The news that The Great British Bake Off was moving from the BBC to Channel 4 last year caused much controversy amongst Bake Off Fans.

Not least, because the shows signature presenters, Mel & Sue and judge Mary Berry, decided not to move “to the other side”.

As I write this, I’m actually watching the first #GBBO on Channel 4. The opener wasn’t as elaborate as I was expecting, which actually, is quite a good thing. We’re introduced to new hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig and although they’re no Mel & Sue, they really do compliment the format of the programme.

I was half expecting Noel to be over extravagant, having only known him from his work on The Mighty Boosh (Which was great, wasn’t it?), but no. He may come across as not knowing much about baking, but I’m already warming to him on here. He’s emphatic, warm and friendly, just what the contestants need, with a little bit of cheekiness on the side.

Sandi is equally as good, she too is warm, emphatic and comes across as knowing her stuff. She won’t take no soggy bottoms, and she’s not even a judge. It’s a great pairing, that perhaps didn’t look good on paper, but on screen, there’s already that chemistry.

Paul Hollywood is back having made the move from the BBC. He’s the familiar face regular viewers can relate too and new viewers can adjust too. Not least because of his glistening white teeth and even whiter hair. Clearly sprucing himself up since the move.

Pure Leith is an unfamiliar face on Bake Off and I personally can’t say I know much about her, other than she’s a a South African born restauranteur, writer, novelist and TV broadcaster with a long-spanning and varied career. (Thanks Express!).

Remember, I’m writing this as I’m watching, and we’ve just delved into an ad break. It only took eighteen minutes to have one, which is actually quite good, given most channels with adverts usually cut to an ad break ten minutes once a programme has started, so having eight extra minutes of programme is great.

And finally, the overall format. It’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from Bake Off. Minus the ad breaks, which I’m sure we’ll all get used too, the programme still has the warmth we’ve come to know and love. The music used during baking and judging to signify happiness, drama and time pressures still remain and are still as significant as the cakes themselves.

So, with new personalities, the same format and a smattering of Hollywood Handshakes, Bake Off hasn’t changed much at all. If anything, I’m feeling quite hungry, are you?

Ready, Set, Bake!


Ian Pinnell

Ian Pinnell is an award winning broadcaster & creative from Oxfordshire. He currently serves as a Trustee for two charities, and Publicity Officer for Radio Cherwell, hospital radio in Oxford.

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