The Great British Bake Off will scrap its national-themed challenge weeks in the new series after viewers slammed these rounds in recent years.
The hit baking show will return later this month for its 13th series, but will be missing the country-themed challenges, which received a backlash for casual racism.
In 2020, the show had a ‘Japan Week’, then a ‘German Week’ the following year, and a ‘Mexican Week’ last year.
Besides the dishes from each country which weren’t sufficiently authentic, Mexican Week saw hosts Noel Fieling and Matt Lucas don sombreros, use maracas and speak in Spanish accents.
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Executive producer Kieran Smith told The Guardian newspaper: “We didn’t want to offend anyone but the world has changed and the joke fell flat.
“We’re not doing any national themes this year.”
Instead, Smith said, the show would return to its popular traditional roots. “We’re doing all the regular weeks: Cakes, biscuits, bread, patisserie, chocolate, plus party cakes is a new theme.”
Judge Paul Hollywood expressed his regret, saying: “I’d literally come back from Mexico about three weeks before we filmed the episode. I was all over the place, and we set the challenges based on what I’d seen there. The challenges were very good, and everyone did a good job.”
Fellow judge Dame Prue Leith added: “The thing about Bake Off is that it absolutely represents inclusivity and diversity and tolerance and togetherness. So the idea that we were set out to insult anybody is ridiculous.”
The other big change this year is a new host. ITV daytime presenter Alison Hammond will appear alongside Fielding, replacing Lucas in the primetime role.
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