The Great British Bake Off
|The Great British Bake Off|
|Directed by||Scott Tankard (2013–)
Andy Devonshire (2010–12)
|Presented by||Mel Giedroyc
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||34 (inc. 16 specials)|
|Executive producer(s)||Anna Beattie (2010–)
Richard McKerrow (2010)
Kieran Smith (2012)
|Producer(s)||Samantha Beddoes (2013–)
Amanda Westwood (2012)
|Editor(s)||Amanda Westwood (2013–)
Victoria Watson (2010)
Melissa Brown (2011)
|Location(s)||Cotswolds, Scone Palace, Sandwich, Bakewell, Mousehole, Fulham Palace (all 2010)
Valentines Mansion (2011)
Harptree Court (2012–13)
Welford Park (2014–)
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Love Production|
|Original channel||BBC One (2014–)
BBC Two (2010–13)
|Original run||17 August 2010– present|
|Related shows||The Great British Sewing Bee
Come Dine with Me
Great British Menu
The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice
The Great British Bake Off is a BAFTA award-winning British television baking competition first shown by BBC Two on 17 August 2010. The judges are cookery writer Mary Berry and professional baker Paul Hollywood. Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins have presented all five series of the programme to date. The competition selects from amongst its contestants the best amateur baker.
The programme was moved to BBC One in its fifth series after it became the most popular show on BBC Two. Its increasing popularity is credited with reinvigorating interest in baking throughout the UK, Many of its participants, including winners, have gone on to start a career based on bakery (notably Joanne Wheatley, Edd Kimber, Frances Quinn and John Whaite).
The programme has spawned a number of specials and spin-off shows - a celebrity charity series in aid of Sport Relief or Comic Relief, Junior Bake Off for young children (broadcast on the CBBC channel), and An Extra Slice aired on BBC Two after the Bake Off series was moved to BBC One. Its format was also used on the BBC Two series The Great British Sewing Bee. The format has been sold to many countries around the world where local versions of bake-off show are produced.
- 1 Format
- 2 Series overview
- 3 Incomplete Bakes
- 4 Reception
- 5 Controversy
- 6 International versions
- 7 Spin-offs
- 8 The Great Sport/Comic Relief Bake Off
- 9 Transmissions
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The series choose from the contestants a best amateur baker. The applicants to the show are assessed by a researcher, followed by an audition in London with two of their bakes and undergoing a screen test and an interview with a producer. A second audition involves the applicants baking two recipes for judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood in front of the cameras. Ten contestants were chosen for the first series, twelve for the following two series, thirteen for the fourth, and back to twelve for the fifth.
In each episode, the amateur bakers are given three challenges: a signature bake, a technical challenge, and a show-stopper. The three challenges take place over two days, and the filming takes up to 16 hours a day. The contestants are assessed by the judges who then choose a "Star Baker" for the week (introduced in series 2), and a contestant is also eliminated. In the final three bakers are left and a winner is chosen from the three.
- Signature Challenge – a bake using a tried and tested recipe that the amateur bakers make for their family and friends.
- Technical Challenge – a bake using the same ingredients and recipe provided by the judges Berry and Hollywood. The recipe however has missing instructions and is designed to test the knowledge and skill of the bakers. The bakers are not told beforehand what the challenge might be, and the judges do not observe the baker at work and judge the result blind.
- Showstopper Challenge – a bake designed to impress the judges.
In the first series, the location of the cast and crew move from town to town each week, but starting from the second series, the competition is held in one location in a specially constructed marquee. Interspersed in the programme are the background of the contestants as well as video vignettes on the history of baking. What each baker intends to bake during a particular challenge is illustrated using animated graphics. These graphics have been created by illustrator Tom Hovey since the show's inception in 2010.
- Male contestant Female contestant
|1||17 August 2010||21 September 2010||Miranda Gore Browne||Edd Kimber|
|2||14 August 2011||4 October 2011||Holly Bell||Joanne Wheatley|
|3||14 August 2012||16 October 2012||Brendan Lynch||John Whaite|
|4||20 August 2013||22 October 2013||Kimberley Wilson||Frances Quinn|
|5||6 August 2014||8 October 2014||TBA||TBA|
Series 1 (2010)
Series 1 of The Great British Bake Off saw ten home bakers take part in a bake-off to test their baking skills as they battled to be crowned the Great British Bake Off's best amateur baker. Each week the nationwide tour saw the bakers put through three challenges in a particular discipline. The rounds took place in various locations across the UK, with the final being held at Fulham Palace, London.
