The Great New Year Bake Off 2021: Noel Fielding, Matt Lucas, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood get the New Year celebrations started in the tent. Joining them are Helena and Henry from 2019, Nancy from 2014, and 2018 winner Rahul, all hoping to impress the judges with their skills and creativity and take home the coveted Festive Star Baker title.
This will really perk you up if 2020 has left you feeling low. Former Bake Off-ers Helena, Henry, Rahul and Nancy return to the tent for serious cooking and light-hearted fun in equal measures.
They’re great characters: you may remember how Nancy used to talk back to Paul Hollywood. She still does and it’s just as funny. Helena is still Gothic-crazy (she calls her first bake Rest in Pieces), the charming Henry is still wearing a tie and Rahul’s explanations still go on forever.
The 21st birthday cake showstoppers look terrific so frankly all four of them deserve a Paul Hollywood handshake. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Celebrate with some Yuletide specials of Bake Off.
The Great New Year Bake Off 2021
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.
The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off (often abbreviated to Bake Off or GBBO) is a British television baking competition, produced by Love Productions, in which a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress a group of judges with their baking skills. One contestant is eliminated in each round, and the winner is selected from the contestants who reach the finals. The first episode was aired on 17 August 2010, with its first four series broadcast on BBC Two, until its growing popularity led the BBC to move it to BBC One for the next three series.
After its seventh series, Love Productions signed a three-year deal with Channel 4 to produce the series for the broadcaster. The programme was originally presented by Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, with judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Following its move to Channel 4, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig took over as presenters, but Toksvig was later replaced by Matt Lucas. Hollywood and Prue Leith are the current judges. In chronological order, the winners are Edd Kimber, Joanne Wheatley, John Whaite, Frances Quinn, Nancy Birtwhistle, Nadiya Hussain, Candice Brown, Sophie Faldo, Rahul Mandal, David Atherton and Peter Sawkins.