2016 has, without a doubt, been one of the roughest in a long old while. We winced as Brits voted to Brexit, shook our heads as Boris Johnson was named Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and sobbed over the rise of President-elect Donald Trump.
Throw in the fact that The Great British Bake Off is moving to Channel 4 – without our beloved Merry Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins – and you have a recipe for a very soggy bottom of a year indeed.
Thank goodness, then, for The Great Christmas Bake Off.
Set to reunite the classic GBBO foursome on BBC One for the very last time, the festive version of the show will be a beautifully bittersweet experience for devoted fans. Because, as it was filmed before the big #Breadxit was announced, no one knew that it would be Paul Hollywood’s last Christmas with Mary, Mel, and Sue.
And, judging by the new trailer, it seems like it might just be his grumpiest one yet.
Sitting all by himself, the curmudgeonly old miser doesn’t look as if he’s quite got into the festive spirit as he barks out Ebenezer Scrooge’s catchphrase.
Thank goodness he’s got Mel, Sue, and his beloved Bezza to cheer him up for one last time, eh?
Read more: The greatest quotes from Mel and Sue
The Great Christmas Bake Off won’t just reunite the iconic Bake Off quartet, however; it’s now been confirmed that eight past contestants will be dusting off their rolling pins and entering the fray, each determined to have another go at being named the Star Baker.
As you’ll see in the picture below, we can expect to see Howard MIddleton, who was at the heart of the #custardgate scandal back in 2013 – just one week after Sue crushed one of his muffins with her elbow. Fingers crossed he’s a little luckier this time around, eh?
He will be joined by Chetna Makan, who made it to the finals of the fifth series thanks to her extraordinary flavour combos, and series three’s James Morton (complete with a very jazzy jumper indeed.
Janet Basu, meanwhile, is surely set to be a fierce contender, as she almost made it to the final herself back in 2011.
Mary-Anne Boermans is also returning to the tent, and we imagine she’s going to have an advantage over the others, as she impressed Paul so much last time that he said her cakes were fit to be sold at a high-end hotel.
She’ll be joined by Ali Imdad (hopefully with his ridiculously good white chocolate crème brulee tart in tow), as well as series three's Cathryn Dresser, who became famed for her messy haphazard approach to baking.
Most exciting of all, however, is the fact that our beloved Norman Calder is making a comeback. As in, the very same Norman who described pesto as ‘very exotic’, spelled the word ‘bake’ by semaphore, and was, generally, a very good egg.
Speaking about the show, the BBC said: “As ever, the Christmas elves, Mel and Sue, will be spreading Christmas cheer throughout the tent, until, of course, the judging, where it’s business as usual for Paul ‘Scrooge’ Hollywood and ‘Merry’ Mary Berry as they decide which of the four will be winner of The Great Christmas Bake Off.”
However, while there’s no denying that we’re tremendously excited for The Great Christmas Bake Off, we’re very aware that it is the last hurrah – and, come 2017, we will be forced to face up to the fact that, yes, things are changing.
It’s not all bad news though, as the BBC’s director of content, Charlotte Moore, has hinted that there’s a very special cooking project in the works – and it looks set to reunite Mary, Mel, Sue, and Nadiya Hussain.
She told The Sun: “There will be more news on what Mary Berry, Mel and Sue and Nadiya are doing next. Watch this space – some exciting news to come.”
BBC representatives refused to give any further details about the project, or even to confirm that it would be a baking show… but we’re very hopeful indeed.
For now, though, let’s all have ourselves a Mary Berry Christmas, and make the yuletide gay. It’s the only way to ensure that our troubles will be far away…
The Great Christmas Bake Off starts on Christmas Day at 4.45pm on BBC1. The second part will air on Boxing Day at 7pm.