The Great British Bake Off made its long-awaited return to screens on Tuesday night, with 12 new bakers taking to the famous tent for Cake Week.
The series began with a hilarious homage to country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus, with Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith donning a mullet for a fun skit where they performed a rendition of his hit song Achy Breaky Heart.
This series, once again filmed in a Covid-safe bubble, will see the show’s most diverse group of bakers in the show’s history with a range of different cultures represented in the famous tent.
It’s back! The Great British Bake Off made its long-awaited return to screens on Tuesday night, with 12 new bakers taking to the famous tent for Cake Week
Paul and Prue began the series with a fun rendition of Cyrus’ hit single Achy Breaky Heart with the lyrics aptly changed to ‘flaky pastry tart,’ with hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas accompanying on instruments.
The unexpected opening continued with the show’s theme of skits to kick off the series, after Matt transofrmed into Boris Johnson for a reimagining of the government’s press conferences at the height of the Covid pandemic.
Kicking off Cake Week, the bakers were tasked with baking 12 mini rolls for their Signature Challenge, with many taking inspiration from the iconic Black Forest Gateau.
Amusing: The series began with a hilarious homage to country music legend Billy Ray Cyrus, with Paul Hollywood, Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas donning a mullet for a fun skit where they performed a rendition of his hit song Achy Breaky Heart
Amusing: Paul and Prue began the series with a fun rendition of Cyrus’ hit single Achy Breaky Heart with the lyrics aptly changed to ‘flaky pastry tart,’ with hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas accompanying on instruments
Sensational: Prue donned a moustache and a cowboy hat as she joined Paul, Noel and Matt in the fun-filled sketch which kicked off the new series in style
On your marks… get set.. bake! Kicking off Cake Week, the bakers were tasked with baking 12 mini rolls for their Signature Challenge, with many taking inspiration from the iconic Black Forest Gateau
As ever the programme was riddled with innuendos as the bakers struggled to cover the ‘cracks’ in their sponges wile attempting to create the perfect roll.
Crystelle was also left mortified after her baking tray laden with custard overflowed onto the floor, lamenting: ‘My mum is going to kill me!’
While Jürgen and Giuseppe impressed with their perfectly swirled rolls, Tom and George struggled with the challenge after battling with their timings.
Full of drama! Crystelle was among the 12 bakers taking on the first task of making a mini rolls, with hers inspired by her Goan heritage and her grandmother
Twins! Noel and Liverpudlian Lizzie both poked fun at their similar fashion senses, with the presenter joking his heeled boots were even higher than hers
For their signature challenge, the bakers were given a vintage classic: Malt Loaf.
While many of the contestants confessed they’d never heard of the divisive cake, it was a tricky feat for all as they attempted to make the stodgy mixture.
Maggie came out on top with her ‘beautiful’ malt loaf, and the retired midwife fought back tears as she gushed she was ‘pleased’ with Prue and Paul’s compliments, while Freya finished close behind in second place with her equally impressive bake.
However, Amanda and Chigs both struggled with their flour distributon and overall baking time, and finished in last place, putting them in danger heading into the Showstopper challenge.
Shocking: Ahead of the series launch, the show’s first ever vegan baker, Freya Cox was targeted by cruel trolls over her love of horse-riding
Mixed outcome: George struggled with his timings meaning he was left with lacklustre rolls, but Jürgen impressed with his bakes inspired by Black Forest Gateau from his native Germany
Ahead of the series launch, the show’s first ever vegan baker, Freya Cox was targeted by cruel trolls over her love of horse-riding.
The psychology student, 19, was forced to delete a Facebook page called Freya Cox Eventing, which had documented her achievements in the sport, after she was slammed online by those claiming it is cruel to animals.
The dressage champion had said she was ‘passionate about ethics’ while posting online about her excitement to join the tent as the show’s first vegan baker – meaning she won’t use animal products.
She penned: ‘The secret is finally out! I can’t believe I’m actually writing a post announcing I am going to be on the Great British Bake Off 2021 baking all vegan bakes.
‘I am so passionate about ethics and feel completely blessed to have the opportunity to share this with the world. To say I am the first completely vegan baker on GBBO feels like such an honour.
‘I will be posting loads of updates, bakes and behind the scenes pics over on my Instagram page if you’d like to follow me on there. Speak to you all soon…the future really is vegan.’
But the post was flooded with mean-spirited comments blasting the teenager for pictures she had posted online showing her riding a horse.
