The Great Celebrity Bake Off lineup hailed as 'best ever'

Series will raise money for Stand Up To Cancer and features Daisy Ridley, Rob Beckett, Alexandra Burke and Tom Allen

In one moment on last summer’s Great Stand Up To Cancer Bake Off, the comedian James Acaster presented a sloppy and dishevelled cherry bakewell flapjack to judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood. “Can you tell us about your flapjack, please?” said a disheartened Hollywood.

“Started making it, had a breakdown … bon appetit!” Acaster said.

While The Great British Bake Off continues to become ever more popular with viewers expecting baking perfection, the celebrity version, which returns to Channel 4 next week, is increasingly seen as a celebration of people being terrible at it.

In the upcoming series, which will raise money for Stand Up To Cancer, Tom Allen temporarily gets his bake stuck to the bottom of the freezer. Daisy Ridley decides to bake a showstopper in the shape of a toilet. In another episode, the psychotherapist and author Philippa Perry pipes the word “help” on top of her creation.

Disasters are frequent. Rob Beckett refers to a technical challenge looking like a “cow pat”, while Allen announces to the tent: “I am so embarrassed, I could die.”

Still, it could have been worse. In a previous series, YouTuber and presenter Joe Sugg fainted after cutting his finger in the opening minutes of a challenge, This Morning presenter Alison Hammond thought that her oven door had gone missing (when it had retracted into the oven itself) and One Show presenter Alex Jones smashed a bowl after failing to attach it correctly to her KitchenAid, resulting in stitches. Incredibly, all of these incidents took place in the same episode.

With each of the series’ five episodes standing alone, there is no need to follow along too diligently. And this year, the star wattage has stepped up a level. The pandemic has provided an unexpected boost to the lineup of celebrity entertainment shows in recent months. When Lenny Henry was revealed to be Blob on the Masked Singer in late January and was asked by the host why he wanted to participate, his reaction was a blunt: “I’ve been in lockdown since March.”

The lineup for Celebrity Bake Off, which starts on Tuesday, has been praised for being one of the best ever on a reality show, with Ridley, Dizzee Rascal, internet star KSI, James McAvoy, Katherine Ryan, Dame Kelly Holmes and Little Mix singer Jade Thirlwall among those competing in the tent.

In an interview with Collider, Ridley said: “I had the best time: didn’t do a great job, but didn’t cry.”

Social media users responded enthusiastically when Nadine Coyle from Girls Aloud was asked to participate, after she had previously gone viral for the way she pronounced “flour” while baking on Sunday Brunch.

In the past, Sandi Toksvig stepped in when Big Narstie had to pull out of the competition at short notice. Continuing the trend of hosts taking part, Allen, who presents the Professionals version of the series, is donning an apron.

“Nice crack,” Hollywood says after cutting his shortbread in two at the end of a signature bake. “Thank you, but what do you think about the shortbread?” Allen says. A perfect pandemic tonic.

The Great Celebrity Bake Off for SU2C starts on Tuesday, 9pm on Channel 4. Scott Bryan and Michael Chakraverty will be liveblogging each episode at


Scott Bryan

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