The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C episode 1: Daisy Ridley, Rob Beckett, Alexandra Burke and Tom Allen tackle millionaire shortbread in the signature and a fruity tart in the technical, and create their pet hates in cake form in the showstopper.
Celebrities join Matt Lucas in the tent aiming to impress judges Paul and Prue as they bake for Stand Up To Cancer.
The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C episode 1
These Stand Up to Cancer fund-raising celebrity editions are always fun, largely because the contestants have nothing to lose if everything goes badly wrong. As indeed, reassuringly, it aways does.
Though not for everyone, there’s some surprising baking talent among the first four celebs: Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley, comedians Tom Allen (who hosts Bake Off: the Professionals) and Rob Beckett, and singer Alexandra Burke.Because it’s all for charity (there is a brief, moving film about a young cancer survivor called Ella), judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith aren’t as tough as usual, though Prue does confess, “I always love it when the celebs mess up.”
There are plenty of opportunities for disasters, with a technical challenge that includes ganache (“what’s a ganache?” asks one contestant) and a signature that results in a series of bizarre creations, including a cake representation of a toilet.
The charity version of the popular baking show returns, and with Noel Fielding on paternity leave, Matt Lucas is presenting on his own. In previous editions, comedian Tom Allen has stepped in to co-present – but today he is showing off his baking skills as one of the contestants, alongside Star Wars actress Daisy Ridley, comedian Rob Beckett and singer Alexandra Burke. To impress Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, the celebrities serve up millionaire shortbread, a fruity tart and their pet hates in cake form in the showstopper.
Bake Off in the time of a global pandemic is very different behind the scenes as the 12 contestants, judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith and presenters Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas leave behind their loved ones to enter their own bubble.
But this sacrifice means that on-screen, fans will be relieved to learn, all is as familiar and comfortable as a well-loved bobble hat. The opening episode is a corker, with a bunch of good-natured, self-deprecating and often brilliant amateurs and the funniest round I can ever recall. It’s the showstopper and it’s hilarious. A fondant Freddie Mercury, anyone?
The elder statesman of Bake Off, Paul is the only member of the team who has been with the show since its very beginning, originally judging alongside Mary Berry until the move to Channel 4 in 2017. Paul also hosts the US version of the programme, The American Baking Competition and has served as head baker at a number of hotels in the UK and abroad, after first beginning his career at his father’s bakery when he was still in his teens.
Although it was Bake Off that really made Paul a household name, he had made some other TV appearances beforehand on shows including The Heaven and Earth Show and This Morning, while since making his name as a judge he has appeared on a number of programmes including his own show Paul Hollywood’s Pies and Puds.
Paul is known for his often harsh comments and for setting frequently challenging tasks in the signature challenge, while his coveted “Hollywood handshakes” reserved for the very best bakes have become a popular feature of the show.