ENTERTAINMENT

'Great British Bake Off' Is Back To Soothe Us In These Dark Times

Episodes of the show's newest season, produced under strict COVID-19 protocols, will again premiere weekly on Netflix, concurrent with its U.K. broadcast.

In these dark times, comforting television has arguably never been more vital, so thankfully, a warm, fresh batch of “The Great British Bake Off” episodes will begin airing next week.

The 11th season of the baking competition series — known as “The Great British Baking Show” in the U.S. — premieres Sept. 25, with new episodes being posted every Friday, a Netflix spokesperson told HuffPost on Tuesday.

It marks the second consecutive year that the show will air in the U.S. concurrently with its broadcast on the U.K.’s Channel 4, instead of being released all at once at a later date. 

Last week, Channel 4 announced the new season will start airing weekly in the U.K. on Sept. 22.

Earlier Tuesday, it introduced this season’s lineup of a dozen friendly bakers.

The season was produced in July and August under strict COVID-19 protocols, putting the bakers, hosts, judges and crew in a “self-contained biosphere.” Determined to keep the show going despite the pandemic, Love Productions, which produces the show, began planning safety procedures in April.

Among the changes, they truncated the production schedule to six weeks instead of its usual monthslong filming process. Everyone involved in the show had to self-quarantine and underwent three COVID-19 tests before the start of filming.

Typically, the bakers are sent home during the week so they can practice and prepare for each week’s challenges. But given that they were all quarantining together, the show’s crew had to build 12 practice kitchens and adopted a “two days on, two days off” production schedule, Love Productions creative director Kieran Smith said in an interview with Broadcast in the U.K.

They also took steps to not overlook even granular details.

“We had to work out ways to the hotel so people wouldn’t need to use any public toilets,” Love Productions managing director Letty Kavanagh told Broadcast. “Moving people around in a sterile manner was the hardest thing.”

Aside from the pandemic-induced production changes, the new season will also introduce a new co-host, actor and comedian Matt Lucas, joining co-host Noel Fielding in the tent. In January, co-host Sandi Toksvig announced she was departing the show after three years.

“When stepping down from a job it is quite common for people to say they are doing so in order to spend more time with their family. Unusually I am departing from the Great British Bake Off so I can spend more time with my other work,” she said. “As my waistline will testify, Bake Off is an all-consuming show.”