With the Great British Bake Off hopping over from BBC1 to Channel 4, shedding judge Mary Berry and presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins in the process, many are wondering what the future holds for the beloved baking show – and watching with a particularly close eye will be the six former Bake Off champions.
Last year’s winner Nadiya Hussain has already laid out her cards and declared the BBC her “home”, despite taking a philosophical approach to the show’s move to a new channel, explaining: “Change happens”.
But the move has left previous champions sharply divided.
Frances Quinn, who baked her way to victory in 2013, said in the latest issue of Radio Times: “Now it’s going to C4, I honestly don’t think it can really be called The Great British Bake Off, can it?
“So many ingredients are missing, it’s like making a loaf of bread and calling it a cake.”
The show’s first winner, Edd Kimber, is on the same wavelength. “I think taking away Mary, Mel and Sue will change it a lot,” he said.
“Sue and Mel attract people who don’t want to watch a baking show, and Paul and Mary have a very special relationship.”
But series two winner Joanne Wheatley reckons everything will be okay with Paul Hollywood still on board.
“I think the next series will go from strength to strength,” she predicted.
“Nobody likes change, but there will be familiarity with Paul Hollywood still on it. It’s a good show and I think it will carry on being good.”
Nancy Birtwhistle, who won in 2014, added: “I feel positive about the changes in the show, because that’s my nature. Nothing is for ever.”
Radio Times Bake Off souvenir issue
This week’s special edition of Radio Times features interviews with the four semi-finalists, plus an 8-page cut-out-and-keep recipe special so you can challenge yourself with this series’ technical bakes
On sale now in shops and on the Apple newsstand