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It's back! Channel 4 Great British Bake Off's big reveal

Yesterday, I joined a crowd of journalists for a screening of round one of the new GBBO. Here's what I thought:

    In the same way the Project Fear attempted to make us all run for our voting slips, pro-BBC'ers insisted that a Channel 4 GBBO would be the end of the world. 

    I've been there, and it's not. 

    The new series, fronted by Paul "Blue Eyes" Hollywood and Bake Off newbies — Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig — is pretty much business as usual.  

    Same tent, same decor and the very same KitchenAid mixers — albeit in slightly funkier colours. They even have the same music. It felt like coming home. 

    New hosts, Toksvig and Fielding arrive in a hot air balloon — supposedly struggling to find the tent. For those first few minutes, Fielding seemed awkward. Has the move from BBC to Channel 4 messed up the nation's favourite quintessentially British light entertainment?

    New line up (from left to right): Paul Hollywood; Sandi Toksvig; Noel Fielding and Prue Leith
    New line up (from left to right): Paul Hollywood; Sandi Toksvig; Noel Fielding and Prue Leith Channel 4

    Once we started meeting the bakers, and hearing their stories, it mattered less. These are the real stars of the show, the people we bond with and tune in each week to root for. They had to make a fruity cake (fresh not dried); the technical challenge required 12 mini rolls (bare bottoms were fine — soggy bottoms did not make an appearance) and for the showstopper, a cake that did not look like a cake.  

    The bakers, who did an admirable job, especially in the showstopper round, included the standard range of ages and backgrounds. From 71 year old scouse granny, Flo (the oldest competitor to date) to 19 year old Liam, with everything in between, even a Jewish mother — Stacey from Hertfordshire. It was already possible to spot whose custard creams are more likely to go the distance.

    Stacey from Herts
    Stacey from Herts Channel 4

    Moving from script to banter, Toksvig and Fielding's comedic chemistry made laugh out loud television and Leith proved she more than has the CV and and TV persona to match Mary. 

    We were cruelly deprived of the ending, so I have no idea who was star baker nor who left the tent in week one, but I have my suspicions.   

    The world hasn't ended but my social life has. On a Tuesday night at least. If you need me, I'll be at home in front of the box. Drooling. 

    Channel 4

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