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The Great British Baking Show Season 12 Release Date, Contestants And Challenges - What We Know So Far

In a world that's filled with reality cooking competition shows, The Great British Baking Show (also known as The Great British Bake Off) stands above the rest. The first episode aired in 2010 on BBC Two, and by 2014 it was popular enough to move to BBC One — then it moved to Channel 4 in 2017. Thanks to licensing deals with PBS and Netflix, American viewers have also fallen in love with the show, and the season 11 premiere was the most-viewed Channel 4 premiere in 35 years (via Daily Mail).

The show combines many different ingredients that all work together to make it one of the best shows on TV. First, are the mouth-watering desserts — if it's a cooking show, it always helps when the food looks amazing! Then there are the contestants, who are highly skilled amateurs and easy to root for. Best of all is the positive energy. Unlike many reality shows, it doesn't rely on much drama between the contestants, and the judges all seem like perfectly nice people (who also love a saucy baking innuendo just as much as the next person).

Fans have been waiting for new episodes since the season 11 finale in November 2020. The good news is, the next season's production is already well underway. Here's everything we know about The Great British Baking Show's twelfth season.

When does The Great British Baking Show season 12 premiere?

No official release date has been announced, but it will most likely premiere in the fall of 2021. Per the show's website, filming is expected to take place from April to August 2021. Typically, once filming concludes, the show premieres around a month later — season 11 wrapped on Aug. 19 2020 (via Deadline) and premiered in the UK on Sept. 22, 2020. So, season 12 will most likely premiere in September 2021.

Of course, things aren't exactly typical these days thanks to COVID-19. Last year, the pandemic greatly affected season 11's production. The start of filming was pushed back three months (via Deadline), which forced the production to operate under a condensed schedule. The production also had to relocate away from its usual filming location at Welford Park to a more "COVID-friendly" spot. But now that the pandemic is more than a year old, the production should have those details ironed out by now.

Once it does premiere, and assuming it follows the same release schedule as previous seasons, American viewers can expect to watch episodes on Netflix three days after they air in the UK. In the past, episodes have aired on Tuesday in the UK and Friday in the US.

Who are the contestants on The Great British Baking Show season 12?

Season 12's contestants haven't yet been announced, but they have been chosen. Casting for season 12 began back in Oct. 2020 (per Newsweek) which was the same time when season 12 was officially ordered. The selection process just ended, on Mar. 5, 2021.

As always, there will be 12 contestants in total, all amateur bakers who hail from the UK. Last year's winner was 20-year-old Peter Sawkins, who was both the first Scottish winner in the show's history, as well as its youngest. When he's not winning baking competitions, he's majoring in accounting and finance at the University of Edinburgh.

Even though the contestants are considered amateurs, they still have to be ultra-committed to their craft. To be selected, contestants must first endure a lengthy audition process that starts with an eight page application. If their application is selected, they then have to complete a 45-minute phone interview in which they're grilled on their past baking experience, and tested on their baking knowledge. If they pass, next they travel to London, where they have to present two baked goods, perform a screen test, and complete another interview with the show's producers.

As for the hosts, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Noah Fielding will most likely be returning. Little Britain star Matt Lucas replaced Sandi Toksvig for season 11, and he'll presumably be back as well.

What will the challenges be on The Great British Baking Show season 12?

The specific details about season 12 haven't been announced, and they most likely won't be before the season premiere. Since season 12's filming hasn't even started yet, those details are most likely being kept under wraps.

Each hour-long episode follows the same format. It starts with a "Signature Bake," in which contestants get to choose their own recipe and showcase their creativity. Next is the "Technical Challenge," which challenges the contestants' overall baking abilities by giving them a complicated recipe to reproduce. These recipes can be anything from the most recent baking fads to obscure 19th century desserts not found in most cookbooks. And finally there's the "Showstopper Bake," which challenges contestants to use their creativity and their skills by producing a professional-level baked good of their own design. In each episode, the judges choose one contestant as their "star baker," and eliminate another. Every season has one winner and two runners-up. 

Until season 12 premieres, you can binge all seasons of the hit baking show now on Netflix.