The Great British Baking Show is back on Netflix in a slightly different form: This season, episodes will be available weekly, as opposed to all at once, three days after they premiere in the UK. The first episode of Collection 7 — an overstuffed 67-minute Cake Week extravaganza — has enough buttercream-infused action and quirky humor to satiate even the biggest of Baking Show cravings.
Continuing a completely ridiculous tradition that is absolutely essential to the show, the series begins with a corny homage to a film — this time the Wizard of Oz — with hosts Noel Fielding as Dorothy and Sandi Toksvig as the Scarecrow, and judges Paul Hollywood as the Tin Man and Prue Leith as the Cowardly Lion. After Noel clicks his ruby red slippers together, the stars are transported to the familiar Big White Tent, and we are introduced to the newest round of amateur bakers. As always, this is an all-around likable cast, but here are a few competitors worth keeping an eye on, in particular:
Jamie, a student from Surrey on a “gap year” who has an identical twin brother. His cakes are all over the map in this first round, but he seems like a potentially good underdog to root for.
Helena, a Spanish born, Yorkshire-bred Halloween enthusiast with a great sense of humor. Could she be this season’s answer to Christine McConnell? Perhaps.
Michael, a theater manager/fitness instructor from Newcastle who clearly very creative but also a bit clumsy — he begins the fruit cake challenge by accidentally slicing his finger and applying a bandage to his already heavily-bandaged hand. His cakes look excellent.
Michelle, a print shop administrator from Tenby, Wales, who brings eggs from her own farm to the Big White Tent — a sign that she is not messing around. Michelle instantly bonds with Noel in this episode, by telling him, “My husband actually thinks I look like you.”
David, an international health advisor from Yorkshire, who loves bouncing on a trampoline to stay in shape. He’s responsible for what is definitely the most over-the-top cake of the episode, this spectacular snake creation, complete with a gummy worm-stuffed egg:
Like any good Baking Show premiere, this one’s full of happy crying, ridiculous Isomalt sculptures, incredibly chunky necklaces, and people frantically trying to cool down cakes by fanning them with cutting boards — really, the perfect mix for any good cooking competition show. For more on what to expect from this new season, check out Eater London’s full guide to the competitors and a recap of Cake Week. And if you want to discuss the new season with other like-minded Baking Show fans, please stop by the Eat, Drink, Watch Facebook group this weekend.
• The Great British Baking Show [Netflix]
• Everything You Need to Know About ‘Great British Bake Off’ 2019 [Eater London]
• All Food TV Coverage [E]