The Great Flour Shortage: How Bake Off handled one unexpected pandemic hurdle

The Great British Bake Off's executive producer explains how the show dealt with the nationwide flour flurry.

Great British Bake Off 2020 contestants

While cake enthusiasts were hit hard by the flour shortage during lockdown, The Great British Bake Off‘s executive producer has revealed this year’s series was hit even harder, with crew members scrambling to get their hands on bags of the basic ingredient.

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Speaking to Radio Times magazine ahead of the show’s 11th series, executive producer Letty Kavanagh explained how it secured its stash of flour and the great lengths they took to make sure it was COVID-free.

“We sourced flour from restaurants and corner shops, and handed them over to cleaners,” she said.

“They cleaned all the packages, left them under UV lights, and they were then packaged and sent by courier. When the packages arrived, the bakers then had to clean them again.

“When you think about it now, it does sound quite mad, but it became very normal very quickly.”

Premiering on Channel 4 next Tuesday, the latest series of The Great British Bake Off was filmed in a “self-contained biosphere” over six weeks this summer to ensure that no one contracted coronavirus, although Bake Off production was almost shut down after a COVID scare before the team member tested negative for the virus.

Kavanagh revealed all luggage, food and deliveries had to be deep-cleaned before entering the filming location and housing for cast and crew this series.

“Nothing entered the bubble without going through the hands of cleaners,” she said. “We used a spray system and an ultra-violet system, and there was an open area where items had to be left for a period of time before they could be brought into the location. It was quite a military operation.”

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This year’s series will mark Matt Lucas’ first as a presenter, after he replaced Sandy Toksvig in March. The Great British Bake Off contestants have been revealed and now it’s just a waiting game before the series starts.

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, out now. Great British Bake Off will return to Channel 4 in Tuesday 22nd September. If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide