After a delay due to coronavirus, a new batch of bakers has entered the tent.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
July 23, 2020
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Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting most Hollywood productions on pause and closing all kinds of theaters, there's still some new and much-needed entertainment to look forward to this year. On Wednesday, the production company behind The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake Off, as it's known in Britain) confirmed that a new season is indeed underway.

During a luncheon for press on Wednesday, Gary Davey, CEO of Sky Studios (parent company of Love Productions, which makes the reality series) and chief commercial officer Jane Millichip told attendees that a fresh season has already been filming for two weeks, Deadline reports. Apparently, the contestants, hosts, and judges were all quarantined leading up to and during the filming so that close interaction could occur without the possibility of transmitting the virus. The announcement follows the initial decision to delay production back in April, though we got a small hint from judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood that we could still see a new set of amateur bakers vie for the honorary title this year.

While many release dates for film and television projects in both the U.S. and abroad have been put on hold, it still stands to reason that we might not actually get to see any new GBBS in 2020. But Millichip had a firm answer on that for U.K. residents, at least: “You will have your Victoria sponge this year.” (We asked Netflix, which streams current seasons in the U.S., when the new season would be available to American viewers, but a representative could not confirm any details at this time.)

In the States, the most recent amateur baker season premiered on Netflix in August of last year almost simultaneously with the U.K. airing, followed by a shorter series of celebrity specials around the holidays, including one with the cast of the comedy series Derry Girls in the tent.

But whenever GBBS does return, it will look a bit different than we last saw it. While Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are returning as judges, co-host Noel Fielding will now be joined by actor and comedian Matt Lucas, most notable from roles in the hit movies Paddington and Bridesmaids, as well as the Little Britain sketch series. Lucas replaces comedian and TV presenter Sandi Toksvig who joined the show along with Fielding and Leith in 2017 when the series moved from the BBC to Channel 4 in the U.K. Toksvig and Fielding replaced co-hosting team Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, while Leith took over judging duties from Mary Berry.

And the location might be new, too. Deadline indicates that the show may have moved production away from the usual Welford Park setting to facilitate quarantine, though the executives wouldn't confirm as much. “It’s all happening in deep secret, somewhere in darkest deepest Britain in the shires," Millichip said.

Until we finally get a glimpse of said shires, you can enjoy another Baking Show-adjacent series right now: 2015 winner Nadiya Hussein debuted her own food-themed series on Netflix in April.