Karwai Tang / Tim P. Whitby / Eamonn M. McCormack / Getty Images

Some lucky viewers got a sneak preview of the revamped baking competition.

Elisabeth Sherman
August 22, 2017

As you may or may not know already, fans of the Great British Bake Off are worried that their beloved cooking competition is going to lose its allure thanks to the show’s new direction: Bereft of Mary Berry, lacking the charm and goofy antics of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, the surrealist comic Noel Fielding to replace them (who says he doesn’t even eat sweets) and a new host who wants the bakers to abandon butter and sugar, leaving only a sad and nostalgic Paul Hollywood behind to carry the new season. As it turns out though, there might not be much of a reason to panic that the show has lost all its charms.

The reviews are in, and they are glowing for the most part. A reporter from Business Insider got a sneak peek at the new season, and found that he enjoyed the show just as much as he always has. First off, writer Jake Kanter, who says he’s a long time fan of the show, found that the batch of bakers in the new season are a “brilliant bunch,” and “outrageously talented.” In fact, in a Q&A after the show, Paul Hollywood even called this year’s competitors the “best so far.”  The Telegraph agrees, writing that the cake competition in the first episode garnered some “stunning results.”

As for concerns that the new hosts don’t fit the mold, Kanter reassures readers that the although Prue Leith lacks some of Mary Berry’s signature “warmth,” Sandi Toksvig “fits like a snug pair of oven gloves,” while Noel Fielding adds a “maverick quality,” to the program. Meanwhile, Fielding “steals the show,” with his “impish wit and sheer cheek,” according to the Telegraph.

As for veteran Paul Hollywood—whom Kanter perhaps ungenerously refers to as the “least loved” of the old crew—he remains “the most important” element of the show, given his baking expertise, which lends to the show's credibility.

Another tidbit Kanter reveals: The show will feature advertising for the first time, which Kanter speculates might be due in part to the fact that Channel 4 paid £75 million for it.

Another review in the Guardian assures viewers that the show has maintained its "inventiveness and craft." “The brilliance of 'Bake Off' lives on," Kanter writes, while the Telegraph concurs, "dough devotees can rest easy."