TV preview: The Great British Bake Off

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Cakes, bread and pastry - where would we be without them?

Well, the culinary world would certainly be a much duller place if they’d never been invented. But some people are better at throwing such things together than others - and that’s where the Great British Bake Off comes in.

Those who don’t make their living out of being up to their elbows in flour can nevertheless prove their prowess by taking part in this series, which has become one of the biggest surprise hits of the past few years, turning Paul Hollywood into a household name and Mary Berry into a national treasure in the process.

Presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Geidroyc have had their profiles boosted by the series too.

But it isn’t just a hit in the UK - the format has been sold all over the planet.

“We’ve seen broadcasters around the world put their own special twist on the format to great success, for example with the speciality cakes that are associated with different countries,” says Elin Thomas at BBC Worldwide. “Baking is a tradition everyone can relate to so I have no doubt this brilliant format will only continue to win more fans around the world.”

Last year, the stylish Frances Quinn surprised viewers by beating pre-final favourite Ruby Tandoh to the title. But who will follow in her footsteps?

We’ll meet the next batch of bakers in the first episode of the new series, and before long we’ll be hooked on their trials and tribulations, rooting for the underdogs and feeling jealous of the star bakers’ prowess.

Paul and Mary will sort out the sweet crusts from the sourdoughs by setting them three tasks - to make a Swiss roll, replicate Mary’s cherry cake recipe and bake 36 miniature British classics.

Don’t expect massive changes to the format - it ain’t broke, so there’s no need to fix it - but there is one fundamental alteration, and that’s that it will now broadcast on BBC One rather than Two. Moving to the Beeb’s premier channel is certainly an indication of how successful it has become.

“I’ve championed The Great British Bake Off from the very start and believe the time is absolutely right to bring the show to an even broader audience on BBC One,” says Charlotte Moore, “I’ve watched the series grow over the last few years and earn a special place in the nation’s hearts,” she continues. “It’s inspiring and warm storytelling at its best.

The Great British Bake Off, BBC1, Wednesday 8pm

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