Entertainment & Arts

What do the critics make of Channel 4's The Great British Bake Off?

Noel Fielding, Sandi Toksvig, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith Image copyright Channel 4

Viewers still have a week to wait before The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, on a different channel with a 75% new line-up of judges and presenters.

But the critics have had a chance to see Channel 4's eagerly anticipated cake-over and have already given their verdicts.

We thought of serving up their reviews in full but decided instead to give you a slice of each - just to give you a taste.

We'll let them make the puns from now on, so knead on at your own whisk (sorry).

Image copyright Channel 4

According to The Guardian's Mark Lawson, both Channel 4 and programme maker Love Productions are "having their cake and eating it".

"The eighth series of the extreme patisserie challenge manages to seem exactly the same but also just different enough," he writes.

Mel and Sue's replacements, comedian Noel Fielding and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, "set their own distinctive flavour in the kitchen," Lawson goes on.

"To me the first episode for Channel 4 is as strong - in terms of both bakers and the cakes they attempt - as any previously made."

Image copyright Channel 4

Writing in the Daily Mail, reviewer Sarah Rainey says that the show "hasn't changed a bit" in its move from the BBC to Channel 4.

"Sure, the people - with the exception of steely-eyed Paul Hollywood - are different," she writes.

"But if you squint a little, they could be the same old familiar faces, making the same innuendo-laden jokes."

While expressing admiration for Fielding's "ridiculous bird-print shirt", though, Rainey suggests his "dippy comedy act" may "quickly start to grate".

Image copyright Channel 4

According to The Telegraph's Michael Hogan, the first instalment of the Channel 4 series gives viewers "the same flavoursome confection" - with "extra spice".

"There was tension, there were tears and one nervous hopeful forgot to turn her oven on," he goes on.

"Mary, Mel and Sue might be gone, but the show's recipe remains as winning as ever."

Image copyright Channel 4

"The moment that Mary, Mel and Sue requested their P45s, we knew that Bake Off would never be what it was," writes Frances Taylor of the Radio Times.

According to her online review, however, Channel 4 "have done the best they can with the ingredients they were given".

"We'll always mourn the BBC era of the baking behemoth, but this is what we've got now," Taylor concludes.

"It's a bit rough around the edges, a little burnt on the outside. But it's still our Bake Off."

The Great British Bake Off begins on Channel 4 at 20:00 BST on 29 August.

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