Following the announcement late last year that Matt Lucas would not be returning to Great British Bake Off, the baking competition has confirmed that Alison Hammond will now be joining co-host Noel Fielding in the tent for its 14th season. She has been a familiar face on British television for two decades, getting her start as a Big Brother contestant and then becoming a host on ITV’s daytime series This Morning. (You might also recognize her from that Blade Runner 2049 interview where Ryan Gosling and notorious grump Harrison Ford can’t stop laughing, so her ability to cheer up bakers whose cakes have fallen over seems promising.)
The news was announced on Twitter alongside images of Hammond, Fielding, and judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith rendered in what is presumably a very elaborate cake. Hammond was previously a celebrity contestant on one of the show’s charity specials to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer and will be bringing her own love for baking to the show.
“Alison is much loved, effortlessly funny and the owner of the best laugh in Britain,” Channel 4 chief content officer Ian Katz says in a statement, per Variety. “She was a huge hit when she appeared on Celebrity Bake Off and we’re thrilled to have her back in the tent.”
Last month, executive producer Richard McKerrow opened up about the beloved show’s growing pains and shared that the team was listening to viewer concerns about the 2022 competition, which he described as “not our strongest.” Great British Bake Off has been through a number of changes over the years, the most significant being the 2017 departure from the BBC. Judge Mary Berry, along with original hosts Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, did not make the move to Channel 4. Following the shift, the show was hosted by Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, who was then replaced by Lucas after three seasons.