The Great British Bake Off is one of the most popular shows on British television, which is quite a feat considering that Bake Off is famously twee and prefers technical bakes and soggy bottoms to wine tosses and screams of “Rickayyyyy” (yes Eastenders, we’re looking at you).
The Great British Bake Off debuted on the BBC in the summer of 2010 and went on to achieve huge success, as well as resulting in renewed fame for the original line-up of judges and presenters, namely Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. At one point during the 2014 series, contestant Diana made the decision to remove her fellow baker Iain’s Baked Alaska from a freezer prematurely, causing it to melt and resulting in Iain throwing his creation in the bin. The moment secured GBBO’s place in British television history, sparking a huge national debate which saw the scandal grace the front page of several national newspapers and someone change Diana’s Wikipedia page to label her an ‘ice cream melting supervillain’ (bit harsh).
In 2017, the BBC made the shocking announcement that Great British Bake Off would be leaving the channel and finding a new home on Channel 4. The move also saw judge Mary Berry, plus hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc quit the show, although judge Paul Hollywood stayed. The revamped series now airs on Channel 4 towards the end of each year and has since been warmly received by most critics and viewers, proving that Bake Off hadn’t lost its magic.
Now, The Great British Bake Off is back for another year, bringing some much needed light relief to what has been a challenging 2021 for most. To give you the full lowdown on everything you need to know about this year’s series, we’ve rounded up details on everything from the contestants and judges all the way through to how the Coronavirus pandemic affected filming. Read below to get all the answers you’ve been looking for - happy baking!
When is Great British Bake off 2021 on?
GBBO usually airs towards the end of the summer season, but this year filming was delayed slightly due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The latest series kicks off on 21 September 2021 at 8pm on Channel 4.
Meet the Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants
This year’s batch of bakers will see 12 contestants taking part, which is one less than a 'baker's dozen' of 13. The show is typically filmed on weekends across three months, but the Coronavirus pandemic meant contestants were instead asked to take six weeks off work and all live together in a secure filming location.
Find out more about this year's line-up of GBBO contestants below.
Profession: Shared lives co-ordinator
George's baking obsession is rooted in his Greek-Cypriot’s family's love of all-things food. He now bakes regularly at the home he shares with his wife, three kids and a whole load of pets (we assume they're not given many tasting rights). Dave's baking strengths include adding a classy touch to puds and bringing a bit of vintage flair to his creations, he says.
Profession: Car production operative
Raised in Liverpool, Lizzie is a keen dancer who also loves a bit of grit delivered by way of true crime dramas. Lizzie enjoys a good old-fashioned cake bake and says she prefers distinctive, delicious flavours and simple presentation over fancy presentation. Quite controversially, she doesn't like cheese in bread. TBC how that attitude is received by the Great British public.
As a father of three young sons, Giuseppe loves to make treats for his family in his spare time - saying he'd rather feed them homemade goods than buy sweets from the shops. A dreamy dad, we're sure you'll agree. Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives and works in Bristol and loves to use traditional Italian flavours in his bakes. We're expecting precision engineering from him.
Profession: Psychology student
This year's youngest baker, Freya lives at home with her parents and is currently studying for a degree in psychology. Plant-based goodies are her niche, which she originally got interested in as a way to treat her dad. She says she can create vegan bakes that taste just as good as the originals, and enjoys intricate presentation styles.
Profession: Software developer
With many facets, Tom enjoys running, singing and acting as well as the required baking. His passion for baking was only ignited four years back after his dad made a stand-out sticky pud that piqued his interest, and the Kent-dweller now loves nothing more than rustling up sweet treats, as well as pies, quiches and breads. He loves a theme apparently which can only be a good thing for a GBBO contestant.
Profession: Junior HR business partner
A keen dancer since the age of two, Rochica was left unable perform and while injured took up baking. She now loves to whip up delicious things for her niece and nephew (biscuits are a favourite of theirs apparently), and takes inspiration from her Jamaican family for her creations. She feels particularly proud when her nan or aunty says her bakes taste like something they would have had as children.
