Bake Off 2023: Fans react to Alison Hammond's debut as host

The This Morning host went down like a sweet treat with the Bake Off crowd

Prue Leith, Noel Fielding, Alison Hammond, and Paul Hollywood - The Great British Bake Off 2023 (Channel 4)
Prue Leith, Noel Fielding, Alison Hammond, and Paul Hollywood - The Great British Bake Off 2023 (Channel 4)

What did you miss?

It's all change for The Great British Bake Off this year with producers promising a back to basics approach to the show, and also the arrival of Alison Hammond as co-host following the departure of Matt Lucas.

Hammond, who has appeared on the celebrity version of the show as a contestant, made her hosting debut on season 14's premiere episode alongside mainstays Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.

Hammond proved to be a natural and viewers agreed online with one fan posting on social media: "Alison Hammond hosting #GBBO just feels so natural and right. She looks so happy to be there and I feel so happy watching her."

Another said: "I have high hopes for Alison Hammond, She is a warm and generous person with a brilliant laugh. I think she is great casting."

What, how, and why?

The second hosting line-up change since the show moved to Channel 4, fans were excited to see Hammond join the tent given her jovial personality and all-round warmth and they weren't let down.

The show kicked off with one of its trademark sketches – this time parodying The Godfather with Hollywood playing The Breadfather complete with iffy Marlon Brando impression that still sounded very Scouse.

In a slightly surreal moment, the rest of the hosting team were donned out in Mafia garb and Hammond was inducted into the family by kissing a loaf of bread.

She then got the honour of welcoming the audience to the show.

What else happened on Great British Bake Off?

Dan - The Great British Bake Off 2023. (Channel 4)
Dan on The Great British Bake Off 2023. (Channel 4)

For the signature challenge, each of the contestants had to bake a vertical layer cake with a high standard being delivered all round but it looked like the judges were most impressed with Keith and Dan.

The technical challenge set by Hollywood and Leith was the Great British Bake Off cake with or without its iconic raspberry but they all of the bakers have to use a ganache.

They then did their customary ranking of all of the contestants with Amos finishing runner-up and Dan coming first in the technical.

For the showstopper challenge, the contestants had to bake a cake in the shape of an animal. Hollywood revealed that if he had to bake an animal cake it would be of a silverback gorilla. Make of that what you will.

Most of the contestants went for dogs (though Amos baked a killer whale) while here was also a duck cake and a cow.

At the end of the episode, Dan was declared the season's first star baker while Amos became the first contestant sent home after a disaster in the showstopper.

Elsewhere, Leith asked a contestant if she could see her beaver and this year there is also a British Sign Language interpreter in the tent for contestant Tasha.

Will we be back for more?

Noel, Paul, Prue & Alison. The Great British Bake Off 2023 (Channel 4)
Noel, Paul, Prue and Alison on The Great British Bake Off 2023. (Channel 4)

With Bake Off getting back to what made audiences world over fall in love with it in the first place, the baking show looks to have found its sweet spot once again after the previous season's mis-steps in terms of the judging and controversy over Mexican week.

Fielding and Hammond have a warm rapport which works easier than the competing comic element he had with Lucas and given by the widely positive online reaction, fans will be tuning in for more of the national treasure and alternative comedian especially as its biscuit week.

The Great British Bake Off airs on Channel 4 every Tuesday at 8pm. It can also be streamed online.

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