'The Great British Bake Off' announces 2020 return date

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'The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off' is hosted by Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig on Channel 4 (Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon)
'The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off' is hosted by Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig on Channel 4 (Channel 4/Mark Bourdillon)

Dust off the cake tins as the return date for The Great British Bake Off has been confirmed.

The popular Channel 4 baking series will be back on air on 22 September 22 8pm.

A message alongside a photograph on the official Bake Off Instagram account said: “Put a little love in your tart. Join us on Tuesday 22nd September for the return of The Great British Bake Off!”

This will be the 11th series of the baking competition which first aired in 2010, and the fourth season of the reality show on its new broadcast home of Channel 4.

The series, shot over the summer under strict COVID-19 regulations, will mark the debut of new presenter Matt Lucas who replaces Sandi Toksvig as co-host alongside Noel Fielding. Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood both return as the judges.

Earlier today, Hollywood teased an announcement on Twitter, with a new image of the fab four together with the caption “are you ready?”.

There had been fears the show would not be able to film due to social distancing guidelines put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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But the baking competition – which is shot in a purpose-built tent – was able to go ahead with the contestants, judges, presenters and production crew, approximately 120 people, living in a self-contained biosphere for six weeks in a South-East location so they did not have to socially distance.

Channel 4 executive Kelly Webb-Lamb, deputy director of programmes and head of popular factual, reassured viewers that the series will look the same as always when it returns to screens.

Speaking during this year’s virtual Edinburgh Television Festival, she said the cast and crew had been living and filming “in a bubble” and adhering to stringent health and safety measures.

“We have worked hard with them to put testing and quarantine regimes in place beforehand for all talent, all cast, all crew, so that when we go into the bubble we know everyone there is negative,” she said.

“And that comes down to… The car you’re driving to set also has to be quarantined, nobody can have been in it for the time of quarantine, and then everything that comes on to set has to be properly disinfected to protect everybody on set and the production.

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“That then means that set is Covid-secure and that enables a little bit more flexibility so in the tent what you will see looks like normal Bake Off because it it is normal Bake Off and we’ve been able to do that.

“That does mean the talent and cast and crew lived in that bubble for the duration of production which is obviously different to how we would normally make Bake Off.

“I think that on screen it will feel like Bake Off, in the way they were living it was different, but it was an incredible feat from Love (Productions, who make Bake Off) to pull that off.”

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