'The Great British Bake Off' 2021 — air date, bakers, judges, and everything we know

Noel Fielding, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith and Matt Lucas in The Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off is back for another brilliant series. (Image credit: ©Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

The Great British Bake Off 2021 is here with a brand new batch of bakers heading into the famous white tent, hoping that their showstoppers are edible and that the technical challenge doesn't leave them with a soggy bottom. 

Last year's The Great British Bake Off saw the show air slightly later in the year than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic, but while this year's series is set to return to regular scheduling, it has been revealed that the bakers formed isolation bubbles for filming. 

Speaking on Lorraine earlier this year, Matt shared more details about how the show has been made under covid restrictions: "Like last year, we’re going into a bubble – all self-isolating and getting tested and then we’re going into COVID-free bubble, so we can all taste each other’s bakes and there can be handshakes and all sorts."

Here is everything you need to know about The Great British Bake Off 2021...

When is 'The Great British Bake Off' 2021 on? 

The Great British Bake Off 2021 started on Channel 4 on Tuesday 21 September and will air every Tuesday evening at 8pm. 

You will be able to catch up on missed episodes after they have aired on Channel 4's on-demand service All4.

US viewers can watch the series on Netflix from Friday, September 24.

Who will be judging 'The Great British Bake' Off 2021?

Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood have returned to their places on the judging panel, making sure only the very best bakers make it through to the next round each week. 

Of course Prue is setting her highly complicated technical challenges to keep bakers on their toes, while Paul can be found casting his critical eye over each bake... but will anyone be rewarded for their efforts with the famous 'Hollywood Handshake'? 

According to Paul, the standard is particularly high this year: "It’s the highest I've ever encountered, it’s incredible," he told us. 

Prue also admitted this year's contestants are something special: “Just count the handshakes! The youngest baker was 19 and the oldest, nearly 70. They have to be fantastic bakers, but they’re also so interesting and nice. You really want to be friends with them.”

Who presents 'The Great British Bake Off' 2021?

TV tonight The judges and hosts of TGBBO

Matt Lucas is back for another series of The Great British Bake Off, presenting alongside Noel Fielding once again.  (Image credit: C4)

Noel Fielding has returned to his role as presenter, along with his sidekick, Matt Lucas, who joined the show last year following Sandi Toksvig's departure from the series. The pair were an instant hit with fans last year thanks to their hilarious sketches at the start of the show, along with their comedy banter inside the tent. We're hoping for a lot more laughs this year.

Speaking of his on-screen chemistry with Noel, Matt told Lorraine earlier this year: "I just have fun and I love working with Noel. He’s so funny. And of course, we’ve both been in double acts – we’re used to being in that dynamic. So when we write together we understand the rhythms to go, ‘Oh actually, I’ve thought of this joke, but you have it.’ Noel is really generous like that. He comes up with very funny things for me to say."

The Great British Bake Off hosts, judges and bakers.

The Great British Bake has returned with a new batch of bakers.  (Image credit: ©Mark Bourdillon/Love Productions)

Who are the bakers on 'The Great British Bake Off' 2021?

Amongst this year's bakers there is a student, a police detective, and a retired midwife... 

Amanda, 56, is a Met Police Detective from London - OUT IN WEEK 6

Amanda The Great British Bake Off

Amanda loves painting onto her cakes.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Raised in London with Greek-Cypriot heritage, Amanda studied graphic design at college and worked in advertising before moving to the Metropolitan Police to train as a detective. As a child she baked with her mum, and she learned specifically about Greek baking from her paternal auntie. Her style is generous and creative with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. She loves painting directly on to her cakes, often giving them a pretty, feminine aesthetic that’s inspired by her two daughters. Whatever the season, Amanda loves to start her day with an outdoor swim– the colder, the better!

Chigs, 40, is a Sales Manager from Leicestershire - made it to the final

Chigs The Great British Bake Off

Chigs started baking in lockdown last year.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Despite a lifelong love of food, Chigs is relatively new to baking, only seriously embarking on his baking journey at the start of lockdown in 2020. Through the careful study of online videos, he managed to teach himself how to produce complex bakes and really intricate chocolate work. When it comes to baking, he loves a challenge and has no fear of being thrown in at the deep end – which is a pretty accurate reflection of his life! A thrill-seeker, he relishes high-octane activities such as bouldering, skydiving and trekking. He has already smashed the Three Peaks Challenge in Yorkshire and now has his sights set on conquering Kilimanjaro. When he’s not baking or climbing, you’ll find him spending time with his nephews who he adores.

Chigs has won star baker twice so far, once in week 4 and once in week 8 for his showstopper in 'free from' week. 

