'The Great British Bake-Off' Is Filming Again

Lauren Hubbard
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix
Photo credit: Courtesy of Netflix

From Town & Country

Baking fans can breathe a little easier: the smash hit British reality show The Great British Bake-Off (known in the U.S. as The Great British Baking Show) has fired up its ovens again.

The show, which pits home bakers against one another in a series of challenges set to test the heights of their culinary prowess, has had a devoted fan following in the UK for a decade and in recent years has become just as big a hit with American fans. Its 11th season was originally set to begin filming this April, but, like many other productions, was forced to shut down after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the show traditionally films from spring through summer, the untimely shutdown led some to wonder if they would be getting their fill of Signature Bakes and Technical Challenges at all this year.

Fortunately, Sky Studios, the parent company of Love Productions, which produces GBBO, has now confirmed that filming for the new season is underway.

When will season 11 debut?

Premiere dates for the new season have yet to be announced, but Sky Studios' chief commercial officer Jane Millichip stated after the announcement that filming had resumed that, "You will have your victoria sponge this year," suggesting that a 2020 debut date is still in the cards.

What's less clear is whether that 2020 timeline also holds true for American fans—last year, for the first time, U.S. baking devotees were able to watch each new episode on Netflix just days after they premiered in the UK. No announcements have yet been made as to whether that arrangement will be repeated for season 11.

The Cast

Judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith will be returning this season to check for underproving and soggy bottoms, as will host Noel Fielding. Fielding's co-host for the previous three seasons, Sandi Toksvig, on the other hand, announced in January that she would be stepping back from the show to concentrate on her other commitments.

In her place, Fielding will be joined by a new host, comedian and actor Matt Lucas. Brit-watchers may recognize Lucas from his work on the sketch show Little Britain as well as his stints on Doctor Who and his film work, including Bridesmaids and Alice in Wonderland.

How did the show deal with the coronavirus?

Besides the change in schedule, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has prompted some significant shifts in GBBO's usual operations.

“As you can imagine, there was a lot of work collaboratively between Love Productions and our COVID protocols team just to get that right,” Sky Studios CEO Gary Davey told Deadline. He stated that the show has 55 pages of safety protocols dedicated to keeping everyone on set safe through potential spikes in the virus, and the cast and crew were reportedly quarantined in preparation for the resumption of shooting to allow for closer interactions on set.

The show has also reportedly moved its famous tent from its home in Welford Park to another undisclosed location. During a virtual Broadcasting Press Guild lunch Millichip said, "It’s all happening in deep secret, somewhere in darkest deepest Britain in the shires."

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