The Great British Bake Off is undergoing a format change this year that has left fans divided. The popular baking show is scrapping its national-themed challenges after receiving criticism from some viewers.
This comes as The Great British Bake Off is to return to Channel 4 later this month. And, scrapping its national-challenged themes isn’t the only change with Alison Hammond set to join Paul Hollywood and co with the show rumoured to start on September 12.
Hammond, who has featured as a regular on ITV’s flagship show This Morning, is to join Bake Off veterans Noel Fielding, as well Dame Prue Leith and Hollywood, who are returning as judges.
The show had a Japan week in 2020, a German week in 2021, and faced some high profile backlash after Mexican week last year. The complaints related to casual racism and stereotypes because the hosts wore sombreros, used maracas and spoke in accents. There were also complaints that some featured dishes were not authentic.
Following the backlash the episode received, Hollywood said he was ‘gutted’. He said: "I’d literally come back from Mexico about three weeks before we filmed the episode. I was all over the place, and we set the challenges based on what I’d seen there. The challenges were very good, and everyone did a good job."
Dame Prue said they had no intentions to be controversial, adding: "The thing about Bake Off is that it absolutely represents inclusivity and diversity and tolerance and togetherness. So the idea that we were set out to insult anybody is ridiculous."
Speaking on the issue, executive producer Kieran Smith told the Guardian: "We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat. We’re not doing any national themes this year."