Until recently, the beloved U.K. show The Great British Bake Off has been under hot water, largely thanks to the frustrating antics of former co-host Matt Lucas. To bring you up to speed, the former co-host was infamously disliked by GBBO fans, who complained of his awkward interactions with GBBO contestants and, worse, off-putting and sometimes racist jokes.
Lucas announced his departure from the show in December 2022—blaming prior commitments and a busy schedule—leaving fans wondering who would replace him. Lucky for us, we didn't have to wait too long. On March 17, Channel 4 announced his replacement: the U.K. TV presenter and actress Alison Hammond, the show’s first host of color and a welcome breath of fresh air to a struggling show.
Hammond is set to start her hosting gig next season (the show’s 14th). But she’s no stranger to the GBBO community: Back in 2020, she participated in a celebrity edition of GBBO that raised money for cancer research. Viewers loved her, noting her warmth and great sense of humor.
If you didn’t catch Hammond’s 2020 episodes, you may remember her from a viral, hilarious interview with superstars Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling from back in 2017, or another 2018 clip of Hammond accidentally pushing a model into a river during her weather report. Not surprisingly, GBBO reps cite Hammond’s charm and sense of humor as major reasons for the hire amidst the show’s much-needed revamp.
“Alison is much loved, effortlessly funny, and the owner of the best laugh in Britain,” said Channel 4 Chief Content Officer Ian Katz in a press release.“She was a huge hit when she appeared on Celebrity Bake Off and we’re thrilled to have her back in the tent.”
Fans are hopeful Hammond will play a role in reviving the once-popular show, which recently experienced the lowest ratings in its history. Along with introducing a new, less grating personality to the mix, the show’s producers also promised viewers they’d go “back to basics” with “more classic bakes” rather than the complicated stunts we’ve seen in recent seasons.
So far, there’s no premiere date, but season 14 of GBBO will begin filming this spring and air in the U.K. sometime later this year.