On your marks, get set, bake! Fall has arrived — and with it, comes the sweet smell of our favorite amateur baking competition: The Great British Baking Show.
With a new season out on Netflix Friday, fans can expect 12 larger-than-life contestants and a new co-host in Alison Hammond, who joins the tent following Matt Lucas’s departure. But those aren’t the only changes viewers can expect. Here’s everything you need to know.
Matt Lucas is out — but who is Alison Hammond?
After two seasons of co-hosting alongside Noel Fielding, who’s been on the show since 2017, Lucas announced in December he was stepping down from the role.
Fielding will be joined by Alison Hammond, the current co-anchor of Britain’s This Morning, who initially got her start as a contestant the U.K.’s Big Brother in 2002.
Hammond shared her excitement about the new gig in March with a cheeky video showing cake-topper figurines of herself, Fielding and the show’s judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood: “As you can see, all my colleagues are absolutely speechless,” she tweeted.
Fans of the show, which broadcasts on Britain’s Channel 4 airing days later on Netflix, are already smitten with Fielding and Hammond’s chemistry.
Also returning are the show’s judges, Hollywood and Leith, who have been a delightful pairing for five seasons now (after Leith replaced original host Mary Berry in 2017).
Where is The Great British Baking Show filmed?
Since 2014, the show has filmed on the grounds of Welford Park in Berkshire. The white tent in which contestants do all their baking is set up along the gorgeous Welford Park House — and yes, you can visit the grounds yourself.
Don’t expect national-themed challenges
The show will no longer showcase national-themed episodes. Producers told the Guardian that bakers will focus on “very traditional” dishes like cakes, biscuits, bread, patisseries, chocolate as well as a new theme for the series, “party cakes.”
This decision comes after last season’s controversial “Mexican Week” episode, when fans accused the show of depicting hurtful stereotypes about Hispanics and Latinos.
The show’s 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.”
As in every season, contestants are from all walks of life. Here’s a brief rundown:
Abby, 27. A vegetable grower and delivery driver from Cumbria who “bakes with a touch of fairytale.”
Amos, 43. A deli and grocery manager from North London who calls his baking style “colorful and chic.”
Cristy, 33. A mom of for from East London who specializes in decorative cakes inspired by her family’s Israeli heritage and her husband’s Jamaican roots.
Dan, 42. A civil engineering resource planner from Chesire who says he has over 300 cookbooks at home, which inspire his favorite pudding and pie recipes.
Dana, 25. A database administrator from Essex and a self-confessed “untidy baker” who makes celebration cakes for her family and friends.
Josh, 27. A post-doctoral research associate from Leicestershire who’s bringing his chemisty skills to the tent.
Keith, 60. A chartered accountant from Hampshire who learned to bake from his mom, who taught him traditional dishes from Malta.
Matty, 28. A P.E. and science teacher from Cambridgeshire who made his own wedding cake for his upcoming nuptials, calling his traditional baking style “rustic but neat.”
Nicky, 52. A retired cabin crew and volunteer from West Midlands who learned to bake from her grandmother and loves to create “little traditional bakes.”
Rowan, 21. A student from West Yorkshire, and the youngest baker this season, who loves to show his “grand, opulent side” with his bakes.
Saku, 50. An intelligence analyst from Herefordshire who hails from Sri Lanka and enjoys infusing her bakes with her country’s unique ingredients and flavors.
Tasha, 27. A participation officer from Bristol who loves to be “fearless” in her baking, which she learned from her grandmother and mother.
How do I watch?
The Great British Baking Show Season 14 will stream on Netflix beginning Friday, Sept. 29, with new episodes dropping each Friday through Dec. 1.
Carol Dennis is an entertainment aficionado with an eye for all things pop culture. She dives into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, from movie premieres to music festivals. Carol’s passion for storytelling extends beyond her reporting, as she’s an aspiring screenwriter in her free time.