On Tuesday (22 September), the baking competition series returned with a special series filmed in lockdown, during which the cast isolated together away from their families.
In total, seven million people tuned into the season opener, up one million on the previous year’s opening night figures. This marks the show’s most successful launch episode since moving to Channel 4 from the BBC in 2017.
These increased figures are likely to have been affected by Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown speech, which took place at 8pm when Bake Off was due to begin.
As a result, the show was pushed back by 15 minutes, beginning with Matt Lucas parodying the prime minister’s televised addresses and saying the phrase: “Stay alert, protect cake, save loaves.”
Elsewhere in the opening episode, eyebrows were raised by a bizarre showstopper challenge in which the contestants made lifelike busts of their celebrity heroes, with viewers joking that they’d be having “nightmares” about the finished cakes.
You can read The Independent’s review of the opening episode here.
The Great British Bake Off airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.