It’s been a rough couple of years for the Great British Bake Off. Thanks to obnoxiously complicated baking challenges, much-loathed former co-host Matt Lucas, and our general fatigue with the format, it’s safe to say that the show has lost a bit of its shine. But as of today, things are officially looking up.
On Friday, Channel 4 announced that Alison Hammond, a U.K. TV presenter and actress who got her start on the reality competition Big Brother, would replace Lucas as co-host for the show’s next season. On her Instagram account, Hammond posted a photo of a cake complete with tiny edible sculptures of herself, co-host Noel Fielding, and judges Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood to celebrate the news. Via his own Instagram account, Fielding seemed especially excited about the change. “I’m absolutely pumped we are working together,” Fielding wrote. “We are gonna spend the whole time giggling like naughty school kids. The bakers are gonna love you to bits.”
Hammond isn’t entirely new to the GBBO universe. In 2020, she participated in a celebrity edition of the show to raise money for cancer research, and audiences were instantly charmed by her infectious humor. That sense of humor will be especially welcome on the forthcoming season of GBBO, considering that we’ve all been subjected to Matt Lucas’s deeply corny, often offensive “jokes” for so long.
On social media, the news that Hammond is taking over for Lucas was met with almost as much enthusiasm as when the show announced that he was leaving. “Allison Hammond [sic] joining the bake off has made me believe god isn’t dead,” said one person on Twitter, while others noted that the decision might be the thing that could finally inspire them to start watching the show again.
Hammond’s arrival is part of a revamp that will hopefully restore some of the energy to the once-beloved competition series. Its last season had the lowest ratings in the show’s history, and GBBO producers have vowed to “strip it back to the basics” in an effort to win back viewers. Those changes include “easier tasks” and “more classic bakes,” which sounds especially promising after the previous stunt-packed season.
A premiere date has not yet been announced for the next season of the Great British Bake-Off, but it is expected to air sometime this year in the U.K.