Crystelle, 26, is a Client Relationship Manager from London - made it to the final

Crystelle The Great British Bake Off

Crystelle likes to bring her diverse heritage into her baking.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Quadrilingual Crystelle is a baker who brings her wonderfully diverse heritage – born in northwest London to Kenyan born, Portuguese-Goan parents – to the flavours in her baking. The youngest of three daughters, she was also the chief-taster as she helped her mother prepare their family meals. When she travels with friends, it’s her job to make a list of the best restaurants and bakeries in the cities they visit. She began baking seriously only three years ago and loves fusing spices from the places she’s visited into her bakes – a fougasse infused with turmeric, curry powder and spring onion is a firm favourite. Crystelle is also an enthusiastic singer, having kept herself busy over lockdown with her online choir.

Crystelle won star baker in week 6 for her amazing 'pastry week' bakes. 

Freya, 19, is a student from North Yorkshire - OUT IN WEEK 5

Freya The Great British Bake Off

Freya is the youngest of this year's bakers. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Freya has been dreaming of entering Bake Off since the first series, when she was nine and saw the tent in Bakewell. Studying for a psychology degree, Freya lives at home with her parents so that she can continue to care for her horse, Winnie, while she’s at university. Her passion for horses and baking are the result of spending lots of time with her grandma as she was growing up. A year ago, Freya began making plant-based versions of classic bakes for her dad – now it’s her goal to bake so that no one can tell the results are vegan. She likes to be ‘unexpected’ with her baking, and enjoys creating intricate designs… and usually makes a lot of mess in the process!

George, 34, is a Shared Lives Co-ordinator from London - OUT IN WEEK 7

George - The Great British Bake Off

George's mum taught him how to bake.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Londoner George grew up in a close-knit Greek-Cypriot family where food was always a big part of family life. Now married to his childhood sweetheart, he has three children and a house full of animals, including a dancing Japanese Spitz, called Eli. His mum taught him to bake (a legacy he’s now passing on to his own children), and he loves all the Greek classics. His flavours often include home-grown herbs and he likes to give his bakes a touch of class with a shabby-chic, vintage vibe. He has a keen eye for detail, looking for perfection in the finished presentation. When George isn’t baking, gardening or looking after his miniature zoo, he willbe in the great outdoors with his family, on bike rides and walks.

Giuseppe, 45, is a Chief Engineer from Bristol - WINNER of 'The Great British Bake Off' 2021

Giuseppe The Great British Bake Off

Giuseppe got his love of baking from his father.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Originally from Italy, Giuseppe now lives in Bristol with his wife and their three young (and noisy!) sons. His love for baking comes from his father, a professional chef who did all the cooking at home as Giuseppe was growing up, including making a cake every Sunday. Inspired by this Italian heritage, Giuseppe loves using Italian flavours in his bakes, while he also brings his engineer’s precision to the results. A self-confessed food snob, he is determined to feed his children homemade confectionary, rather than anything that’s been mass-produced. When he’s not baking, Giuseppe loves indulging his passion for design and architecture, and with his wife has renovated their family home. He also loves gardening.

Giuseppe was hugely successful throughout the series, winning star baker twice, once in 'break week' on week 3 and then in week 5 when he beat Jurgen to top baker in German Week. He was eventually crowned the winner of the series after impressing Paul and Prue with his Mad Hatters Tea Party showstopper in the final. 

Jairzeno, 51, works as Head of Finance in London - OUT IN WEEK 2

Jairzeno The Great British Bake Off

Jairzeno loves experimenting with new flavours.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

For Trinidadian-born Jairzeno, ‘baking is like breathing’! He started baking in 2014, after becoming disillusioned with delicious-looking bakes that just didn’t deliver on flavour – and now, in his own baking, he obsesses over flavour combinations (guava and chocolate is a firm favourite), using lots of Caribbean spices, and aiming for the perfect pâtissérie finish. Jairzeno moved to the UK from Trinidad & Tobago 15 years ago and now lives in London. He has completed multiple half marathons across Europe, and ran the London Marathon in 2012. When he’s not baking or running, he and his partner can be found cooking up a storm in their kitchen, or on walks, looking for shapes in nature to inspire Jairzeno’s next bake.

Sadly Jairzeno was the second baker voted out of the tent after his toy ship made entirely out of biscuit lost a sail right at the last moment.  

Jürgen, 56, is an IT Professional from Sussex - out in the semi final

Jurgen The Great British Bake Off

Jurgen likes baking his own Jewish challah bread. (Image credit: Channel 4)

Originally from the Black Forest in Germany, Jürgen moved to the UK in 2003 and now lives with his wife and son overlooking the sea. Unable to find traditional German bread in his adopted home, Jürgen decided to bake his own – and his passion for baking has grown ever since. He is particularly well-known for his Jewish challah bread, and for the celebration cakes that he loves to bake for friends and family. He approaches baking like the physicist he is – making calculations that help to ensure the utmost precision and perfect results. Jürgen is also an accomplished trombonist – a talent that he is proud to have passed on to his son.

