Meet the contestants on Great British Bake Off’s Christmas and New Year specials

Everything you need to know about the contestants taking part in the Great British Bake Off's festive specials.

Great British Bake Off Christmas special

Christmas season is fast approaching and luckily for Bake Off fans, we’ll be getting a double helping of the Channel 4 competition with both a Christmas special and a New Year special.

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Both one-off episodes will see a variety of former Bake Off contestants return to the tent once more in an attempt to redeem themselves or defend their champion title – (two former winners will be cooking up a storm during the New Year special).

With Matt Lucas, Noel Fielding and Tom Allen hosting the festive shows, food-lovers are in for a real treat this holiday period.

Here’s everything you need to know about the contestants taking part in the Great British Bake Off Christmas specials.

The Great Christmas Bake Off contestants

Jamie Finn

The Great British Christmas Bake Off
Channel 4

Age: 21

Instagram: @jamiepfinn

Part-time waiter Jamie Finn took part in GBBO’s 10th series, and is returning to the Christmas special to redeem his original performance after becoming the second casualty of the 2019 competition.

The 21-year-old from Surrey is now studying at Winchester University and judging by his Instagram, he’s kept up the baking since his time on the show.

Rosie Brandreth-Poynter

The Great British Christmas Bake Off
Channel 4

Age: 29

Instagram: @rosiebrandreth

Bake Off 2019 semi-finalist Rosie Brandreth-Poynter is returning to the tent for the show’s Christmas special, with the Oxfordshire-based vet attempting to win 2020 Star Christmas Baker after last year’s Pâtisserie Week sent her home.

Since competing on the show, Rosie has been publishing her own recipes for desserts (and dog biscuits) on her and her dog Ralph’s website: Rosie and Ralph Bake.

Ruby Bhogal

Ruby Bhogal

Age: 31

Instagram: @rubybhogal

London-based project manager Ruby Bhogal made it all the way to the final of Bake Off’s 2018 series, but was pipped at the post by engineering researcher Rahul Mandal. She’ll be having a second go at securing that Bake Off champion title during this year’s Christmas special.

Since her series of Bake Off, Ruby has been sharing her recipes on Instagram as well as writing for GQ, Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and GoodHomes.

James Hillery

The Great British Christmas Bake Off
Channel 4

Age: 49

Instagram: @cluckmuckcook

Bake Off contestant James Hillery competed in the 2017 series of the Channel 4 show, making it to the fifth week of the competition.

Since his performance on series eight, the Essex-based banker has been publishing his recipes on his food blog – Cluck, Muck & Cook – and his YouTube channel.

The Great New Year Bake Off contestants

Helena Garcia

Bake Off Helena (Channel 4)

Age: 41

Instagram: @helenagarciafp

Series 10 contestant Helena Garcia is set to return to the Bake Off tent for the 2021 special, after making it to just week five on last year’s show.

The Leeds-based online project manager was eliminated during The Roaring Twenties-themed week alongside Michelle Evans-Fecci, but since her time in the competition, she’s released her own cook book – The Wicked Baker – and set up her own brand of fashion accessories and jewellery called Witches by Helena Garcia.

Henry Bird

Bake Off Henry (Channel 4)

Age: 21

Instagram: @henryfabird

University student Henry Bird took part in Bake Off’s 2019 series, coming in fifth place and narrowly missing out on the show’s semi-final.

Now in his final year of university, Henry has begun a career in journalism, writing for The Times, and will be returning to the tent to take part in Bake Off’s New Years special.

Nancy Birtwhistle

Nancy Birtwhistle

Age: 66

Instagram: @nancy.birtwhistle

Series five champion Nancy Birtwhistle became Bake Off’s oldest ever winner at 60 when she beat Luis Troyano and Richard Burr in the 2014 final.

Since winning Bake Off, Nancy has released two books – cookbook Sizzle & Drizzle: Tips for a Modern Day Home-maker and Clean & Green – a book full of tips for a more eco-friendly home.

Rahul Mandal

The Great British Bake Off 2018 - Rahul

Age: 32

Instagram: @bakewithrahul

Engineering researcher Rahul Mandal won the nation’s hearts when he emerged as the champion of Bake Off’s 2018 series, narrowly beating Kim-Joy Hewlett and Ruby Bhogal.

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Since winning series nine, the Rotherham-based baker became a columnist for The Times Magazine and has appeared on ITV’s This Morning.

The Great British Bake Off Festive specials will air during the holidays. Visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight, or check out our guide to new TV shows 2020 to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.