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Bake Off 2017: New format of Bake Off will include TWO Christmas specials

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Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off will include two Christmas specials this year, after moving from the BBC to Channel 4.

The new series of the show is set to premiere later this year, but it has been announced that it will return during the festive period with not one, but two Christmas specials.

Details of the festive specials are yet to be revealed, and it remains unclear if they will feature celebrity contestants or members of the public.

As well as the Christmas specials, Channel 4 recently announced that the show will now be 75 mins long.

The BBC reports the show will have an extra 15 minutes for fans to enjoy, not including the advert breaks.

Comedian Jo Brand has also been announced as the presenter of the show's spin-off, The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice.

Jo, who describes herself 'as a completely mediocre baker... but lover of all things spongy and tarty', says she's excited to be involved in Bake Off.

'I am really looking forward to another Extra Slice and all the fun and frolics that brings', she said.

The new Bake Off updates follow the big announcement that Prue Leith would join Paul Hollywood in the tent in this year's edition of the show.

Restaurateur and food writer Prue was confirmed as the new Bake Off 2017 judge earlier this year, replacing baking legend Mary Berry.

The new hosts of the show have also been confirmed with the unlikely duo of Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig teaming up to replace Mel and Sue.

Who is Prue Leith?


Prue is a renowned food columnist and before the news of her appointment was officially confirmed, a source told The Sun why the former Great British Menu star had been picked to succeed Mary in this year's edition of the baking show.

'Both are from similar backgrounds, so hopefully viewers will be accepting and give Prue a chance to win them over', a source told the paper.

'Following in Mary's footsteps is a big challenge. But the producers are confident that Prue has all the attributes.'

Who is Noel Fielding?


Noel Fielding shot to fame in the noughties with his hit BBC3 comedy show, The Mighty Boosh, but you may also recognise him from panel shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, or from his time spent playing the character of Richmond in The IT Crowd.

'GBBO is one of my favourite shows. I've always loved brightly coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me! It's basically the double,' funnyman Noel said of his new Bake Off role.

Who is Sandi Toksvig?


You'll also know Noel's new partner-in-crime Sandi from her comedy work - she's appeared on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Mock the Week, and Have I Got News for You, and in 2016 took over from Stephen Fry as the host of QI.

Sandi was full of praise for her new co-host, saying: 'It is an extraordinary honour to part of this national treasure of a show. Noel Fielding is one of the nicest guys in show business.'

'The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh. The only down side is that he has much better dress sense that I do. I spend my daytimes on Channel 4 already so it will be a treat to be there in the evenings. I am so delighted to be working with Love Productions and Channel 4 on this best of British show.'

Paul seems pretty chuffed with the news too!

'I could not be more delighted by who will be joining me on the show,' he says. 'Prue is a hugely respected culinary legend and Sandi and Noel are warm and utterly hilarious. I cannot wait to get back in the tent with the bakers.'

After all the Bake Off drama last year with the show being bought by Channel 4 and our favourite hosts, Mel and Sue, and judge Mary throwing in the towel, we've been on the edge of our seats waiting to hear what this year's instalment has in store.

Channel 4 have now been given the green light to start filming the new series for 2017 despite their original plan of holding off until 2018, following the channel move.



Who can apply for Bake Off?

Applications are now closed for The Great British Bake Off 2017, but here's how those who've applied did it...

Amateur bakers who think they've got what it takes have to fill out a few boxes for their chance to compete in the eighth series of the competition.

Usually the eligibility criteria includes being over 16, having no formal food qualifications and of course not being a professional baker (which they say refers to the preparation and oven cooking of flour-based goods such as bread, cakes, pastries, pies, tarts, and biscuits).

If applicants pass the above terms with flying colours then they have to supply pictures of their best treats, as the team at Love Productions have included a section for applicants to upload pictures of their best bakes.

After that they have to answer a series of questions on experience and ability, like how long they've been baking for, when they started baking seriously, how they learned how to bake...

What happens if you get through the first stage?


According to reports from previous years it's a long process, with applications kicking off in January and filming typically starting five months later, in May. If you're shortlisted producers will most likely give you a call to chat through your answers in more detail before inviting you for a face to face interview if they like what they hear.

At this stage you'll be asked for your first edible application! Previous contestants have confirmed that it's here the producers like to see a couple of bakes – one sweet and one savoury – from star baker hopefuls.

If you think that sounds straightforward then the final round is surely enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone passionate about pastry – a blind technical challenge. Yep, after being narrowed down again, the pool of hopefuls are put together in a commercial kitchen to complete a surprise technical challenge. The purpose of this is to not only gauge your ability, but also to see how you perform while being filmed, so remember to stay calm, cool and collected - and be yourself!

Finally, if you've been successful in the pre-bake-off tent producers usually give you a call to let you know.

What's the prize for winning Bake Off?

If you've got high hopes of reaching the finals you might be intrigued to know what the Bake Off Prize is. Well, the truth of the matter is there's no big cash sum or fancy baking deal, but there has been the coveted glass cake stand trophy, as well as a nice big bunch of flowers from the judges in previous years.

Winners are also predicted to make a cool £1million from endorsements and book deals following the show, so not too bad after all!

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Your comments

Phil Aitch

Congratulations Channel 4, you bought a tent.

Firefly

I wont be watching. Adverts plus these three just leave me cold. I am not keen on Mr Hollywood either .

sheila tudor

Pru is an excellent choice, don#t think they could have chosen better, but Sandi a big no no, she tries to be funny but is far from it

Nannyknowsbest

That's exactly what I was thinking while reading the above, never made a date to watch anything they are in & now it's spoilt GBBO for me, I think they will loose a lot of viewers

Angela Price

Don't think I shall watch this again don't like the two that have replaced Mel & Sue and you would have to be someone exceptionally special to replace the great Mary Berry another show ruined

Garfield

How to ruin a great show.

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