Having moved to the UK in 2003, Jürgen is originally from the Black Forrest in Germany. He now lives with his wife and sons in Sussex and specialises in breads. His interest in baking began back in 2003 when he couldn't find his favourite German bread anywhere here, so decided to recreate his own. He's now also apparently famed for his Jewish challah bread and his over-the-top celebration cakes he lavishes on friends and family.
Profession: Client relationship manager
Speaking four languages, quadrilingual Crystelle loves to celebrate her diverse heritage in her baking (born in London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents, no less). A keen singer in her spare time, Crystelle loves to add unexpected spices to her bakes and takes inspiration from the places around the world she has visited.
Profession: Sales manager
Having only begun baking in lockdown, Chigs is fairly new to the world of flour, butter and eggs. Working through online videos he taught himself the basics and can now master complex bakes and intricate chocolate design work. Bravo, Chigs. With a love of the great outdoors, in his spare time Chigs also loves walking, skydiving and bouldering.
Profession: Met Police detective
Bake Off's second Greek-Cypriot contestant for 2021 is Amanda, a Met police detective who learned the art of baking from her aunt. With a background in design before she moved to the police, Amanda loves to create visually beautiful bakes and has been known to hand-paint cakes that are inspired by her daughters.
Profession: Head of finance
With six years of baking experience under his belt, Jairzeno picked up his skills back in 2014 when he became tired of trying bakes that didn't taste as good as they looked. He loves a perfect pâtissérie finish and to use Caribbean spices in his creations.
Profession: Retired nurse and midwife
Maggie is the tent's oldest baker this year, and used to work as a nurse and midwife. Using her impressive library of cookbooks, Maggie loves to recreate classic bakes while giving them a new twist by using slightly unusual ingredients. Fiercely active, Maggie enjoys being on the water and is a keen sailor and kayaker.
Who left Great British Bake Off last week?
The 12th series of GBBO got off to a flying start, with the judging panel donning wigs and partaking in a musical intro sequence that featured a rendition of ‘Achy Breaky Heart’. Next, this year’s batch of bakers were tasked with creating a mini roll, before taking on the technical challenge of recreating a malt loaf from a stripped back recipe. Finally, the showstopper challenge saw the bakers attempt anti-gravity cakes - in the end it was IT professional Jurgen who won star baker, while software developer Tom failed to impress the judges and was the first to be sent home.
Which channel is Great British Bake Off 2021 on?
GBBO originally aired on the BBC, but was controversially sold to a new channel in 2016. The 2021 series will be the fifth one to air on Bake Off’s new home, Channel 4.
Who judges Great British Bake off 2021?
When the programme moved from the BBC to Channel 4, it lost presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, as well as judge Mary Berry. However, the new version of the show retained original judge Paul Hollywood, who was joined by new presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, as well as judge Prue Leith.
In January of 2020, Toksvig announced that she would be departing the series and in March that year, it was announced that comedian Matt Lucas would be taking her place. For 2021, all of the existing judging panel and presenting team are returning.
Watch the trailer for Great British Bake Off 2021
Channel 4 has released a short teaser trailer for the new series of the show, alongside the caption "loaf is in the air". Watch it below.
Who won Great British Bake Off 2020?
Peter Sawkins won the Great British Bake Off 2021 after a particularly close final where he beat fellow contestants Laura Adlington and Dave Friday becoming the youngest ever winner. It was his sweet nature and consistant bakes that not only got him the crown, but also won the heart of the nation.
Bake Off was actually the inspiration for Edinburgh-born Peter to start baking - he had watched every single series. Throughout the series he loved to use Scottish ingredients in his bakes, such as berries, whisky, oats and honey.
Prefer buying your sweet treats to making them yourself? Check out the best bakeries in London.