When The Great British Bake Off unveiled a line-up of 20-somethings two years ago, it wasn’t much of a showstopper. Critics said the millennials held limited appeal and suggested that the Channel 4 show be renamed No Country For Old Bakers.
The broadcaster appears to have taken the feedback on board, and this year’s contestants represent one of the broadest age ranges in recent years, from a 19-year-old university student to a 70-year-old retired midwife.
Their professions include a former Met Police detective, a head of finance, and a software developer. The average age of the contestants this year is 40, up from 31 in 2019.
There is one thing they have in common. While many people experienced the downsides of lockdown, the Bake Off contestants saw it as an opportunity to improve their baking skills.
Chigs, a 40-year-old sales manager from Leicestershire, claims he only took up baking as a hobby when the pandemic forced him to stay at home.
“I only really started to bake during the first lockdown and so it has helped me enormously and gave me something to focus on,” he said.
Crystelle, a 26-year-old client relationship manager, said that “not having wild plans every weekend has actually meant that I’ve had more time to bake than ever. I ended up missing out on my best friends’ birthdays, so I just made them birthday cakes instead, and they would FaceTime me from the restaurants eating them.”