'The Great British Bake Off': Who are the judges and presenters this series?

·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·6-min read
Who stars in the 2021 series? (Channel 4)
Who stars in the 2021 series? (Channel 4)

The Great British Bake Off is serving up another slice of cosy TV with a new series of the contest – but who are the judges and presenters this year?

We're back in the tent with 12 new bakers all vying to be the series champion, so find out who'll be judging their efforts and which presenters will encourage them to rise to the challenge.

Read more: The Great British Bake Off 2021 – meet the bakers

Here's all you need to know about the 2021 Bake Off judges and hosts, as well as who has starred in previous years.

Watch: The Great British Bake Off teaser trailer

Who are the judges of The Great British Bake Off 2021?

Paul and Prue.
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are back in charge. (Channel 4)

This year, we're welcoming back to the tent judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who will do the honours of tasting the bakers' creations and choosing the eventual winner.

Hollywood has been a Bake Off judge every series since the show began in 2010, while Leith joined the contest when it moved to Channel 4 in 2017.

It sounds as though Hollywood had a particularly good time tasting the bakes this year – he has complained to the Sunday People about how much weight he had gained.

Read more: All the Bake Off winners and where they are now

The 55-year-old baker and broadcaster said: "I put on 12 pounds in that bloody tent. Prue put on a pound. A pound during Bake Off? That’s ridiculous."

Contestants are often intimidated by his steely gaze and harsh criticism, but earning a Hollywood Handshake – a wordless congratulations from the bread guru – is one of the greatest accolades a baker can receive on the show.

Meanwhile, Leith is known for her funky glasses and love of a boozy bake.

Paul and Prue.
The judges get to taste some delicious bakes. (Channel 4)

She managed to cause one of Bake Off's biggest controversies in her first year on the show when she accidentally tweeted that Sophie Faldo had won the series hours before the episode aired.

Leith, who was out of the country on the day the pre-recorded final was shown and hadn't accounted for the time difference, talked afterwards of her horror at realising what she'd done.

She said: “Everybody was wonderful but it was days before I could sleep properly. I still feel absolutely mortified by it. It was awful.”

The 81-year-old is the founder of Leith's School of Food and Wine, which trains pro and amateur chefs, the author of various recipe books and fiction novels, and was already familiar to viewers as a Great British Menu judge.

Who are the hosts of The Great British Bake Off 2021?

Ep6.  Noel and Matt.
Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas both return. (Channel 4)

There's no change on the hosting front for Bake Off 2021 either, as Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas both return.

Comedian, actor and artist Fielding has been with Bake Off since it moved to Channel 4 in 2017, but fellow comedian and actor Lucas is a much more recent addition – this will be his second year in the tent.

Fielding, 48, best known for his show The Mighty Boosh, has become an unexpectedly calming, reassuring influence on nervous bakers – despite claiming not to like cake himself.

Ep3.  Paul, Prue, Noel and Matt.
Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding say they love working together. (Channel 4)

Lucas, famous for his sketch show Little Britain with David Walliams, told Lorraine earlier this year how much he loved co-starring with Fielding.

The 47-year-old said: “He’s so funny. And of course we’ve both been in double acts – we’re used to being in that dynamic. So when we write together we understand the rhythms to go, ‘Oh actually, I’ve thought of this joke, but you have it.'

"Noel is really generous like that. He comes up with very funny things for me to say.”

Who has been a judge on Bake Off?

Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood to reunite in the US?
Mary Berry had seven series in the tent with Paul Hollywood. (BBC)

The contest is very unusual in the world of reality TV because in the 12 series that it has been running, there has only ever been one change of judge.

From series one to seven, home baking expert Mary Berry judged alongside Hollywood, but she chose not to move to Channel 4 when Bake Off left its original home at the BBC.

Read more: The biggest ever Bake Off controversies

Paying tribute to her co-stars, she said at the time: "My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one.

"Farewell to soggy bottoms."

Berry, 86, has continued with her BBC broadcasting career by hosting a number of cookery shows as well as judging Britain's Best Home Cook.

Who has hosted Bake Off?

Mel and Sue hosted 'The Great British Bake Off' on BBC for seven series. (BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)
Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins hosted the show on the BBC for seven series. (BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon)

Presenters of the series have changed a few more times than the judges, with comedy double act Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins known for hosting the first seven series at the BBC.

Like Berry, they decided not to move to Channel 4, saying they had chosen not to "go with the dough" – leaving fans wondering who could possibly take their place with the right mix of innuendo and comforting encouragement.

Read more: Bake Off stars call for a return to realistic baking challenges

Luckily, Fielding and his first Channel 4 co-host Sandi Toksvig proved a worthy substitution, although many viewers still pine for the baking history segment that Giedroyc and Perkins presented, which was cut in the new channel format to make space for ad breaks.

Toksvig, 63, chose to step down from her role after the 2019 series, saying she needed to spend more time on her other work commitments – which include hosting QI.

<p>L-R: Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Prue Leith, and Paul Hollywood are all back for the second series made for Channel 4.(Channel 4/Love Productions) </p>
Sandi Toksvig left the team in 2019. (Channel 4/Love Productions)

She said in a statement at the time: "When stepping down from a job it is quite common for people to say they are doing so in order to spend more time with their family. Unusually I am departing from The Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work.

"As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all-consuming show. Spending time with Prue, Paul and Noel has been one of the great pleasures of my life. These are friendships which I know will continue beyond the confines of television.

"Bake Off is a wonderful programme which has already proved it can happily withstand a change of hosting personnel. The reason for that, of course, is that the true stars of the show are the bakers themselves. I wish everyone well."

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