The Great British Bake Off is set to make the move to Channel 4 this year – and, as we are all too painfully aware, Mary Berry, Mel Giedroyc, and Sue Perkins will not be joining Paul Hollywood in the white tents ever again. Ever.
For many fans, the Queen of Cakes and co had set the bar incredibly high, making them an (almost) impossible act to follow.
But it seems as if GBBO bosses have done their best to replace the gang with a whole host of new faces – some expected (we already guessed that Prue Leith would be jumping into Bezza’s shoes), some completely, completely unexpected.
Like, for instance, Noel Fielding, As in, actual Noel Fielding.
While he’s not the first person that jumps to mind when you say ‘cake’, Fielding is very keen to be leaping into the big white tent – even going so far as to claim that Bake Off is “one of his favourite shows”.
“[This is] a dream come true,” he said.
Madness – or, quite possibly, a stroke of genius from show bosses.
Leith, meanwhile, has said she is “so thrilled to be joining... the biggest show on TV”.
“I cannot wait to see what the real stars of the show - the bakers - are going to create for us,” the restaurateur and food critic said.
The Bake Off production team are reportedly hoping that Leith – who, at 76, is the same age as Berry was when GBBO first launched – will prove to be a “like for like” replacement for our beloved Bezza.
“Both are from similar backgrounds, so hopefully viewers will be accepting and give Prue a chance to win them over,” a source told The Sun.
“Following in Mary’s footsteps is a big challenge. But the producers are confident that Prue has all the attributes.”
And they’re not the only ones in the (batter) mix: Sandi Toksvig will be joining Fielding as the show’s co-host – making for a very intriguing new sponsored_longform.
“It is an extraordinary honour to part of this national treasure of a show,” she said.
Extraordinary is definitely the word we’d use, too. Although there’s no denying that this new line-up will make for fascinating viewing when the series airs later this year.
Commenting on his new co-stars, Hollywood admitted that he “could not be more delighted by who will be joining me on the show.”
And it seems as if his opinion is shared by Channel 4 bosses, who have said that they hope the new stars will bring “plenty of fun and warmth” to the baking show.
“It's just the sort of innovative line-up audiences expect from Channel 4,” they added.
Earlier this year, Berry announced that she was quitting the Great British Bake Off when it moved to its new home on Channel 4 – and that her decision had been made out of loyalty to the BBC.
“My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one,” the 81-year-old said in a statement.
“What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent.
“I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision.”
Mel and Sue added that they would not “follow the dough” to a rival channel.
Hollywood, however, signed a three-year contract with Channel 4, rumoured to be worth £1 million.
Insisting his decision had nothing to do with the money involved, he later said that the show “been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn’t turn my back on all that – the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget… the squirrels”.
The show is confirmed to return to our screens this year – and applications are now being accepted online.
Images: Rex Pictures, Love Productions
Words: Kayleigh Dray