In a television landscape filled with cancellations and postponements, news that Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off is returning to our screens later this year will be very welcome indeed. Along with a brand new host and location, the upcoming eleventh series will adhere to restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. So, although GBBO is coming back in 2020, viewers can expect a much different series this time around. Here's everything you need to know about the show's return.
As Deadline reports, production on Bake Off's latest run is now currently underway, after filming plans were derailed back in April following the nation-wide lockdown. The show's entire cast and crew, including brand new host Matt Lucas, each quarantined before filming commenced to allow filming to commence. Physical interactions on-set will also be limited with social distancing. The Paul Hollywood handshake is a thing of the past, too, per Eater London.
The show – usually filmed over 11 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. Offering some insight into production on the new season, Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey revealed that filming is "going very well."
As Metro reports, the long-running baking competition has also 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.
Elsewhere, comedian and actor Matt Lucas was announced as Sandi Toksvig's replacement earlier this year, after it was revealed Toksvig would not be returning to the series. 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 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."
As it stands, an official series 11 start date is yet to be announced, and questions surrounding the show's 2020 return were questioned after Bake Off was not included in a press pack outlining Channel 4’s autumn TV highlights. However, in a relief to fans, Sky Studios' Millichip recently commented that “You will have your Victoria sponge this year.”
The Great British Bake Off is expected to return to Channel 4 later in 2020.