July 30, 2020
In a television landscape filled with cancellations and postponements, news that The Great British Bake Off—shown on PBS Food and Netflix in America—is returning to our screens later this year is very welcome indeed.
And it’s not just those who have become avid bread bakers during the pandemic who will celebrate the return of the amateur contestants and their judges. In fact, according to the analytics group YouGov, The Great British Bake Off is the second-most-popular food and drink show of all time (after MasterChef)—as well as the most famous—to come out of the UK.
Along with a brand new host and location, the upcoming eleventh season will adhere to safety measures recommended for avoiding infection by COVID-19. So, although GBBO is coming back in 2020, viewers can expect a much different series this time around.
The show’s entire cast and crew,—including brand new host comedian and actor Matt Lucas, replacing Sandi Toksvig—each quarantined before filming started to allow filming to commence. Physical interactions on-set will also be limited with social distancing. The Paul Hollywood salutory handshake is a thing of the past, too, per a report by Eater London.
The show—which usually is filmed over a leisurely eleven weeks—is being filmed in just four, according to Deadline. New rules surrounding food safety and personal hygiene are also being observed. The crew cannot eat leftovers, for instance, and contestants cannot see their family while filming.
As Metro reports, the long-running baking competition also has moved from its usual home in Welford Park, Berkshire, and instead set up shop in a fresh, more COVID-secure filming spot. “It’s all happening in deep secret, somewhere in darkest deepest Britain in the shires,” teased Sky Studios Chief Commercial Officer Jane Millichip. However, Bake Off’s new home has since been revealed to be situated within the grounds of Down Hall Hotel in Essex.
Speaking to Metro, a representative for the show’s production company previously reassured fans that all efforts have been put into making sure the 2020 series goes ahead. “We’re working hard to deliver Bake Off to the audience this year, the priority is the safety of everyone involved in the production of the series,” the Love Productions rep explained.
The newest member of the cast, Lucas, is set to co-host alongside fellow Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding throughout the upcoming season, and discussing his delicious new TV gig, he told Britain’s Channel 4 news: “I’m chuffed to bits to be joining the most delicious show on television. I can’t wait to break bread with Noel, Prue and Paul and meet the brilliant bakers.”
While the exact date of the new season premiere has not been announced, Sky Studios’ Millichip recently commented that “You will have your Victoria sponge this year.”
Research contact: @DEADLINE