17 Great British Baking Show Behind-The-Scenes Facts

On your marks, get set…hand over your phones?


The show’s name is different in the US because “Bake Off” is copyrighted by Pillsbury.

Pillsbury / Via giphy.com

The food company, famous for its delicious crescent rolls and adorable Doughboy mascot, has been hosting the Pillsbury Bake Off since 1949.


Former host Sandi Toksvig had a clause in her contract guaranteeing that no one on the show could be paid more than she was.

BBC / Via giphy.com

She told the Sun that she doesn’t ask other people what they’re earning, but she leaves the negotiations to her agent.


The chief “home economist” spends weeks sourcing the hundreds of ingredients contestants will need.

Smosh / Via giphy.com

Faeinia Moore told the LA Times that she spends the two months prior to filming sorting through all of the contestant’s recipes. Then, she has to track down all of the ingredients or equipment each one calls for.


While the crew eats a lot of the leftover cake, the remaining ingredients are sent off to a local food bank.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

Faeinia Moore also told the LA Times that someone in the production company helped set up a deal with a local food bank in 2019.


The contestants are required to write and submit original recipes before filming.

BBC Studios / Via Netflix

They aren’t allowed to use recipes they’ve found online or in cookbooks.


Since a dishwasher would be too noisy, all of the dishes are done by hand.


Home economist Iva Vcelak, along with a few of the runners, is responsible for all of the clean-up.


During the 2020 season, the crew set up practice kitchens for the contestants to work in when they weren’t filming.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

During a typical season, contestants spend the week practicing at home then travel to film on the weekends. However, because of the UK’s lockdown restrictions, this season was filmed in a quarantine bubble, so an extra tent was set up for the contestants to practice their bakes in.


For his audition, co-host Matt Lucas had to interview people about the horticultural accessories they were buying in a gardening center.

BBC Studios / Via media.giphy.com

He told NPR that, when the people he interviewed found out he wasn’t actually interested in gardening, they said that his career must’ve “really come down.”


To test the ovens, the crew bakes 12 Victoria sponge cakes at the exact same time.

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A runner stands at each station with an identical cake mix in front of them. If all the ovens are working properly, 12 identical cakes will come out.


Contestants can request the specific ingredients they want up until the start of each round.

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Every morning, the show sends a runner to wait outside the closest big supermarket, ready to receive a shopping list.


For consistency, the contests have to wear the same clothes for two days in a row.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

While they can change into clean aprons, they have to wear the same outfits during the two days it takes to film each round.


Candidates for the show have to bring two of their best bakes to their in-person interview.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

According to a former contestant, the producers advise applicants to bring one sweet treat and one savory dish.


The final round of the application process is an on-camera technical challenge.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

Before they can become official contestants on the show, candidates must compete in a mock technical round. This step is just as much a screen test as it is a test of their baking abilities.


Contestants must hand over their phones before the start of filming each day.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

They don’t get them back until they’re on the “bakers bus” back to the hotel for the evening. This is to prevent anyone from taking pictures or videos on set.


The show’s food illustrator says that his dislike of baked goods actually makes his job easier.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

Tom Hovel told the BBC that he’s “just not that into cakes.” However, the food illustrator sees this as an advantage, because he’s able to do his job without getting hungry.


Contestants must make sure the cameras are watching before they take anything out of the oven.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

Before they open the open, they have to hail over a producer.


And finally, during their downtime, the contestants play games and sing karaoke in the green room.

BBC Studios / Via giphy.com

Former contestant Val Stones told the Atlantic that, when they started to run of out ideas for games, she brought her shopping list from 1972 and had her fellow contestant guess how much things cost then.

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