon. It’s an all new show…well sort of…with all new bakers and new cast members. The show was taken over by Channel 4. The show was purchased for about £75 million. Some unrevealed contractual details threatened to keep the show off the BBC in 2017, and due to its popularity Channel 4 took it on. Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer for Channel 4 did confirm that the show will premiere on August 29, and fans of the original show are hoping that this next version will live up to the previous version’s high standards.
As if to salve the ruffled feathers of the public, which has come to love the show as it is, there will be two Christmas specials presented this year, rather than the single one of the past. What will not be wonderful, is that each episode will last about 75 minutes so that advertisers can have their moments during the show. Speculation is that this changeover will cause the show to not remain the most popular show in Britain any longer. Almost 15 million viewers have watched each episode of the series this past season. In fact, Brits have considered it a national treasure. They are taking all of it quite hard.
Judge Paul Hollywood will be the only star remaining. He said he’s loved the job so much that he wasn’t willing to leave the show. When interviewed, he said that he is in his 50s, and it was important for him to keep this job at this point in his life. He loves the baking, the bakers, the food and everything about the show. Hollywood was apparently the first of the cast to be told about the new show and invited to stay. But, all the cast members had conversations about what would happen and how they would proceed with their new paths in life.
Unfortunately, Mary Berry is not in the judging line up, and we will miss her. Berry decided to remain with the BBC and wishes Paul well, as they are good friends. Mary has written more than 7 books and 5 million have been sold around the world. Stepping into her role will be The Great British Menu star chef Prue Leith. Leith has some work to do, because Berry has been considered by the bakers as “the sweetheart” of the show. But Leith, a South African-born restaurateur, is a highly respected chef, caterer and writer having strength to judge with equity and expertise.
The roles of presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins will be taken over by QI host Sandi Toksvig and comedian Noel Fielding. Mel and Sue have been friends for a long time, too. Sue quipped on a British show that the two of them have the age of about a ten-year-old. Sue has a benign brain tumor, which has kept her from having children. She also made the decision to avoid having serious medication and treatments for the tumor. She and Mel were taking home more than £100,00 each per episode, and everyone expected that they would wish to continue with the series. But, it has been reported that they were not part of the 3-year renewal package, and worse, they were not informed about the changes early on.
Will the show be the same? Yes and no. The preview shows the new cast in front of the now famous tent. Previews shown to industry critics have been well received. The show is much loved, and changes will be emotional. Baker Andrew Smyth, 2016 series runner-up, has said that all the 12 bakers from the last season on the BBC are planning to watch the new series in 2017. They have all remained close and are looking forward to what they will see in the new format. Perhaps that’s the best advice for everyone else, too.
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