Great British Bake Off 2020: The new contestants revealed and how it is Covid-secure

The Great British Bake Off returns after beating a flour shortage and creating the nation’s largest social bubble to keep contestants, judges and crew Covid-secure.

The show will return to Channel 4 on 22 September after filming was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's line-up consists of 12 contestants - one fewer than the baker's dozen who competed last year.

Matt Lucas will be replacing Sandi Toksvig as co-host, alongside Noel Fielding.

Prue Leith has said the makeshift studio where the new series of GBBO was filmed felt like "the safest place in the whole of England".

Filming was initially delayed by coronavirus but eventually resumed without the need for stringent social distancing measures.

Contestants, presenters and others working on the programme stayed in a hotel throughout the duration of filming.

Leith said: "I ended up thinking, 'This is the safest place in the whole of England'.

"All 130 people, which includes the hotel staff and all of the crew and all the support staff and all the bakers, we all had been tested to death."

She added: "We had our temperatures taken every morning. So when we were in the tent, we were allowed to behave absolutely freely and that was great, because that meant that the viewer will see Bake Off like they’re used to."

A pantomime producer, Samaritan and a student are just three of the contestants hoping to win this year's Great British Bake Off. Credit: C4/Love Productions/Mark Bourdillon

The bakers had to negotiate a lockdown flour shortage and strict hygiene rules. Letty Kavanagh, Bake Off’s executive producer at Love Productions, told the Radio Times: "We sourced flour from restaurants and corner shops, and handed them over to cleaners."

"They cleaned all the packages, left them under UV lights, and they were then packaged and sent by courier. When the packages arrived, the bakers then had to clean them again. When you think about it now, it does sound quite mad, but it became very normal very quickly."

Leith added that new presenter Matt Lucas, who has replaced Sandi Toksvig as Noel Fielding’s co-host, was popular.

"I think everybody loved Matt," she said.

"And do you know, what’s interesting is he knew nothing whatsoever about baking, but he became really interested in it, and he was very good with the bakers, because he genuinely wanted to know what they were doing and why they were doing it."

She added he was "nervous" when he first arrived.

"But as soon as he walked into the tent – like actors walking on to the stage – all those nerves just disappeared, and he was absolutely brilliant," Leith said.

Channel 4 executive Kelly Webb Lamb has previously said the programme will look the same as it normally does.

Speaking during this year’s virtual Edinburgh Television Festival, she said the cast and crew had been living and filming "in a bubble" and adhering to stringent health and safety measures.

Bake Off resumes on September 22 at 8pm on Channel 4.