For the first time in months, I woke up on a Monday to good—nay, fantastic news! In early July it was reported that The Great British Baking Show—the televised bastion of sugar and civility humankind needs now more than ever before—had resumed production, coronavirus be damned. As the internet’s foremost recap artist of the world’s most beloved show, I refused to get my hopes up as my heart has already suffered far too much disappointment this year. In fact, I had scrubbed the promise of an eleventh season from my brain entirely, which made the discovery of this tweet even more joyous!
That’s right, folks: we are getting a brand spankin’ new season of The Great British Baking Show!
How did such a miracle come to be? In an interview with Broadcast, creative director Kieran Smith said it was all thanks to the “mammoth sacrifice” made by the show’s cast, crew, and few highly-dedicated hospitality professionals.
To make the magic happen, the 120 members of the show’s production staff agreed to live in a self-contained biosphere for six weeks, which allowed them to safely disregard social-distancing guidelines. The production company rented an entire hotel in southeast England to house the cast (including new co-host Matt Lucas, who replaced Sandi Toksvig), contestants, and crew, as well as 20 hotel staff members, 80 producers, and around 20 “children, chaperones, and dogwalkers.” Every person who volunteered self-isolated for nine days and took three COVID-19 tests before moving into the hotel. Managing director Letty Kavanagh noted that that Love Productions’ quarantine plans were so thorough, even transportation was tightly controlled to ensure “people wouldn’t need to use any public toilets” as they traveled to the production bubble.
Once the bubble was set, the entire show was filmed in what Kavanagh described as a “gruelling” six-week shoot consisting of “two days on, two days off.” In pandemic-free times, the show filmed over the course of ten weekends, with contestants going about their normal lives Monday through Friday, and the production team accomplishing the many, many things they need to do in a sane amount of time.
“It was a massive operation, we even build 12 practice kitchens for the bakers to use on their days off,” Smith told Broadcast.
Love Productions said that it is determined to get the newest season on air by the end of this year. We at last have something to look forward to into this flaming trash heap of a year, which, to be honest, feels a bit strange. I had nearly forgotten what optimism feels like. Once again, The Great British Baking Show is the bright spot in the universe, saving us all from an existence of gloom and despair. These fine men and women who have sacrificed so much to bring joy back to our broken hearts are heroes, and I sincerely hope that Paul Hollywood bought fully-loaded Porches for each and every one of them.