The three finalists were Ruth Clemens, Miranda Gore Browne and Edd Kimber. On 21 September 2010, Edd Kimber was crowned the best amateur baker.
Series 2 (2011)
This year the number of amateur baker contestants increased to twelve. Unlike series 1, this year The Great British Bake Off stayed in one location – Valentines Mansion, a 17th-century mansion house in Redbridge, London.
Series 3 (2012)
Series 4 (2013)
The fourth series of The Great British Bake Off started on 20 August 2013 on BBC Two. The series was again filmed at Harptree Court in East Harptree, Somerset. The all-female final was won by Frances Quinn, with Ruby Tandoh and Kimberley Wilson as runners up.
Series 5 (2014)
The fifth series of The Great British Bake Off began airing on 6 August 2014 at 8:00pm on BBC One. This series was filmed at Welford Park in Berkshire. There were twelve bakers taking part. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood returned as judges, whilst Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc continued to present the series.
A spin-off show The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice, hosted by comedienne Jo Brand on BBC Two, was also launched as a companion series this year. Each episode is broadcast two days after the main show and includes interviews with eliminated contestants.
As of the fifth series, there have only been two incomplete bakes.
- In series 3, John Whaite was forced to stop baking after he severely cut his finger on the food processor. He had been continuing wearing a rubber glove, though his injury was starting to affect his strudel. As a result, no one was eliminated.
- In series 5, Iain Watters' ice cream had not set for reasons that were not clarified during the show; though the editing of the show was such that it appeared to have been caused by another contestant's actions. He binned his bake in frustration and left the tent. He returned shortly after, though as his final bake was unable to be judged was eliminated from the competition. Due the ambiguity surrounding the cause of his bake's failure, there was some anger over his departure (see the controversy section).
The early reviews for the first series were mixed. Lucy Mangan of The Guardian wondered if "competitive baking [is] a contradiction in terms" and found the proceedings humourless. Iain Hollingshead of The Daily Telegraph was scathing, describing the presenters as "annoying", the judge Paul Hollywood as looking "sinister without being interesting", and that the audience would be so bored that they "could certainly forgive the cameraman if he were to commit hara-kiri in a giant pool of egg and flour."
However, reviews from the later series were more positive. Andrew Collins of The Guardian called it "the nicest show on television" and judged it the best TV programme of 2012. Rachel Ward of The Daily Telegraph thought the programme "had just the right consistency of mouth-watering morsels, good humour, and fascinating history", while Tom Sutcliffe of The Independent considered the contest "perfectly baked".
Awards and nominations
The show is credited with spurring an interest in home baking, with supermarkets and department stores reporting sharp rises in sales of baking ingredients and accessories. It was also credited with reviving the Women's Institute whose membership reached its highest level since the 1970s. The show also boosted the sales of bakery books and the number of baking clubs, and independent bakeries also showed an increase in number. According to analyst, more than three fifths of adults have baked at home at least once in 2013 compared with only a third in 2011.
The first series of The Great British Bake Off premiered in August 2010 with a moderate ratings of just over 2 million viewers for its first episode. This was enough to place it in BBC Two's top ten for that week, and over the series the audience grew to over three million, with the semi-final and final both achieving first place in BBC Two's weekly ratings. During the second series, the ratings gradually increased, and it became a surprise hit with nearly 4 million watching each episode. Week two was the last time that the show was out-rated by another BBC Two programme in the same week (it came second to the drama Page Eight); from then until the show's move to BBC One, every competition episode would be the channel's number one rated programme of the week. By its final episode it had averaged 4.56 million viewers, peaking at 5.1 million in its last 15 minutes.
The ratings continued to strengthen in the third series, and the show began to beat its competition in its timeslot. The final of the series where John Whaite was crowned the winner saw its highest rating yet, with an average of 6.5 million viewers that peaked at 7.2 million, which made it the second highest-rated BBC Two originated show after Top Gear since at least 2006. The fourth series achieved some of the highest ratings seen on BBC Two. The viewer number for its premiere episode was more than two million higher than that of the previous season, while the final episode was seen by 9.1 million viewers at its peak, more than twice the number of viewers on BBC One and ITV. The final episode is the most-watched show on BBC Two since the present ratings system was introduced in 2002, beating the previous record set by Top Gear. As a result of its high ratings, the show was moved to BBC One.
