‘Tis the season of gingerbread houses, mince pies and figgy pudding – could there be a better time to stage a special episode of The Great British Bake Off?
The Great Christmas Bake Off sees presenters Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig return, alongside bakery specialists Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, for a one-off yuletide edition of the beloved Channel 4 cooking contest.
This year, four contestants from previous series of Bake Off will be brought back to complete festive-themed baking tasks, vying for the title of Christmas Star Baker.
The special will also feature a musical performance from Status Quo, who will be playing their hit, ‘Rockin All Over The World’. (Yes, really)
Here’s a recap of the four bakers who will be returning…
Tom Hetherington was 29 years old when he first appeared on the Bake Off. An architect by day, Tom came from a family of passionate cake-makers, from whom he learned how to cook.
He appeared on the eighth series of Bake Off, which aired in 2017.
The Scot failed to make it past the fourth round, however, when his Stem Ginger Caramel Shortbreads and Hummingbird Cake failed to excite the judges.
Chuen-yan, known as “Yan”, was another contestant in the 2017 series of The Great British Bake Off.
A laboratory research scientist from North London, Yan grew up in a Chinese household that would steam, rather than bake. She began to indulge her passion for baking in between 24-hour shifts at her job as an NHS molecular biologist.
She ranked first in the technical challenge during the pastry round, baking Portuguese custard tarts, and received a coveted ‘Hollywood handshake’ in the pudding round. Her time on the series came to an end in the seventh round, when the theme was ‘Italian’.
Briony Williams came onto Bake Off in 2018 as a full-time parent who wanted to make her family proud.
Writing online and posting pictures of her bakes under the pen name Briony May, she was inspired by the baking prowess of her nan, and said she used YouTube to master trickier techniques.
Briony almost went the distance in the show’s ninth series, exiting in the penultimate round. She was also named the Star Baker for the pastry round, which saw her bake a Banquet Pie inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
Retired air steward Terry was one of the most beloved figures on the 2018 series of Bake Off, and stunned audiences with his moving farewell, a tribute to his late wife.
Terry missed the fourth round due to illness, but was let back into the show for the following week – the Spice round. A disastrous outing saw Terry completely botch the Showstopper biscuit chandelier, making his eviction from the contest something of an inevitability.
Many fans were gutted they didn’t see more of Terry, however, and this Christmas special provides the perfect opportunity for a do-over.
The Great Christmas Bake Off airs on Channel 4 at 7:20pm on Christmas Day 2019