Jürgen was the first baker to be awarded the title of Star Baker in the series, having impressed judges with his swiss roles and gravity-defying showstopper cake in episode one. 

He then went on to win Star Baker in the second week of the competition after wowing judges in Biscuit Week with his brandy snaps, jammy dodgers, and a very impressive fully-working toy windmill made entirely out of gingerbread. 

Since then he has won the award once again, this time with his amazing caramel creations in week 7. 

Lizzie, 28, is a Car Production Operative from Liverpool - OUT IN WEEK 8

Lizzie The Great British Bake Off

Lizzie likes simple presentation.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Lizzie and her partner live with their dog, Prudence, in an annex in her parents garden . A baker who prefers simple presentation and believes in flavour and quantity over precision, Lizzie may look like she’s frantic and messy on the outside, but she is usually calm and collected within. Her baking comfort zone is cake, but she loves experimenting with flavour and is generally prepared to give anything a go… as long as it doesn’t involve putting cheese in bread, which she thinks can only spell disaster. When she’s not baking, Lizzie can be found on the dance floor, doing the samba in a suitably jazzy costume, or investigating the lives of serial killers – a fascination she developed during her study for her criminology degree.

Sadly Lizzie's time on the show came to an end in 'free from' week in week 8. Despite her 'lack of finesse' that Paul was always talking about, Lizzie made it to the quarter-final and wowed judges with her Gluten-free 'Extraordinary' cake. 

Maggie, 70, is a retired nurse & midwife from Dorset - OUT IN WEEK 4

Maggie The Great British Bake Off

Maggie has an impressive collection of baking books at home.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Having grown up surrounded by family who constantly cooked and baked, Maggie finds that baking comes naturally to her. She has an impressive collection of classic recipe books and loves recreating traditional bakes while at the same time experimenting with exciting flavours. Her favourite thing to bake is bread – it never occurs to her to buy a loaf (or a cake!). A retired midwife, Maggie believes the excitement of delivering a baby can only be excellent preparation for taking part in Bake Off! She loves canoeing, kayaking and sailing (a passion inherited from her father), and regularly takes off in her campervan, heading for adventure. When she’s not baking or thrill-seeking, Maggie loves spending time with her great-nieces and great-nephews.

Rochica, 27, is a Junior HR Business Partner from Birmingham - out in week 3

Rochica The Great British Bake Off

Rochica likes to bake using inspiration from her Caribbean heritage. (Image credit: Channel 4)

With a big Jamaican family on both sides, Rochica bakes in a way that reflects her Caribbean heritage: with flavour, passion and love. She always is especially proud when her nan and aunties tell her she has baked a cake that reminds them of the treats they grew up with. A dancer from the age of two, Rochica’s interest in baking developed when she was left unable to dance due to an injury. Although she has started dancing again, she still finds plenty of time and reasons to bake – her nephew expects biscuits when she collects him from nursery and she particularly loved the challenge of baking a birthday cake to live up to her niece’s vivid imagination.

Tom, 28, works as a software developer in Kent - OUT IN WEEK 1

Tom The Great British Bake Off

Tom was sadly the first baker to leave the competition.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Although he proudly remembers his place as the only boy in his primary school baking club, Tom discovered his true passion for baking a mere four years ago, when he made his dad a sticky toffee pudding cake. Now he bakes several times a week, rustling up everything from pies and quiches to bread. His mum describes him as the ‘midnight baker - before he moved out of the family home, she would often wake up to a sweet treat… and a pile of washing up! Tom likes to take the foundations of a recipe and make it his own, creating bakes that are fun and often follow a theme. Away from his stand mixer, Tom works for the family software company and loves amateur dramatics and singing. He is also a keen runner.

Sadly Tom's gravity-defying showstopper wasn't enough to impress the judges, leading to him becoming the first contestant to leave the competition 2021. 

Who won the 2020 season of 'The Great British Bake Off'?

Season 11 contestants of The Great British Bake Off.

Peter Sawkins (pictured far right) won the 2020 Great British Bake Off crown.  (Image credit: Channel 4)

Season 11 saw Peter Sawkins crowned the winner of the show, making him the youngest ever champion of the competition. Peter beat Laura Adlington and Dave Friday in the final, which aired in November 2020. 

Is there a trailer for 'The Great British Bake Off' 2021?

Yes, the official trailer for The Great British Bake Off has been shared on social media platforms, and while it doesn't give much away, it does show the famous white tent in all its glory, with the familiar opening few bars of the show's theme tune playing over the top just to get us in the mood for the new series. 

Pru and Paul can be heard talking about handshakes and baking achievements, while some of the new contestants can be heard talking about how much fun they're having, as well as, erm... breaking the oven! 

At the end of the trailer, Pru says, "Same old Bake Off. Familiar. Comforting. Lovely."

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Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.