After its move to BBC 1, the opening episode was watched by over 7 million viewers according to overnight figures, beating the figure of 5.6 million for the opening episode of previous year. A "sabotage" controversy surrounding episode four helped the show gain its biggest ever audience of 10.3 million viewers, with 2 million people who watched it on iPlayer. 
Product placement sanction
In September 2012, production company Love Productions was sanctioned by the BBC for product placement of Smeg fridges. The issue came to light after a viewer wrote to the Radio Times complaining of "blatant product promotion". After an investigation, the BBC said Love Production's loan agreement with Smeg did not meet editorial guidelines and was being revised for the third series, and that appropriate retrospective hire payments would be made. The BBC asked Smeg to remove a notice from its website promoting its association with the show, which it has since done.
During the fourth series, there were accusations of favouritism towards female contestants after the last man Glenn Cosby was eliminated from the show,. However, similar claims were not made the previous year over the all-male final. The fourth series also suffered allegations of Paul Hollywood's favouritism towards Ruby Tandoh, and personal attacks on Tandoh by various people including the chef Raymond Blanc. Both Paul Hollywood and Ruby Tandoh denied the accusation.
Baked Alaska controversy ("Bingate")
In the 4th episode of the fifth series, there was controversy around the expulsion of contestant Iain Watters. During the final show stopper round contestants were tasked with producing a Baked Alaska. Iain's ice cream was shown as having not set and in a show of frustration he threw his bake in the bin. The editing of the show suggested that another contestant, Diana Beard, had caused the failure by removing the ice cream from a freezer, and the perceived "sabotage" resulted in a furore on social media networks. However, various members of the cast posted comments in support of Diana and a BBC spokesman later issued a statement:
|“||As shown in the episode, Iain became the fourth baker to leave the tent because he didn’t present Paul and Mary with anything to judge in the showstopper challenge and both judges were very clear about the reasoning behind the decision.
Due to the extreme temperature in the tent that day, many of the bakers struggled to get their ice cream to set as seen in the episode. Diana removing Iain’s ice cream from the freezer for less than a minute was in no way responsible for Iain’s departure.
Current and upcoming versions include:
|Australia||The Great Australian Bake Off||Shane Jacobson
|Nine Network||9 July 2013|
|Belgium (Dutch)||De MeesterBakker
(The Master Baker)
|Rani De Coninck||Sofie Dumont
|vtm||4 April 2012|
|Denmark||Den Store Bagedyst
(The Great Baking Joust)
|DR1||28 August 2012|
|Finland||Koko Suomi leipoo
(The whole of Finland bakes)
|Anne Kukkohovi||Mika Parviainen
|MTV3||24 September 2013|
|France||Le Meilleur Pâtissier
(The Best Baker)
|Faustine Bollaert||Cyril Lignac
|26 November 2012|
|Germany||Das große Backen
(The great Baking)
|Enie van de Meiklokjes
|Sat.1||1 December 2013|
|Ireland||The Great Irish Bake Off||Anna Nolan||Biddy White Lennon
|TV3||19 September 2013|
|Italy||Bake Off Italia||Benedetta Parodi||Ernst Knam
|Real Time||November 2013|
|Netherlands||Heel Holland Bakt
(All of Holland bakes)
|Martine Bijl||Robèrt van Beckhoven
Janny van der Heijden
|MAX (Nederland 1)||5 June 2013|
|Norway||Hele Norge Baker
(All of Norway Bakes)
|Line Verndal||Pascal Dupuy
|TV3||10 March 2013|
|Poland||Polski Turniej Wypieków
(The Polish Baking Tournament)
|TLC||10 October 2012|
|Sweden||Hela Sverige bakar
(All of Sweden Bakes)
|Tilde de Paula||Johan Sörberg
|TV4 (Sjuan)||20 September 2012|
|Ukraine||Great Bakers Tournament||Yuri Gorbunov||Serge Markovic
|1+1||1 September 2013|
|United States||The American Baking Competition||Jeff Foxworthy||Marcela Valladolid
|CBS||29 May 2013|
The Great Sport/Comic Relief Bake Off
