A builder-turned pastor, a politics student, an aerospace engineer and a garden designer are among the new batch of Great British Bake Off contestants hoping to follow last year’s winner Nadiya Hussain to victory.
Twelve amateur bakers have been lined up to show off their technical and show-stopping skills in the kitchen, with judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood returning to boot any bakers who dare produce pastries with “soggy bottoms” out of the tent.
The oldest contestant this year is 67-year-old Lee, who has worked as a pastor for the past three decades after turning to theology in the mid-80s and taking up baking, with a special love for traditional flavours such as vanilla and chocolate.
Tom, 26, will be testing his self-control to the limit after recently losing 30kg, while Durham student Michael will be showing off the “big grand cakes” he somehow manages to make in his university kitchen.
Teachers are well-represented this year, with teaching assistant Benjamina, former primary school headteacher Val and secondary school PE teacher Candice all taking to the tent.
The competition looks set to be more intense than ever this year, with Berry revealing that the new bakers did not bond as quickly as they have done in past series.
“They know the standard that it is, which is now pretty high, and I think they were slower to bond this year than they were in the past,” said the 81-year-old, with Hollywood adding that Nadiya’s success has “put the pressure on them more”.
“They started quite nervously but once they settled down they got into it. Then the baking started to flow and the standard got really really good,” he said.
The Great British Bake Off returns on 24 August at 8pm on BBC One with presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins back for more innuendo-laden fun.
(With additional reporting by Press Association)
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