Bake Off is back! The Great British Baking Show has announced that it will return to Channel 4 for Season 14 (which Netflix will insist on calling "Cycle 11" for reasons that only become more obscure with time) by the end of September 2023. The new season will bring a new host to the lineup and hopefully a better attitude, with ITV's Alison Hammond taking over for the departed Matt Lucas. The series airs in the U.K. at 8 p.m. BT on Tuesdays since moving house from the BBC in 2018 and will continue that tradition with a Channel 4 premiere on Tuesday, September 26, 2023.
While Netflix will almost certainly follow with its announcement in short order (and we will update this post when they do), since becoming a co-producer on the series with exclusive streaming rights to all future episodes, Netflix has streamed episodes in America 60 hours after the U.K. premiere, the new installments arriving at 3 a.m. ET on Fridays. With no sign that is about to change, fans of the program can almost certainly mark their calendars to stream GBBO on the last weekend in September, with the premiere episode arriving on Friday the 29th.
The series has not yet released the list of new bakers entering the tent for the fourteenth season. However, changes are already afoot. As reported by The Guardian over Labor Day weekend, "National Theme Weeks" such as Japanese Week and German Week after Season 13's Mexican Week disaster. (Apparently, if the choice was to make judge Paul Hollywood actually learn something about the country in question or drop the idea entirely, the latter was deemed the easier lift.) Season 14 will instead feature the far more nebulous (and hopefully better thought out) "Party Cakes Week."
National Theme Weeks are not the only course correcting the series is doing after Season 13. As mentioned, host Matt Lucas, who joined the Channel 4 series after Sandy Torsvik’s departure, has exited the program after three years in which his double act with host Noel Fielding came increasingly under fire. The series’ new host, Alison Hammond, is a longtime veteran of hosting duties across British TV and will make for a more gender-balanced presence in the show’s full-time lineup instead of judge Prue Leith drowning in too much boy energy. She is also, notably, the first regular Black presence to grace the front of the tent.
The Great British Baking Show’s producers, Love Productions, are also pushing Hammond as an attempt to turn the host pairing back to the softer side embodied by the show’s original BBC hosts, Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. The article where The Guardian revealed the show’s decision to cut National Theme Weeks was also a bit of a puff piece, with talk of the “Hollywood Hug” and how Hammond is “softening up” the team and making the tent a wonderful place to work. Fielding is quoted as saying, “Alison’s bringing such good vibes,” while Leith promises, “The bakers adore her.” (Let us not take those statements to their logical endpoint.)
With GBBO getting a little long in the tooth after nearly a decade and a half on the air, a change will probably do it good, as will a bit of the show’s old-school kindness that made it a hit in the first place. Welcome back to the tent, everyone. On your marks, get set, bake!
The Great British Baking Show returns to the airwaves in the U.K. on Tuesday, September 26 at 8 p.m. BT, and is expected to follow over here in the U.S. on Netflix, with the first episode streaming on Friday, September 29, 2023.