|The Great Sport/Comic Relief Bake Off|
|Directed by||Stuart McDonald|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||12|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Love Productions|
|Original channel||BBC Two|
|Original run||10 January 2012– present|
Series 1 (Sport Relief 2012)
|1||Traybake||Meringue dessert||Wholemeal Cheese Scones||Sarah Hadland
|Angela Griffin||10 January 2012||3.52|
|2||Savoury Flan||Layered cake||Banana and chocolate chip loaves||Arlene Phillips
|Fi Glover||11 January 2012||2.79|
|3||Classic Crumble||24 miniature tarts||Coffee and Walnut cake||Anita Rani
|Anita Rani||12 January 2012||2.56|
|Episode No.||Signature Challenge||Showstopper Challenge||Technical Challenge||Finalists||Winner||Airdate||Viewers|
|4||Trio of baked biscuits||Covered Tiered occasion cake||6 Sausage Rolls||Angela Griffin
|Anita Rani||13 January 2012||3.43|
Series 2 (Comic Relief 2013)
|Episode No.||Signature Challenge||Showstopper Challenge||Technical Challenge||Contestants||Comic Relief Star Baker||Airdate||Viewers|
|1||Shortbread||Portrait Cake||Custard Slices||Jo Brand, Stephen K. Amos, Lorna Watson and Ingrid Oliver||Ingrid Oliver||21 January 2013||4.17|
|2||Iced Biscuits||Gateaux||Bakewell Tart||Warwick Davis, Duncan Bannatyne, Simon Reeve and Andy Akinwolere||Warwick Davis||22 January 2013||4.44|
|3||Scones||Novelty Cake||Chocolate Eclairs||Ellie Simmonds, Kirsty Wark, Julia Bradbury and Bob Mortimer||Ellie Simmonds and Kirsty Wark||23 January 2013||4.34|
|4||Chocolate Biscuits||Comic Relief Birthday Cake||Lemon Meringue Pie||Claudia Winkleman, Ed Byrne, Martha Kearney and Helen Glover||Martha Kearney||24 January 2013||4.39|
Series 3 (Sport Relief 2014)
|Episode No.||Guest host||Signature Challenge||Showstopper Challenge||Technical Challenge||Contestants||Sport Relief Star Baker||Airdate||Viewers|
|1||Sue Perkins||12 Sandwich Biscuits||3D Novelty Cake||Tarte Tatin||Michael Vaughan, Samantha Bond, Bonnie Wright and Johnny Vaughan||Bonnie Wright||13 January 2014||4.37|
|2||Jo Brand||12 Gingerbread Biscuits||Chocolate Cake||Banoffee Pie||Kirsty Young, Jane Horrocks, Greg Rutherford and Jason Gardiner||Kirsty Young||14 January 2014||5.07|
|3||Omid Djalili||Traybake||Layered Cakes||Iced Ring Dougnuts||Michael Ball, Emma Freud, Jamelia and Victoria Pendleton||Emma Freud||15 January 2014||5.02|
|4||Ed Byrne||Pizzas||Tiered Cakes||Eccles Cakes||Rochelle Humes, Alistair McGowan, Doon Mackichan and Helen Skelton||Alistair McGowan||16 January 2014||4.94|
|Series||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|1||17 August 2010||21 September 2010||6|
|2||16 August 2011||4 October 2011||8|
|3||14 August 2012||16 October 2012||10|
|4||20 August 2013||22 October 2013||10|
|5||6 August 2014||8 October 2014||10|
|Title||Start date||End date||Episodes|
|The Great British Wedding Cake||20 April 2011||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Masterclass||6 October 2011||13 October 2011||2|
|The Great British Bake Off, Revisited||20 October 2011||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Masterclass||22 October 2012||25 October 2012||3|
|The Great British Bake Off, Revisited||23 October 2012||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Christmas Masterclass||18 December 2012||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Easter Masterclass||26 March 2013||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Class of 2012||22 October 2013||1|
|The Great British Bake Off, Masterclass||29 October 2013||1 November 2013||4|
|The Great British Bake Off, Christmas Special||17 December 2013||1|
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- Official website
- The Great British Bake Off at BBC Programmes
- The Great British Wedding Cake at BBC Programmes
- The Great Sport Relief Bake Off at BBC Programmes
- The Great Comic Relief Bake Off at BBC Programmes
- The Great British Bake Off at UKGameshows.com
- The Great British Bake Off at the Internet Movie Database
- The Great Sport Relief Bake Off at the Internet Movie Database