The Great British Bake Off 2021 is here!
I’ve been waiting a good long to climb back into the tent, and as ever the show promises to have the perfect recipe for wholesome, feel-good television.
Well, it’ll be cheerier than that one where the Russians are trying to sink our submarines.
Let’s take a closer look at this year’s contestants.
Lizzie, 28, from Liverpool
The Scousest person to have ever Scoused since Harry Enfield’s sketch about Scouse people.
During the first lockdown, I was frequently flabbergasted by some popular documentaries choosing to subtitle people speaking English with heavy accents.
But that was before I encountered Lizzie, who talks a bit like a drunk toddler on fast-forward.
In honour of Jimmy Osmond, I’ll be calling her “Loud-haired Lizzie from Liverpooool”.
Actually, I might shorten that a bit as time goes on.
George, 34, from London
The first in this year’s cast of “amiable bloke who decided to give it a go”, George come from a Cypriot-Greek family, so he’ll presumably rock Mediterranean Madness Week, or Financial Collapse Week, or whatever madness the producers have in store for us this season.
As a man completely incapable of growing functional facial hair, I often suffer from a bad case of beard envy.
With this in mind, and with George sporting a magnificently well-kept beard, I’m going to call him “Well-groomed George”.
Jürgen, 56, from Sussex
It’s not easy to adding umlauts to text on this website, so I hope Jürgen appreciates all the extra work I’m now doomed to carry out on his behalf.
A little understated, but prone to bouts of ruthless efficiency, I’m already calling him my Black Forest horse for this year’s title.
Since I grew up watching comedians from the 70s and 80s, I’m going to call him “Herr In My Cake”.
Crystelle, 26, from London
With Kenyan-born Portuguese-Goan parents, it’s safe to say that Londoner Crystelle won’t lack for exotic inspiration as the contest carries on.
She strikes me as someone who’ll handle pressure pretty well. I’d say a potential finalist.
Her labyrinthine heritage means I’m going to call her “Crystelle Maze”.
Jairzeno, 51, from London
With a name like a Brazilian footballer, it’ll be interesting to see if his bakes hit “the back of the net”.
The first episode didn’t focus on him too much, which isn’t normally a good sign. Could prove to be a silent (baking) assassin, but in all honesty the odds don’t look good based on week one performance.
I’m going to call him . . . Jairzeno. Because that name is just cool.
Rochica, 27, from Birmingham
An inconsistent performer in week one, Rochica made up for general mediocrity by being very smiley.
Her Caribbean heritage should lead to some interesting flavours sure to appeal to the judges, but she’ll have to raise her game a little if she wants to go the distance.
From now on, she’ll be known as “Ro-chica-chic-a”.
I didn’t say the nicknames had to make sense.
Giuseppe, 45, from Bristol
Completing this season’s European axis, Italian Giuseppe’s engineering background should stand him in good stead for later rounds, where the judges tend to award points for pointless, cake-free construction work.
Officially owner of this season’s best accent. I’m going to call him “Not Sloppy Giuseppe”.
Tom, 28, from Kent
We hardly knew ye.
Maggie, 70, from Dorset
“The X-Files” was right all along: we perfected cloning long ago. Either than or I accidentally tuned in to Prue’s episode of “Long Lost Family”.
Either that or it’s Penelope Keith in a mask.
What I’m saying is, Maggie is old and posh, and frightfully nice. When she gets eliminated, there will be tears on Twitter.
I’m going to call her “(Lady) Penelope Leith”.
Chigs, 50, from Leicestershire
I may be basing this purely on memory, but I don’t think people who go by nicknames tend to do well on this show.
Least of all someone with a nickname shared with a family of mites. That’s unsanitary in a kitchen.
The second in this season’s “lads wot do baking” set, Chigs apparently only took up the hobby at the start of lockdown last year.
Fair play to him, I haven’t looked at that bassoon since I bought it.
I’m going to call him “Getting Chiggy With It”.
Amanda, 56, from London
A London police detective.
A tent in the middle of the countryside.
12 people from all walks of life, thrust together in a high-pressure situation.
This season of the Great British Bake Off may be its bloodiest yet.
I’m going to call her Amanda Burton.
Freya, 19, from North Yorkshire
This season’s young ‘un. Viewers should be ready for gratuitous shots of her saying things like “I’ve never even heard of that”, “I wasn’t born then”, and “I didn’t realise ‘tick-tock’ meant I was running out of time; I was busy dancing”.
She reminds me a little of Lottie, so unjustly served in last year’s competition.
I won’t get attached this year. I won’t.
With that tension in mind, I’m going to call her “Freya-d Nerves”.
For more on “The Great British Bake Off”, click the tag below.