The Great British Bake Off's Flo says the show has given her a "new lease of life" following the death of her husband, Richard.

Flo fell into a "black hole" of grief after her partner of 48 years died from leukaemia, but baking and being a contestant on the TV show has rescued her.

The 71-year-old, who is the oldest contest baker on the programme to date, will have her food scrutinised by the nation on the Channel 4 show.

Sandi Toksvig, left, and Noel Fielding, right, are the new presenting team. Credit: PA

Speaking ahead of the launch, she said: "I was so devastated when Richard died and I was in a bad place. I couldn't laugh, I couldn't be bothered with life, and I just found it so tough.

"Stephen, my son, could see how upset I was and he said 'come on, bake for me' - that helped with the grieving process. My daughter, Nicola, then decided she would apply for me."

Describing her shock at being accepted into the famous white tent, she continued: "Bake Off has given me a new lease of life... The fact that I am part of the 12 bakers in the tent makes me feel proud.

The presenters and judges have been at a central London studio. Credit: PA

"It's taken me out of the black hole I was in and it's brought me back to the place I was in before Richard died.

"Don't get me wrong, I still sometimes have my bad days but this show really has helped put a smile on my face again."

The 12 contestants on the revamped version of the Great British Bake Off will see Paul Hollywood joined by Prue Leith, Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig when it starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday 29 August.

Flo will be up against another 11 bakers, who include a scientist, a student and a part-time blacksmith.