Great British Bake Off secrets behind the scenes from the hit tv show

As the Great British Bake Off 2022 current series heats up, we take a look at all the behind the scenes secrets of the popular Channel 4 show.

The beloved competition series puts home bakers from across Britain into a series of challenges designed to put every bit of their baking ability to the test

MarkMeets go behind the scenes of the Great British Bake Off with our guide to the show’s most surprising filming secrets. as we review what current and former contestants plus what show insiders have have to say including all the behind the scenes tips and tricks we never see…

Audition process

The audition process is more than just the application form.

Those that impress on the online form will be invited to a phone interview and later an in-person interview, plus a screen test.

Producers advise that one bake should be sweet, and the other be savory.” You have to pay for the ingredients for your interview. During the audition process, the cost of ingredients is not covered by production and contestants aren’t reimbursed, even if they make it onto the show.

Contestants must source and pay for their own ingredients during the audition stage.

Mobile phones are banned

To stop results leaking – and any potential cheating in the technical challenge – there’s a strictly no phones policy. 2018 contestant Karen Wright told how mobiles were confiscated as soon as bakers entered the set.

She revealed: “The main thing is no mobile phones, so you can’t sneak a camera in.

“That was like a phone policy every morning, you had to hand it in and you got it back when you got on the bakers bus back to the hotel.”

Everything is washed up by hand

Meanwhile, Faenia revealed how team washed up and cleaned everything by hand.

Iva Vcelak and her team of runners, who spend up to 160 hours washing up each series

She said: “The runners help, and we have a good system with two sinks. A dishwasher would be too noisy, and probably take longer. Also, if you’ve got caramel, you’ve got to use plenty of elbow grease.”

Daily oven checks

Before filming begins each day, all of the ovens are given a technical check which includes baking a classic Victoria sponge to ensure they are all working and cooking equally. Each day starts with a Victoria sponge (or 12…)

From forgetting to turn the oven on to forgetting to set a timer, you can be sure that each and every series will feature at least one oven-related mishap.

Whatever this season’s disaster, you can be safe in the knowledge that the oven isn’t to blame, because each one is tested before every day of filming.

And with this being Bake Off, what better way to check if everything is working as it should be than with a freshly baked Victorian sponge cake every day?

The judges don’t always try their own technical challenges

From Schichttorte to Sussex Pond Puddings, we’ve seen the judges set some weird and wonderful technical challenges over the years.

While we’re led to believe that it’s Prue or Paul themselves who make the perfectly executed sample they dig into before the challenge, this isn’t the case. Prue did reveal at a 2018 press day that she often gives her technical challenges a go the week before to check that it’s possible within the time constraints.

The secret behind those incredible illustrations

Tom Hovey is the illustrator behind Bake Off’s famous drawings, and he got the gig almost by accident.

He revealed in an interview with the BBC: “I was working in the edit suite with the Series Director and Editor when they mentioned that there was a visual element missing from the show, and that they were thinking of including some illustration. I said I could do it, pitched a few ideas and got the gig. 1000 cake drawings later I’m still going!”

Explaining how he illustrates the bakes, Tom added: “I receive a pack of photos of the finished bakes from the set after each episode has been filmed that I use for reference. I sketch out all the bakes quickly in pencil to get the details, form and shape I am after.

“I then work these up by hand drawing them all in ink, then they’re scanned and coloured digitally, and then I add the titles and ingredient arrows. It’s a fairly well streamlined process now.”

No cake goes uneaten

When judging, Prue and Paul only take tiny bites out of each bake, leaving the majority of the bakers’ creations intact.

Luckily, none of the contestants’ sweet treats go to waste, and it’s the bakers themselves who get to dig into the leftovers and taste their opponents’ bakes after the judging has finished.

Bake Off’s own Chief Home Economist Faenia Moore confirmed this saying: “It’s important for the bakers to eat what they’ve slaved over, so after each challenge I make up a ‘baker’s basket’ to go to their lunchroom.

“Then any leftovers go to the crew’s lunch. Everyone gets quite excited.”

Bake Off takes over your life

2013 winner Frances Quinn shared in an interview how competing in the Bake Off takes over your life.

She explained: “You haven’t really got a life other than Bake Off. No social life. That was the most stressful time. We had to get a train down on the Friday and we’d have a wake up call at 5am, we’d be in the tent at 7am.

“We’d wrap filming at about 8pm and then it would be the same again the next day. I’d get back at about midnight on the Sunday. It’s not just a 2 hour bake with a few buttercups.”

Only a third of the time filming is actually spent baking

As a baking show, it’s no surprise that the baking and judging process takes up most of the show’s runtime.

But for the bakers, it’s the other way around, with the baking actually taking up the least amount of time while filming the show.

According to season four baker Ali Imdad, the remainder of the time is spent doing “beauty shots” of the bakes, and reshoots of the contestants of bakers if a key moment is missed the first time.

“The baking is filmed as you do it by six cameras moving around the tent, though if they don’t catch something, like you whisking, you might have to do it again,”.

“If someone fluffs a line during the judging, they will do retakes. Or if you said something and they didn’t quite catch, they will ask you to say it again.”

The prize – and the costs

The contestants don’t get paid to take part in the show – and there is NO cash prize for the winner.

Bake Off provides equipment, plus the ingredients for the challenges in the tent.

Paying for ingredients to practice at home can impact the contestants. “To some of them, just buying the ingredients to practise at home has pushed them to the limit in terms of their finances.”

“You’re essentially given expenses,”. “You’re given an allowance for however many shows you do to source the ingredients.”

The Great British Bake Off airs on Channel 4. You can watch episodes and past series on All4.

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Sarah Meere
Sarah Meere
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Sarah looks after corporate enquiries and relationships for UKFilmPremieres, CelebEvents, ShowbizGossip, Celeb Management brands for the MarkMeets Group. Sarah works for numerous media brands across the UK.


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