Lunacy or genius? Bake off viewers split on new hosts

Sandi Toksvig (left) and Noel Fielding have been confirmed as presenters on Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off (Photo: PA Wire)
Sandi Toksvig (left) and Noel Fielding have been confirmed as presenters on Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off (Photo: PA Wire)
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The Great British Bake Off viewers are split over Channel 4’s choice of hosts for the new series, questioning whether it is “lunacy or genius”.

Presenters Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding will host the new-look show, which has moved from the BBC after it was sold by Love Productions last year.

They are taking over from previous presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, while Prue Leith replaces long-standing judge Mary Berry.

News of the new signings was trending on Twitter shortly after they were announced, with many loyal fans of the programme surprised at comedian Fielding landing the role.

@ETusty tweeted: “Won’t be watching the new bake off on C4. Judges fine, but presenters ... disappointing. Guess the target audience is slightly different!”

@cfcallaghan tweeted: “Sandi Toskvig, Noel Fielding, Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood?! So random, I’ll have to watch at least once.”

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Comedian Fielding was the most talked about signing to be announced.

@nats626 tweeted: “Noel Fielding on Bake Off?! Brave move from Channel 4. Hopefully they’ll give him the freedom to be himself as he could be brilliant,” and @ohmygabriel tweeted: “Noel fielding hosting bake off is like all my dreams coming true at once.”

@estherfindlay tweeted: “I was so adamant I wasn’t going to watch the new bake off but noel fielding is hosting so I’m going to HAVE to goddam.”

But others were not so convinced it was a good idea.

@C_Worthing tweeted: “If I thought Great British Bake Off was ruined by moving to C4 it certainly is now by choosing Noel Fielding to be new presenter. RIP #GBBO”

@Julespestano tweeted: “Noel @noelfielding11 is going to present the Great British Bake Off i dont know whether to cry! is it lunacy or genius.”

Fifteen To One and QI host Toksvig said she is honoured to be part of “this national treasure of a show”.

She added: “Noel Fielding is one of the nicest guys in show business.

“The first time I met him I felt like I had met a rather wayward cousin whose take on the world made me laugh.

“The only down side is that he has much better dress sense that I do.”

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Former The Mighty Boosh star Fielding said: “GBBO is one of my favourite shows.

“I’ve always loved brightly coloured cakes and Sandi Toksvig so this is a dream come true for me! It’s basically the double.”

Paul Hollywood, who will return as a judge, said he “could not be more delighted” about the show’s newcomers.

He said: “Prue is a hugely respected culinary legend and Sandi and Noel are warm and utterly hilarious. I cannot wait to get back in the tent with the bakers.”

Leith, who formerly appeared as a judge on the BBC’s Great British Menu, said: “I am just so thrilled to be joining Paul, Sandi and Noel on the biggest show on TV and I cannot wait to see what the real stars of the show - the bakers - are going to create for us.

“It is such an honour to be part of The Great British Bake Off team. “

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said the baking show will air this autumn and described the line-up as “innovative”.

Berry quit her role on the Bake Off last year after it was revealed the BBC had lost out to the highest bidders for the rights to broadcast the programme.

Giedroyc and Perkins, who injected a comedy element to the show with their witty puns, also stood down, leaving bread expert Hollywood as the only original Bake Off star to make the channel move.