Love Productions has today begun a search for new contestants for the first full series of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4, RadioTimes.com can reveal.

The production company is looking for contestants even though it is still not clear whether a series will air in 2017 on C4 after leaving the BBC this year. 

However, the casting call suggests that the production company and its new broadcaster Channel 4 are quietly hopeful that they may be able to persuade the BBC to allow them to show a full run next year. A celebrity edition in aid of Stand up for Cancer has been confirmed for autumn 2017 but a "cooling off” clause in the agreement between Love and the BBC prohibits the broadcaster from airing a full season next year.

Some experts, however believe that this is just a technical detail and that the BBC may waive the stipulation – partly in the interests of fans of the show who will want to tune in even though it is no longer on the BBC.

A source on the programme told RadioTimes.com: "We are really excited for the new show and we want to find the best bakers in Britain. It's as simple as that."

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We have not confirmed scheduling plans for the main series of The Great British Bake Off.”

A Love Productions spokesman said: "Love Productions can confirm that we are beginning preparations for the production of The Great British Bake Off series 8. We are doing so in the same way as we have done since 2009. The precursor to every series has been to find the next batch of wonderful bakers from the thousands who apply and that is the process that is getting under way today."

As RadioTimes.com revealed last week, Channel 4 will not be announcing its presenting line-up for The Great British Bake Off until 2017 at the earliest.

The broadcaster is still “a way off” securing hosts for the new-look show, according to sources, after it poached it from the BBC earlier this year.

Paul Hollywood is the only confirmed name for the new line-up, with Mary Berry deciding not to swap sides and Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins having quit soon after the format was bought by C4. 

You can apply to be on The Great British Bake Off here