The Great British Bake Off

Great British Bake Off 2016: the contestants

Great British Bake Off is finally back for 2016! Yes, it’s a little bit later than usual (we have the Rio Olympics 2016 and Paralympics to thank for that), but it’s time for soggy bottoms, good rises and an even crumb in the Great British Bake Off tent again. 

But no sooner than we'd surpassed bread week did Love Productions, the company behind The Great British Bake Off, drop a bombshell on us. The BBC officially lost the rights to show GBBO after the current series, releasing a very sorry statement.

Love Productions stated that 'this has never been about who might write the biggest cheque, but about where we can find the best home for Bake Off'. There we were thinking it would be weeks until a new home was announced, but oh no! Just a couple of hours later...

As if things couldn't get more dramatic, Mel and Sue have officially stepped down from their presenting roles on the show, saying they ‘were very shocked and saddened to learn yesterday evening that Bake Off will be moving from its home. We made no secret of our desire for the show to remain where it was. The BBC nurtured the show from its infancy and helped give it its distinctive warmth and charm, growing it from an audience of two million to nearly 15m at its peak. We’ve had the most amazing time on Bake Off, and have loved seeing it rise and rise like a pair of yeasted Latvian baps. We’re not going with the dough. We wish all the future bakers every success.’ Who will make the dirty jokes now?!

Read More: Mel and Sue's best ever Bake Off moments

Mary Berry followed Mel and Sue's departure by quitting the show on September 22nd, releasing a statement which reads, in full: ‘What a privilege and honour it has been to be part of seven years of magic in a tent - The Great British Bake Off. The Bake Off family - Paul, Mel and Sue have given me so much joy and laughter. My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision. I wish the programme, crew and future bakers every possible success and I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms.'

This now means that Paul is the only original presenter left with The Great British Bake Off, confirming that he will be making the move to Channel 4: ‘I am delighted that I will be continuing as a judge when Bake Off moves to Channel 4. I want to thank the BBC and Mel and Sue for making my time in the tent great fun and really rewarding. Since I was a kid, baking has been part of my life. The seven series inside the tent have created some great memories. Best of all, I have felt so pleased to experience other people getting the baking bug, just as I did when my dad helped me make my first loaf. It's been a huge part of my life in the past few years and I just couldn't turn my back on all that – the bakers themselves, the bakes, the team that makes it, and of course the tent, the bunting, and who could forget… the squirrels'.

Ruby Tandoh, runner-up on series 4 of Bake Off and all round badass on Twitter was not too pleased...

There's no confirmed news on Mel, Sue and Mary's replaceements, but French and Saunders (that's Dawn and Jennifer, in case you didn't know) are apparently being put forward to host the show when it moved to Channel 4, with Delia Smith rumoured to be stepping into Mary Berry's shoes. 

So there you have it. The next series of The Great British Bake Off will look very different. But who are the Great British Bake Off contestants for 2016? Look no further - don't worry, no spoilers!

Candice, 31
This secondary school PE teacher has baking in her blood. Taught by her nan and growing up in the pubs her parents ran in London, Candice likes to bake in her PJs and lives with her boyfriend and pug in Bedfordshire.  

Read More: 9 ridiculous middle class baking problems Bake Off fans will understand

Tom, 26
Rochdale-born, London-based Tom works for the Royal Society of Arts. His love of baking hasn’t been stemmed by his 4st 10lb weight loss, believing in ‘everything in moderation’.

Jane, 61
Jane’s Great British Bake Off journey starts with her father and grandfather, who owned a bakery in Hastings, Sussex. Now? The garden designer gets up at 5am most days to bake in her South London home.

Selasi, 30
Moving to the UK from Ghana 15 years ago, Selasi lives with his girlfriend and works as a client service associate in finance. Snazzy.

Read More: Nadiya Hussain on cake, calories and her cappuccino husband

Val, 66
Can you make classic bakes with your eyes closed? Val says she can. The former primary school head teacher from Yorkshre now lives with her husband near Yeovil in Somerset.

Michael, 20
The youngest of this year’s Great British Bake Off contestants, Michael is studying politic and economics at Durham university. His bakes are inspired by his Cypriot family roots.

Benjamina, 23
Benjamina started baking aged 14, and now fits it around her teaching assistant job in South London. She recently graduated with a first in economics!  

Lee, 67
Lee is the oldest Great British Bake Off contestant for 2016, currently working as a pastor in Bolton. Lee was previously a builder, but switched to pastoral ministries in 1986.

Rav, 28
The Great British Bake Off has a vegan baker! Rav says he’s ‘adventurous and experimental’, and enjoys using unusual, eastern ingredients. He currently works supporting students at City University London. 

Read More: Flora Shedden talks what really happens inside the GBBO tent

Kate, 37
Nurse Kate says her passion for baking began when she was a child. Now, she enjoys using seasonal fruit which she gathers with her children on her parents’ Norfolk farm. 

Andrew, 25
Aerospace engineer Andrew designs jet engines for Rolls-Royce, and uses his engineering background to push his bakes to the limit. Andrew lives with friends in Derby.

Louise, 46
The hairdresser from Cardiff got into baking when she started making charity cakes for work. She enjoys elaborate designs and experimenting with different bread flavours.

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