And more than half of the new line-up is inspired by its contestants’ foreign heritage – with a diverse mixture of cultures being brought to the tent, promising some exciting bakes to come.
Between them, this year’s cast come from far and wide, with family from Goa to Germany to Greece, as well as Cyprus, Kenya, Portugal and the Middle East.
A baker’s dozen! The line-up for The Great British Bake Off 2021 has been unveiled, ahead of the show’s season 12 debut on September 21 on Channel 4 at 8PM [L-R: New stars Elizabeth, George, Juergen, Crystelle, Jairzeno, Rochica, Giuseppe, Tom, Maggie, Chirag, Amanda and Freya]
A vast array of professions will also be in the tent, from a Met Police Detective to a Software Developer to a retired Nurse and Midwife.
The youngest of this year’s wannabe winners is a 19-year-old vegan psychology student from Yorkshire, while the rest of the contestants range between ages 26 – 70.
The Channel 4 show was filmed earlier this year with the contestants and crew placed in a COVID-safe filming bubble – the second time this has happened amid the pandemic.
GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF 2021: WHO ARE THE CONTESTANTS?
Dancing her way into the competition: Rochica’s interest in baking developed when she was left unable to dance due to an injury
Bread winner: Lover of traditional baking, Maggie’s favourite recipe is bread
Occupation: Junior HR Business Partner
With a big Jamaican family on both sides, Rochica bakes in a way that reflects her Caribbean heritage. Rochica’s interest in baking developed when she was left unable to dance due to an injury.
Occupation: Retired Nurse and Midwife
Maggie has an impressive collection of classic recipe books and loves recreating traditional bakes. Her favourite thing to bake is bread.
Έτοιμο, σετ, ψήσιμο! George grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family where food was always a big part of family life
Occupation: Shared Lives Coordinator
George grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family where food was always a big part of family life. His mum taught him to bake all the Greek classics, a legacy he’s now passing on to his three children.
Revving up the competition: Car Production Operative Lizzie loves baking cakes
Occupation: Car Production Operative
Lizzie lives with dog, Prudence, in an annex in her parents garden and her baking comfort zone is cake. In her spare time she loves dancing.
Life-long dream: Freya has wanted to enter Bake Off since the first series, when she was aged nine and saw the tent in Bakewell
Occupation: Psychology Student
From: North Yorkshire
Freya has wanted to enter Bake Off since the first series, when she was aged nine and saw the tent in Bakewell. She likes to create plant-based bakes.
Pronto, impostato, cuocere! Originally from Italy, Giuseppe was inspired to bake by his father, a professional chef
Occupation: Chief Engineer
Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives in Bristol with his wife and their three young sons. He was inspired to bake by his father, a professional chef and loves using Italian flavours.
Black Forest (Gateaux): Jürgen hails from Germany and bakes his own traditional German bread
Occupation: Computer Pro
Originally from the Black Forest in Germany, Jürgen moved to the UK in 2003. Unable to find traditional German bread here he decided to bake his own – and his passion has grown ever since.
Locking it in: Chigs took up baking at the start of the first lockdown in 2020
Occupation: Sales Manager
Chigs took up baking at the start of lockdown in 2020 teaching himself complex techniques by carefully studying online videos.
Bringing the force: Cop Amanda learned to bake with her mum and paternal auntie
Occupation: Met Police Detective
Raised in London with Greek-Cypriot heritage, the mother-of-two’s bakes are heavily influenced by Greece and the Middle East having learned to bake with her mum and paternal auntie.
Midnight baker: Before he moved out of the family home, Tom’s mum says she would often wake up to a sweet treat
Occupation: Software Developer
Tom’s mum has dubbed him the ‘midnight baker’ as before he moved out of the family home she would often wake up to a sweet treat… and a pile of washing up!
Quadrilingual Crystelle! This home baker brings her diverse heritage to the flavours in her baking
Occupation: Client Relationship Manager
Quadrilingual Crystelle is a baker who brings her wonderfully diverse heritage – born in northwest London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents – to the flavours in her baking.
‘Baking is like breathing!’ Trinidadian-born Jairzeno spices up his baking with lots of Caribbean flavours
Occupation: Head Of Finance
Trinidadian-born Jairzeno says ‘baking is like breathing’. He loves using lots of Caribbean spices in his bakes. When he’s not baking he loves running.