The show is set to make its highly-anticipated return to screens next week, following its dramatic move to Channel 4.
But fans have received a taste of what’s to come on the new Great British Bake Off, as the contestants for 2017 have been revealed.
With a trainee stunt-woman, a health and safety inspector who dabbles in yoga, and the oldest ever contestant at 71 years old, this year’s 12 bakers are some of the most eccentric to date – making the beloved series’ reboot all the more exciting.
The icing on the cake: Fans received a taste of what’s to come on the revamped series on Monday, as this year’s Great British Bake Off contestants were unveiled (above)
Viewers will be introduced to a number of quirky characters on the 2017 series – including a software developer who has survived cancer, a former Officer in the Royal Artillery and a balding banker.
Joking he looks more like a ‘bank robber’, banker James, 46, will no doubt win over viewers with his love of home grown produce, while Gunner-turned-stunt woman Sophie, 33, is set to wow with her talents in patisserie.
Adding to the wide variety of hopefuls, the 12-strong batch also features a 71-year-old retiree – the eldest amateur baker to be featured in the series to date – who loves baking as much as she does ‘boogieing’ with friends.
Meanwhile a number of characters raised in other countries also contribute to the line-up, such as Nigeria, Siberia and Hong Kong – no doubt adding to the number of original and unusual bakes created on the show.
Despite transferring to Channel 4, the contestants will still fight to the finish in the famous Bake Off tent – erected in its usual home of the grounds of Welford Park, in Berkshire.
The popular series returns to screens on Tuesday August 29 at 8pm, when fans will see the competition play out with a new panel of judges and hosts for the first time.
MEET THIS YEAR’S 12 CONTESTANTS…
THE GIRLS – KATE
WHO IS SHE? A health and safety inspector from Merseyside, Kate also dabbles in blacksmithing, furniture restoration and yoga. She also loves the outdoors
When she’s indoors however, indulging in her love of baking, she is a fan of “old-fashioned” baking techniques
She taught herself to bake when she began to grow her own vegetables two years ago
WHO IS SHE? Julia has spent three years honing her baking prowess so she could enter Bake Off
She is originally from Kemerovo, Siberia
She met her husband Matt while on holiday in Turkey as a 17-year-old
WHO IS SHE? Hong Kong-born Yan moved to the UK when she was two
She started to bake seriously 10 years ago when she found herself in between 24 hour shifts, working as a molecular biologist for the NHS
Currently working as a laboratory research scientist, Yan now lives in north London with her wife, Marian and cat Kacey
WHO IS SHE? Flo, from Merseyside, is retired and the oldest amateur contestant to appear on Bake Off to date
She was one of 11 children and was raised in Huyton, Liverpool
She met her late husband Richard when she was 21 years old and working at a sausage factory
Following Richard’s death two years ago, her son Stephen encouraged her to take up baking. She bakes treats for his restaurant when she’s not baking for the family – or ‘having a boogie’ with friends
WHO IS SHE? A former Officer in the Royal Artillery, Sophie did not discover her talent for baking until she volunteered to make a friend’s birthday cake
The psychology graduate, who lives in Surrey with her boyfriend and a cat named Loki, has also developed a passion for patisserie
When she is not baking, Sophie enjoys track cycling, rowing, teaching military boot camps and is also training to be a stunt woman
WHO IS SHE? Former school teacher Stacey has fond memories of helping her grandmother make bread and butter pudding when she was a little girl
She really started to bake seriously while studying at University
Stacey likes to incorporate her Jewish heritage into her baking, with a traditional homemade Challah with every Friday night dinner
The Great British Bake Off shocked fans by announcing it was moving to Channel 4 late last year – after developing a cult following during its seven-year run on the BBC.
The series announced it was transferring to the rival channel in September, when Love Productions agreed a three-year £75 million deal with the broadcasters.
In a statement about the move, the BBC said at the time: ‘Working with Love Productions, we have grown and nurtured the programme over seven series and created the huge hit it is today.
‘We made a very strong offer to keep the show but we are a considerable distance apart on the money. The BBC’s resources are not infinite.
New chapter: Bake Off shocked fans by announcing the move to Channel 4 in September – after Love Productions agreed a three-year £75 million deal with the rival broadcasters
End of an era: However the £75million deal was hugely controversial – causing hosts Mel and Sue (top) and beloved baker Mary Berry (right) to pull out of their iconic roles on the show
‘GBBO is a quintessentially BBC programme. We hope Love Productions change their mind so that Bake Off can stay ad free on BBC One.’
However the decision was a hugely controversial one – causing hosts Mel and Sue and beloved baker Mary Berry to pull out of their roles on the show.
The comic duo, who won over fans with their puns and attempts to help the bakers as hosts, announced their departure in a typically witty statement, which read: ‘We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps.
