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‘Great British Bake Off’ Is Back, But Is It Willing to Rise Again?

There’s no change in the judges and presenters for the hit series this time around

Clockwise from top left, Matt Lucas; Noel Fielding; Prue Leith; and Paul Hollywood of Great British Bake Off.
Matt Lucas, Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood, and Prue Leith are back.
Great British Bake Off

Great British Bake Off will return for 2022 on Tuesday 13 September, with the first episode of the new series airing at 8 p.m. on Channel 4. The world-famous tribute to all things cake, bread, and Paul Hollywood’s eyes confirmed the news on Twitter, asking if everybody was “in knead” of some good news along with an interestingly composed selfie of the judges and presenters:

There is no change in the foursome, with Prue Leith joining Paul Hollywood to judge and Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding reuniting to annoy the contestants within an inch of their lives in a very high-stress environment present. Episodes will likely drop for U.S. fans on Netflix the Friday after they go out in the U.K.

The retention of the quartet suggests, initially, that the show is comfortable in its cultural status as something of a soothing balm against reality, even if it can’t actually escape it; the energy bills in that tent will likely be somewhat higher this year. It also suggests that it isn’t ready to make the changes that might see it rise again, but the first episode will be the proof to this particular pudding.

In recent years, the conversion of showstopper baking challenges to vehicles for memes; the gradual depreciation of the Hollywood handshake; a general refusal to show even an iota of curiosity about international baking; and some mystifying judging logic have contributed to a general malaise around the show. It’s flagging, and it needs fixing — but if anything hates being fixed, it’s shows committed to retrograde Britannia nostalgia in the form of sugary desserts and bunting.