Bake Off contestant inspired after walking past famous white tent
A student hoping to triumph in The Great British Bake Off said he only started baking after walking past the famous tent every day as a child.
Henry, 20, said he started baking as a schoolboy, after he was inspired by seeing the show being filmed.
He said: “I started baking at around 12 years old when Bake Off was filming very close to my house, and I would walk past the tent every day, and glimpse the bustle within.
“It was only after this that I started baking, Bake Off really has a lot to answer for!”
The Durham University student added he was desperate to win over both judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood, saying: “Both Paul and Prue are incredible judges, and you want to impress Paul as the Bake Off custodian, but then the thought of disappointing Prue is frankly crushing – it’s impossible to choose one.”
He continued: “Just being inside that beautiful tent has been incredible.
“Not only do I feel like I have picked up useful little bits of knowledge from Paul and Prue, I never thought I would become so close to the people I was sharing the whole experience with. It’s absolutely wonderful.”
Lorry driver Phil, 56, said he was delighted to make it onto the show after applying of the show for the last three years.
He said: “Being as I had already applied for the last three previous years I didn’t need any encouragement to apply again, as soon as it was announced I started the long application form.”
He added: “I first got the baking bug in my last year of secondary school (1977).
“I was extremely happy bringing home freshly baked bread to share with my family, then it all went quiet until GBBO started.
“I didn’t take much notice at first but as the series continued it caught my attention and I was hooked again.
“I started to make what was being done on the show and after a few series I thought I’d like to apply.”
Print shop administrator Michelle, 35, said she had also applied numerous times and was close to giving up when she landed a spot.
She said: “My husband and son encouraged me to apply for Bake Off this year.
“They said seeing as I’ve been so close in previous years, I was too close to give up on it.
“This was the last time I was going to enter, so I’m so chuffed to have made it this year, especially on the 10th anniversary.”
The new series will see a baker’s dozen of contestants tasked with creating a fruit cake and a showstopper based on their dream childhood birthday cakes in its first episode.
The episode opens with hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, as well as Leith and Hollywood, dressed up as characters from The Wizard Of Oz, with Fielding sporting bunches, red glittery shoes and a blue gingham dress as Dorothy, Toksvig dressed as the Scarecrow, Hollywood as the Tin Man “who doesn’t have a heart” and Leith as the Lion, joking: “I was late, it was the last costume”.
Marking the 10th series of the show, the episode includes a montage of previous winners including Nadiya Hussain, Candice Brown and John Whaite, as Toskvig says: “It’s our 10th anniversary, but who will be our 10th Bake Off champion?”
The inclusion of 13 contestants means two people could be axed at any point in the series, Hollywood adds.
Other childhood dream cakes include a pop-up story book, a secret woodland based on book The Faraway Tree, a sweet shop, a pirate island and a rocket.
The line-up for the new series is the youngest in the show’s history and includes seven people in their 20s while the oldest contestant is 56, with an average age of 31 in the tent.
In previous years there have been contestants in their 60s and 70s, and the majority of line-ups have had an average age closer to 40.
There are usually 12 amateurs in the Bake Off each year, with the exception of 2013 when 13 took part, and the first series in 2010 when there were just 10.
The upcoming series will be the third to air on Channel 4 after the show parted ways with the BBC.
It will begin on Channel 4 on August 27 at 8pm.