If you’re not a Bake Off fan, you either don’t have a TV or the devil took your soul. Because who in the whole world doesn’t want to revel in the joyous occasion of cakes, pastry and sexual innuendoes? Thankfully, soggy bottoms are back, and they’re back tonight with a whole load of wholesome revelry.

Reminiscing over old series is like fondly flicking through a family photo album. Remember in series 5 when Diana took Iain’s baked Alaska out the freezer and it melted? He was so angry with this accidental sabotage that he threw it in the bin. Or remember last year, when Sura knocked Dave’s pineapple cakes to the floor? There were calls for her to be arrested (tbh, rightly so, Bake Off is a serious and highly competitive national event that should be treated as such).

Why should we watch it?

Not only does Bake Off warm the cockles (and the tent), but simply by watching it you’re also helping to support the future careers of ordinary people. I mean, just look at Nadiya Hussain now. She’s released 16 books (yes, 16!!!), hosted travel shows and cooking competitions, been awarded an MBE, writes a column in The Times and has even launched her own tableware collection. Then there’s Peter, the winner of the last series, he’s launching a cookbook in time with this new series (savvy marketing there). Oh and lovely Ruth Tandoh is also publishing one. And Ed Kimber. And John Waite. And Candice Brown. And David Atherton… In fact, is there a contestant who isn’t riding the commercial GBBO wave this month?

Anyway, we’re getting distracted. You should watch it because:

1) It’s fun watching people get really stressed while you sit on a sofa dunking chocolate hobnobs into a Yorkshire brew

2) Presenters on GBBO are allowed to say things like: “It’s time to grease your muffin tray and grab your jugs” before the watershed

3) You get to witness the contestants make gravity-defying showstoppers.

Presenters on GBBO are allowed to say things like: "It's time to grease your muffin tray and grab your jugs" before the watershed

Who’s presenting?

All the crew are back again. No, not that crew; Mel, Sue and Mary Berry are still licking their wounds and hugely regretting the fact they didn’t make the move to Channel 4. Instead, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Matt Lucas and Noel Fielding are reeling with excitement.

What have they been up to? Paul has been flexing his fingers in preparation for ‘the handshake’, a somewhat creepy and uber macho ‘award’ for star bakers. Prue has been busy matching her luminous pink necklaces with luminous pink spectacles for her punchy primary-school-coloured wardrobe. Noel’s been absorbed in his abstract art, painting pictures of wombat sh*t, flamingoes and toothbrushes. Because that’s what Noel does. And Matt? Who knows.

All that matters is they’re now reunited on our screens.

Noel's been absorbed in his abstract art, painting pictures of wombat sh*t, flamingoes and toothbrushes. Because that's what Noel does

Crystelle, 26
Enjoys flavours inspired by her Portuguese-Goan-Kenyan heritage. That’s a lot of flavours.

Freya, 19
Vegan psychology student who is into equestrian sports. Or she was until a load of vegan trolls attacked her for “cruelty against animals” for riding horses.

George, 34
A shared lives co-ordinator. We Googled what this is, and it basically means he’s really nice and helps people in the care system. Go George.

Giuseppe, 45 
Italian-born, Bristol-based. Father was a professional chef. That’s basically cheating.

Jairzeno, 51
Moved to the UK from Trinidad 15 years ago, likes using Caribbean spices. Yum.

Jürgen, 56
Amateur trombonist. Enough said.

Lizzie, 28
Always wears bright, happy dresses. We like bright, happy dresses.

Let’s meet the contestants then…

As usual, there’s a healthy mix of ages and characters, so without further ado, let’s say hi to these 12 new friendly faces.

Amanda, 56
A detective with the London Metropolitan Police. There’ll be no chance of sabotage in this series.

Chigs, 40
Started baking in lockdown using online tutorials – and now thinks he’s good enough for Bake Off. The audacity. Only time will tell Chigs, only time will tell.

His father was a professional chef. That's basically cheating

Maggie, 70
The oldest contestant. Retired nurse and midwife. Likes going on adventures in her campervan. Our favourite contestant already.

Rochica, 27
Turned to baking when she was left unable to dance due to an injury. If she wins, we want rights to the Hollywood blockbuster.

Tom, 28
Likes amateur dramatics, singing and IT. Oh Tom.

When is it on?

Pull up a sofa, pop on your comfy PJs and plate up some banana bread. GBBO is on Channel 4 on Tuesday (tonight!), 21 September at 8pm.

There’s only one thing left to say: On your marks, get set, BAKE!

The Great British Bake Off is on Channel 4 on Tuesday, 21 September at 8pm.


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