Great bake is on for kids in new show
New to Channel 4 this year is Junior Bake Off, in which budding bakers’ cake, bread and biscuit-making skills are tested to the limit.
Judges Prue Leith and Liam Charles will be joined by presenter Harry Hill.
Three years since it last aired, on CBBC, The Great British Bake Off spin-off has made the move to Channel 4.
Over 15 episodes, we will see 40 children between the ages of nine and 15, battle it out to be crowned champion of the Bake Off tent.
There are 10 heats in which the contestants face two challenges – the Technical Bake and the Showstopper.
Only four will make it through to the grand final.
Acclaimed cook and restaurateur Leith is passionate about getting more young people into the kitchen.
“I’ve always said the way to solve the obesity crisis really, and to get people to eat proper food, is to teach them to cook, and the way people get into cooking is through baking,” she explains.
“So, the more of that, the better.”
Asked why they think now is a good time for the return of Junior Bake Off, Hill retorts: “Brexit”.
“It’s very uplifting to see young people coming together and doing something positive,” he follows with a smile.
“I mean, The Great British Bake Off has that vibe too, at a time when there’s a lot of doom and gloom about.”
Then there’s the fact mainstream Bake Off has been such a hit it’s inspired more and more people to get baking.
“I know so many kids who are baking now, not just cupcakes and stuff, they’re going for eclairs and croquembouches,” enthuses Charles, who is also known for co-hosting Bake Off: The Professionals on Channel 4.
“And obviously the age cap for normal Bake Off is 16.
“So, there’s a generation there that are more than capable of producing amazing bakes.”
“They’ve grown up baking. And it’s been phenomenal... You talk to manufacturers of baking tins, they say they can’t believe that they’re still selling so much baking kit,” says Leith.
“So, people are baking, and children are baking, and we need something for up to 15 so they can compete as well.”
Do the junior contestants get less stressed than the adults?
“The amazing thing about children is how you can see on their face exactly where they are,” suggests Leith.
“They don’t have any filter. As you grow up, you begin to be able to dissemble. You can pretend that you’re fine when you’re not fine – children can’t.
“As soon as they’re upset, you can see the tears.
“They break something, that’s the end of the world. But then, they recover amazingly.”
Junior Bake Off airs weekdays on Channel 4.