You’ve watched every series, stayed loyal when it controversially swapped from the BBC to Channel 4 and yeah, you pretty much think you know everything there is to know about The Great British Bake Off but, do you? Do you, really?
Below are some little known facts about Britain’s beloved TV series – prepare to be surprised…
The leftover cakes do get eaten – but not by who you might expect…
Bake Off‘s Chief Home Economist Faenia Moore told BBC Good Food: ‘It’s important for the bakers to eat what they’ve slaved over, so after each challenge I make up a “baker’s basket” to go to their lunchroom. Then any leftovers go to the crew’s lunch. Everyone gets quite excited.’
Similarly, speaking during the 2018 edition of Big Fat Quiz of the Year on Channel 4, former contestant Kim-Joy was asked what happened to the remaining bakes after judging, to which she replied: ‘The crew will eat it. They’d know the best ones, so they all descend on the bake.’
However, Bake Off presenter Noel Fielding, who was a contestant on the quiz show, piped up: ‘Prue occasionally, if there’s any cakes leftover, takes them home for her pigs.’ Although he joked that ‘pigs’ was simply a nickname Prue had given to him and co-host Sandi Toksvig, he went on to add: ‘She genuinely has pigs.’
You don’t win any cash
Most reality TV shows offer a cash prize for those who get gold, right? You get £50,000 for winning Love Island, £65,000 to £100,000 for Big Brother and $1 million for winning Survivor but nada for winning The Great British Bake Off.
Sadly, baking your way to the top will simply get you a bunch of flowers and a cake stand. Lucky people go on to get endorsements or book deals, eh?
The judges deliberately prevent cheating
Paul Hollywood is not someone you want to mess with but it’s unlikely you’d be able to. Speaking to the Express, the 8-series judge revealed how he actively stops contestants cheating, saying: ‘When they’re coming to the end of the big challenges Prue and I will walk into the tent just to make sure that when the clock ends they have stopped. Baking is all about time management, and you’ve got to get it done in the time provided.’ Right-o.
Prue has a specific way to spot a confident baker
Top tip: the key is in how you manage your station. She told the Express: ‘If you notice, if you look at the tables of the bakers as they go along the confident ones clean up on their way.’ Simple as that.
Equipment is checked daily
It’s not unusual to see the poor contestants struggling with oven doors or temperatures when in a challenge (just thinking about it makes us break out in a sweat) but GBBO technicians can’t be blamed. OK! Magazine revealed that a Victoria sandwich is cooked every day before contestants take to their stands to make sure the ovens are fully functioning.
People are on-site at a supermarket
Looking for a career change? You could become the go-to egg and milk buyer for GBBO contestants. Truly – runners are on-site at local supermarkets should the contestants need any extras.
But… the budget doesn’t stretch to all of the ingredients
We’ve all watched those smug bakers who have home-grown their own chillies for the chilli-jam garnish but generally, where do the bakers get their ingredients and who pays for it?
Surprisingly, each contestant is given just a small budget for their cakes until they get to the final where everything is covered by Channel 4 (how generous!). Until then, if they want organic potato flour, pure pomegranate puree or crystallised fennel seeds they’re going to have to dig deep.
The contestants wear the same clothes on more than one day
It’s for continuity. Filming may last up to three days (typically two) but it needs to look like it’s just been an afternoon – hence the same clothing. Lovely.