Before they finished: ‘We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.’
THE BOYS – PETER
WHO IS HE? Born in Brixton originally, IT programme manager Peter had a well-travelled youth
He lived in Nigeria from the age of seven and moved back to the United Kingdom when he was 24. He has a wife, Tito and two children – Temi and Toni
He was bitten by the baking bug eight years ago when he started making his own bread. He reckons one of his specialities a melt-in-your-mouth Macaron, based on a recipe from French pastry maestro Pierre Hermes
When he’s not kneading dough he loves running on the beach, spinning, playing chess and badminton in his stomping ground of Essex
WHO IS HE? A software developer who loves the science behind baking and developing quirky flavour combinations
He is a cancer survivor and passionate about helping other people whose lives have been affected by the disease
He is married (his wife’s name is Catherine), and he loves sailing, travelling (especially visiting bakeries) and writing
WHO IS HE? Despite having a background in marketing, Steven’s heart lies in the kitchen
His mum, Judi, has been his cooking mentor. He cooks and bakes all of his own food and has lost an impressive five stone thanks to his own home-cooking
He likes putting a twist on recipes from his mum’s old cookbooks
WHO IS HE? James describes himself as a bald, baking banker – but his friends say he looks more like a bank robber than a banker
He was taught to bake by his father more than 40 years ago and grows his own fruit and vegetables to incorporate into his recipes
James lives in Essex with his wife Ann, sons Oliver and Ethan and their three chickens: Sparkles, Superman and Jeff
WHO IS HE? Architect Tom lives in Edinburgh with his partner David, where he can often be found making fresh shortbread for family and friends
Baking has always been a huge part of family life for Tom and his siblings, who were taught to bake by their mother, a home economics teacher
The family cherishes recipe books passed down by grandparents from both sides of the family
WHO IS HE? Hackney-born Liam has been baking for four years and is fondly known as the ‘Cake Boy’ amongst his university friends
He believes that baking is a universal language that can bring people together from all walks of life, and he wants to make it acceptable among his peers and the younger generation
Master bread maker Paul Hollywood opted to remain on the judging panel, and instead joins Prue Leith in whipping the bakers into shape – while Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding take over as hosts.
While comedian Noel was met with mixed reviews from fans over his appointment, the Mighty Boosh star was quick to express his own excitement for the new series.
He said following his confirmation as host: ‘GBBO is one of my favourite shows.
‘I’ve always loved brightly coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me! It’s basically the double.’
Judge Paul then went on to defend the comedian’s casting on an episode of Loose Women, soon after the news broke.
Revamp: Paul Hollywood (L) opted to remain on the judging panel, and joins Prue Leith (R) in whipping the bakers into shape – while Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding (centre) take over as hosts
The silver-haired fox explained: ‘I’m really excited. Obviously it’s a big thing for the country, the Bake Off, and when I heard the names read out, I was really excited.’
‘I think the whole dynamics of it, when I sat down and thought about it, because I’m a big fan of Noel, and Sandi actually.
‘I did know about Prue but I didn’t know about the others at all but its perfect, I’m really, really excited. At the end of the day, most people were in the dark, it’s kept very quiet for obvious reasons.’
New judge Prue also echoed Noel’s sentiments, gushing after she was announced: ‘I am so thrilled to be joining Paul, Sandi and Noel on the biggest show on TV and I cannot wait to see what the real stars of the show – the bakers – are going to create.
‘It is such an honour to be part of The Great British Bake Off team.’
Changes: Comedians Noel and Sandi (L) were met with mixed reviews from fans, who bemoaned the loss of Mel and Sue (R) – but the pair were quick to gush of their own excitement
Dream team: However judge Paul went on to defend their casting on Loose Women – admitting he was ‘excited’ and felt the ‘dynamics’ between the four would be ‘perfect’
Fellow new addition Sandi went on to describe the new role as a privilege, adding: ‘It is an extraordinary honour to part of this national treasure of a show.
‘Noel Fielding is one of the nicest guys in show business. The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh.
In her usual witty style, she continued: ‘The only down side is that he has much better dress sense that I do. I spend my daytimes on Channel 4 already so it will be a treat to be there in the evenings.’
Explaining the changes viewers can expect to see, Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt announced: ‘The Great British Bake Off will have a uniquely Channel 4 take when it airs this autumn.
‘Paul and Prue have huge amounts of expertise and warmth. I’m looking forward to seeing them putting our great new bunch of amateur bakers through their paces.
‘Sandi and Noel bring a fresh wit and quirkiness to the tent.’
New kids in town: Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt said of the newbies: ‘Paul and Prue (left) have huge amounts of expertise and warmth’ while ‘Sandi and Noel (right) bring a fresh wit and quirkiness to the tent’